Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Very Independent Sonic Youth

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Very Independent Sonic Youth

Article excerpt

THIS summer, as Sonic Youth returns to the concert trail as headliners of the Lollapalooza tour, guitarist Thurston Moore advises fans to leave any pre-conceived expectations at the door.

"We're not going to go out there and do a call and response rock 'n' roll act for these people," Moore said.

"We're going to go out and play pretty much all new material that's almost much weirder than almost anything we've ever done before. So it's going to be an interesting situation. We want to do it because of the absurdity of it."

To use Lollapalooza - the type of high-profile shows that can elevate a band to major star status - as a forum to introduce music that is both unreleased and likely to challenge even longtime fans is a daring move, to say the least. Some would probably say it's commercial suicide.

But for Sonic Youth, it's pretty well in character. For a decade and a half, the quartet - Moore, bassist Kim Gordon, guitarist Lee Ranaldo and drummer Steve Shelley - have been one of rock's true renegade bands, fiercely maintaining artistic independence as the band created a highly influential style.

That sound has been built around the intertwined guitar attack of Moore and Ranaldo, who explored a variety of atonal, dissonant, feedback-drenched sounds - all within songs that could be punky or poppy or free form.

During the past year and a half, Sonic Youth has been on hiatus, during which each member worked on outside projects. In Moore's case, it was solo album, "Psychic Hearts." He also recorded other more experimental material to be released on independent labels.

"Psychic Hearts" wasn't elaborately planned out, he said. "This was just a bunch of songs I wrote that were just sort of fractured pop songs, that dealt a lot with repetition and were real minimalist."

Moore recruited Shelley and bassist Tim Foljahn of the band Half Japanese to try out the material.

"I just played at a couple of little clubs doing this material, just for the fun of it, just for rock 'n' roll that way. …

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