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Sonic Youth: A 25-Year Experiment in Artful Noise

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 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.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Joel Rose is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. He covers immigration and breaking news.
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