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.
NYC Ghosts & Flowers is the 11th studio album by Sonic Youth, originally released on May 16, 2000. The album was a slight stylistic departure for the band, mainly as a creative reaction to the theft of their instruments while on tour in July 1999. Irreplaceable guitars and effects pedals with numerous modifications were stolen. As a result of this theft, the members of Sonic Youth relied upon "old guitars in their studio, unearthing instruments they hadn't used in years" which "along with equipment purchased to fulfill the remaining [...] dates [of the tour], would serve as the foundation for six new songs written over the next month", in addition to "Free City Rhymes" and "Renegade Princess", which were written prior to the tour. The band members later acknowledged that "the gear theft was somewhat of a blessing, if not a rather unwelcome and unpleasant one, in that it truly forced them to 'start over' and approach creating music with brand new boundaries.