Sonic Youth began in 1981 downtown New York City -Thurston Moore - guitar, vocals, Kim Gordon - bass, guitar, vocals, Lee Ranaldo - guitar vocals. the band made its 1st eponymously titled mini-LP released in 1982 by Neutral Records, a label founded by NYC guitar/composer Glen Branca. Lee and Thurston were witness to the original 1976/77 NYC CBGB/Max’s scene of Television, Patti Smith, Suicide, Ramones, etc. Kim was in L.A. studying as a visual artist. they started playing during the era (1978/79) of what is termed No Wave----harsh, challengeing abrasive music informed by rock, noise, jazz and modern composition/experimentation. With cheap guitars and various hot rodded tunings they wrote songs like no one else. The vibe was fresh and, though mirroring the nihilism of no wave, had notions of forward positivity.
By 1984 their sound had developed into a more mature pop/noise hybrid with a genuine experimental flair for structure. They went to London and destoyed all who heard and watched. Sonic Youth, in a New York minute, wiped the "death of the electric guitar" concept out, and went on to further the explosion of recognition for the new U.S. underground. Things have not been the same since.
Upon return to the U.S. from the 1984 Steve Shelley, from Michigan,joined the band on drums. Steve’s formidable drum skills upped the bands musicality a level and everyone yelled, "hup!"
In 1987 they recorded "Sister" which would inspire legions of gig-goers a 1/2 generation younger than SY (Pavement, Sebadoh, etc.). This LP touched on themes of hyper-irreality and dislocution.
Sonic Youth recorded "Daydream Nation" in 1989, a double LP which brought them to the attention of the critical elite, winning them year-end best of awards up the butthola. This LP encapsuled all that had been brewing musically and lyrically with the band through the 1980s.
At decade’s end they signed to a major label, Geffen. This was considered insane by many on watch as their was really no history of independent undergound bands succeeding within the realms of the corporate music industry which they helped build an alternative to. They released the LP "Goo" in 1990 and then "Dirty" in 1992. Both Lps were chock block full of heady, heavy swirl and strum. They noticed a new generation of music lovers digging them and their contemporaries on a massive scale. And then Nirvana sold a zillion records and the industry was a new deal----sort of.
In 1997 SY built a studio and recorded a series of EPs on their own homegrown label SYR. This music was extrapolated, mostly instrumental forays into wild improvisatory meditations and sub/conscious structural creations.
In the summer of 1999 SY were liberated from all the signature sound tools they developed for the last 12 years or so. They came home and picked up hammers + nails and started afresh, writing their new lp entitled "NYC Ghosts & Flowers".
Sonic Youth are putting the finishing touches on their upcoming new record. Basic tracks were recorded with engineer TJ Doherty at legendary Sear Sound Studio. Sear Sound has been the site of recording previous SY albums 'Sister' and 'Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star', and Thurston's 'Psychic Hearts'. Overdubs were recorded with TJ at Sear Sound as well as with engineer Aaron Mullan at the band's own studio on Murray St. - A few vocal overdubs were even done at J Mascis' in house studio in Amherst, MA. with engineer John Agnello. The band spent the most of February mixing with John Agnello at Sear Sound and later at Water Music in Hoboken, NJ.