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Sonic Youth Enters "New Phase"

Of the Oakland Press

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It’s “a whole new phase” for veteran alternative rockers Sonic Youth, says singer-guitarist Thurston Moore.

After five years as a quintet with producer-artist Jim O’Rourke, the New York troupe is back to a four-piece lineup — but not, Moore says, just like it was before.

“It doesn’t really feel the same, even though it is kind of the ‘original’ Sonic Youth,” explains Moore, 48, who formed the group in 1981 with his wife, Kim Gordon, and guitarist Lee Renaldo, adding drummer Steve Shelley in 1985. “All of a sudden, we felt kind of like this is a new joint. So we’re super-excited about what’s going on.”

The new/old Sonic Youth released a new album, “Rather Ripped,” in June, unveiling a more strippeddown and accessible sound — especially compared to the noise-rock epics on which the group staked its reputation early in its career. Moore acknowledges the songs “are much more ... short and sharp and immediate,” but contends “we’re still present- ing a lot of experimental kind of edge to the music.”

Mostly, however, he says the band is pleased it still can find new things to do after 25 years together.

“I really like that a lot,” Moore notes, “especially since we’re all getting older. I find that it’s even more radical to be in a rock band the older you are.”

Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth and the Go! Team perform 7:30 p.m. Friday (August 4th) at the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $35. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit

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