Later in the '90s, creative restlessness led them to make more challenging major-label albums like 1995's Washing Machine and release overtly experimental works on their own SYR imprint. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Moore grew up in Bethel, Connecticut; Ranaldo was from Long Island; and Gordon was an art student and musician from California. By August 2001, Sonic Youth were in the studio working on their next album, but sessions came to a temporary halt following the September 11 attacks (the band's studio was only a few blocks from the World Trade Center). Recorded at Memphis' Easley Studios and co-produced by the band and John Siket (who engineered Dirty and Experimental Jet Set), Washing Machine appeared in September 1995 and featured some of Sonic Youth's longest and widest-ranging songs yet, including the 20-minute "The Diamond Sea." More of a good-natured prank than an actual band, Ciccone Youth was a short-lived vehicle in which indie underground noisemakers Sonic Youth further explored their obsession with popular culture. The album peaked at number 18 on the Billboard 200, marking their highest chart position ever; in Europe, it was awarded a silver certification. In the decade that followed, Sonic Youth continued to balance the different sides of their music in ways that felt true to their legacy; from 2002's introspective Murray Street to 2009's hard-hitting swan song The Eternal, they remained a band who always forged their own path. Learn about Sonic Youth: discover its members ranked by popularity, see when it formed, view trivia, and more. Thurston Moore. Album A Thousand Leaves. The five-piece Sonic Youth returned in June 2004 with Sonic Nurse, a more energetic and structured set of songs that hit 64 on the Billboard 200. He also ran Sonic Youth's labels SYR and Goofin', the latter of which released the 2012 live album Smart Bar: Chicago 1985 and 2016's Spinhead Sessions, a set of 1986 rehearsals for the group's Made in USA soundtrack. From Gordon's interview in Elle:., Sonic Youth - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). That December, Sonic Youth recorded their self-titled debut EP at a studio in Radio City Music Hall. In 2008, the group resurrected the SYR series: J'Accuse Ted Hughes arrived that April as a vinyl-only release featuring a piece from the band's performance at the first All Tomorrow's Parties festival in April 2000, while July's Andre Sider Af Sonic Youth chronicled an improvised performance at 2005's Roskilde Festival with Mats Gustafsson and Merzbow. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Read Full Biography. It was Jim Sclavunos who played most of the drums on Sonic Youth's debut album, Confusion Is Sex, which arrived in February 1983 and introduced the abrasive, no wave-inspired approach that defined most of the group's early work. Beginning in 1997, the group released a series of experimental albums on its own SYR label, one of which was a collaboration with polymath musician Jim O’Rourke (b. January 18, 1969, Chicago, Illinois). After helping to produce NYC Ghosts and Flowers (2000), a paean to avant-garde composers like John Cage, O’Rourke became a full-time member of Sonic Youth, appearing on tour and handling production duties for Murray Street (2002) and Sonic Nurse (2004). Released in July 1992, Dirty reached number 83 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, spawned the modern rock hits "100%," "Youth Against Fascism," and "Sugar Kane," and eventually went gold. To make their major-label debut, the group recorded demos with Mascis and Gumball's Don Fleming, then worked with Sansano at Sorcerer Sound and Greene Street studios on lengthy, often experimental sessions. Late in 2005, the band issued SYR6, a recording of a benefit concert for the Anthology Film Archives that Sonic Youth had played alongside percussionist Tim Barnes. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. DeMarinis departed shortly afterward, and the quartet soon became the first band on Branca's Neutral Records label. Guitar. Sonic Youth followed it with January 1989's The Whitey Album, a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Madonna and other parts of mainstream pop culture from their side project Ciccone Youth. The band's songwriting on Goo is more topical than past works, exploring themes of … The band used the earnings to build their own studio, Lower Manhattan's Echo Canyon. Released in June 2006, Rather Ripped continued in the more song-oriented direction of Sonic Nurse and fared relatively well on the charts, peaking at 71 on the Billboard 200 and at 64 on the U.K. Albums Chart. On that August's SYR5, DJ Olive and Ikue Mori joined Gordon on a set of darkly abstract pieces. Here are 13 of the best. As they redefined what noise meant within rock & roll -- and what success meant for a band with experimental roots -- Sonic Youth became one of the most influential, and popular, acts to emerge from the American underground. Instead, Sonic Youth decided to sign with SST, home of Hüsker Dü and Black Flag, in early 1986. The group eventually signed with a major label, DGC, but retained its underground edge and penchant for musical experimentation, which ranged from the straightforward pop approach of Goo (1990) and Dirty (1992) to the near-orchestral sweep of Washing Machine (1995) and A Thousand Leaves (1998). The group’s first recordings were heavy on noise and feedback, but, by the release of Bad Moon Rising in 1985, it was clear Sonic Youth was beginning to find its own voice. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Three years later, Matador Records reissued Live at Battery Park, originally a limited-edition bonus LP included with preorders of The Eternal, as Battery Park, NYC: July 4, 2008. Appearing in March 1982, Sonic Youth featured a more straightforward post-punk sound than the music they would make in the near future. The band worked with Nevermind mixer Andy Wallace and producer Butch Vig, who helped them focus their songs into a more accessible sound. Sonic Youth's future acclaim was unthinkable when guitarists/vocalists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo and bassist/vocalist Kim Gordon formed Sonic Youth in 1981. 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