Sonic Youth was an American rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. Founding members Thurston Moore (guitar, vocals), Kim Gordon (bass guitar, vocals, guitar) and Lee Ranaldo (guitar, vocals) remained together for the entire history of the band, while Steve Shelley (drums) followed a series of short-term drummers in 1985, and rounded out the core line-up. In their early career Sonic Youth were associated with the no wave 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.
Dirty is the seventh studio album, released on July 21, 1992. The band recorded and produced the album with Butch Vig in early 1992 at The Magic Shop studios. The sound on Dirty was inspired by the grunge scene of the time, and was described as avant-rock. Some songs on the album mark the first appearance of three guitars in Sonic Youth songs. The album spawned four singles. The first single was "100%", but it was not the crossover hit the label anticipated. Geffen Record executive Mark Kates admitted the single "was not a great radio song", however, the single did chart well. The next was "Youth Against Fascism", which did not chart well. The last two were "Sugar Kane" and "Drunken Butterfly", released in 1993. "Sugar Kane" did better commercially than "Youth Against Fascism". The album sold exceptionally well, reaching No. 6 in the UK Albums Chart (their highest charting album in the UK) and No. 83 in the US.