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Sonic Youth

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Biography

New York City, New York, United States (1981 – 2011)

Sonic Youth was an influential band which formed in New York City, New York, United States in 1981 and are currently on an indefinite hiatus. The last lineup consisted of Thurston Moore (vocals, guitar), Kim Gordon (vocals, bass, guitar), Lee Ranaldo (vocals and guitar), Steve Shelley (drums) and Mark Ibold (bass).

In their early career, Sonic Youth was associated with the art and music scene in New York City. Part of the first wave of American noise rock groups, the band carried out their interpretation of the hardcore punk ethos throughout the evolving American underground that focused more on the DIY ethic of the genre rather than its specific sound. As a result, Sonic Youth was pivotal in the rise of the alternative rock movement.

Sonic Youth have expressed a wide variety of influences, ranging from the influential protopunk musician Patti Smith to composer John Cage. The band has been praised for having “redefined what rock guitar could do”, using a wide variety of unorthodox guitar tunings, and preparing guitars with objects like drumsticks and screwdrivers to alter the instruments’ timbre.

Formation and early history: 1977-1981

Sonic Youth’s history began when guitarist Thurston Moore moved to New York City in early 1976. Interested in punk, Moore joined The Coachmen, a guitar-based quartet, after arriving in the city.

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