Sonic Youth: New album, life without Jim

I got a fan notification email a while back that Sonic Youth were working on a new album, which is always cause for celebration, especially after the last two (Murray Street and Sonic Nurse were real career high points). But I had totally missed a more interesting piece of news: back in October, Pitchfork reported that Jim O’Rourke, who was an official Sonic for the last two albums and played on others including NYC Ghosts & Flowers and SYR3, has officially left the band … to focus on directing films?

Personally I think the last bit is a canard, given that Jim is visibly active in the music business (he produced Beth Orton’s long overdue album, out yesterday). But you never know.