Before heading to Europe in the summer of 2013, Yamada and Johnson decided to change things up and for the first time ever, tried adding a drummer. That drummer ended up being John Jeffrey, who was hired sight unseen after meeting Moon Duo’s manager in Berlin. As it happened, Jeffrey joined the band just in time for a tour that “was defined by sweltering heat”. Despite shows every night during the most brutal stretch of summer, Yamada, Johnson and Jeffrey soon realized Moon Duo as a three-piece was gelling through the hot and hazy weather, and having a drummer in the mix added a dynamism and flexibility they had never experienced before on stage. They decided to document this new incarnation of the band and asked engineer Mattia Coletti to record the Italian leg of the tour.
Live in Ravenna, due out as a limited, one-time vinyl pressing of 2,000 and digital only on August 18th on Sacred Bones, is the result of one of those nights of recording. It does an incredible job of capturing the emerging sound of Moon Duo as a three-piece.
Vinyl 12" £13.99 SBR116LP
Ltd 6 track EP on Sacred Bones. Edition of 2000 copies (500 for the UK).
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- Live In Ravenna by Moon Duo
Ripley and Sanae are back with a limited edition live LP this week, recorded last August in Italy. Having long outgrown their 'Wooden Shjips side project' tag, the pair have here grown to a trio with the addition of drummer John Jeffrey, so this isn't just a live album but a chance to showcase some of their classic tracks with the new expanded line-up.
There are six cuts here - one from debut 'Escape', three from 'Mazes' and two from the more recent 'Circles. It sounds like...well, like Moon Duo with live drums. The synthpop/coldwave influences are less apparent and they feel more like a droney psych-rock outfit in the vein of Spacemen 3 now, especially when Ripley busts out a wailing solo on 'Free Action'. I'm happy to see the inclusion of 'Motorcycle, I Love You', which is transformed from the Suicidey relentlessness of the album version into a slow-burning slab of cosmic riff rock. Live albums often seem a little pointless, offering slightly less good versions of songs you already know, but these are sufficiently different and well-recorded that fans won't feel they've wasted their time, and since the songs are cherry-picked from all three of their albums it's not a terrible starting point if you're new to the Duo.
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