Sonic Youth: A 25-Year Experiment in Artful Noise

Sonic Youth, Now and Then

Hear two songs from the new Sonic Youth release, Rather Ripped.

'Expressway to Yr Skull' (which is also known by the title 'Madonna, Sean and Me') first appeared on Sonic Youth's 1986 album Evol.

NPR Live Concert Series

In rock 'n' roll, it's rare for a band's original members to stay together for nearly a quarter of a century. And most bands that do are simply cashing in on their past hits.

Sonic Youth i i

hide captionSonic Youth still rocks: (from left) Steve Shelley, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore.

Amanda Decadenet
Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth still rocks: (from left) Steve Shelley, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore.

Amanda Decadenet

Sonic Youth is an exception to both rules. The New York art-noise band is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and its new recording, Rather Ripped, is one of the most straight-ahead rock albums the band has ever made.

It might seem as if Sonic Youth is moving toward the mainstream. But if anything, it's the other way around. Consider this: Producers of the hit television show The Gilmore Girls invited members of the band to play on the show's season finale last month.

There was a time when Sonic Youth never considered playing on TV — and TV never considered the band. But over the years, Sonic Youth has built a respectable, if not huge, following with its avant-garde, sonic experiments and strong independent streak.

Member station WHYY's Joel Rose reports on the musicians who came together in the heady, downtown New York art scene of the early 1980s — and have been together ever since.

Purchase Featured Music

Rather Ripped

Purchase Music

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: Rather Ripped
  • Artist: Sonic Youth
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Released: 2006
 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.