Sonic Youth was an American punk rock band formed in 1981 by singer-songwriters Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo along with Richard Edson, Steve Shelley, Bob Bert, and Anne DeMarinis at various times. Borrowing heavily from the free-form noise experimentalism of the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, the heavy guitar playing of Glenn Branca and melding it with a performance art aesthetic borrowed from the New York post-punk avant-garde, Sonic Youth redefined what noise meant within rock & roll. Their first album Confusion is Sex (1983) was released by Glenn Branca's Neutral label and highlighted the band's customized guitars that were often tuned unconventionally and sometimes modified with objects jammed under their strings. During the next decade Sonic Youth began to increasingly engage with pop music structures, rock history, and visual art. Throughout they gained notoriety in the underground rock scene, particularly from their live performances. In 1990 the band signed with the major record label DCG for their album Goo and went on their first tour with the then little known band Nirvana. Their 1992 record Dirty emulated the grunge aesthetic of Seattle bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney that they had championed. Dirty solidified Sonic Youth as the predecessors of alternative rock and with its more accessible songs ultimately went gold. After headlining a Lollapalooza tour in 1995 Sonic Youth created a Manhattan studio-workshop, Echo Canyon, where they recorded a number of albums. In 2006 they closed the studio and went on to create a few records before their closure in 2011.

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