After a two-decade stint with Universal Music Group, Sonic Youth has returned to the indie ranks and signed a new deal with Matador Records. The veteran rock act's label debut is due next year.

After a two-decade stint with Universal Music Group, Sonic Youth has returned to the indie ranks and signed a new deal with Matador Records. The veteran rock act's label debut is due next year.

The one-album deal is worldwide except for Japan. "They have a tremendous amount to do with why I'm actually involved in this stuff," says Matador co-owner Gerard Cosloy, who previously worked with the band in the 1980s at Homestead Records. "The number of bands on Matador who they've made an indelible impact on, both musically and personally, is a pretty long list."

News that the band's Geffen deal was up was first revealed by Billboard in the fall of 2006. Sonic Youth's final album for the label, "Rather Ripped," was released earlier that year, and was followed by a rarities collection, "The Destroyed Room."

Guitarist/vocalist Thurston Moore tells Billboard the band never seriously considered releasing music through its own SYR label and not signing with another label, because "the amount of work it would entail, I don't think we could really handle it."

"Matador is a super strong, high-profile label with an indie distribution system that is exactly what a band like us in this current climate needs more than anything," he continues.

Having already unveiled two new songs at a recent Brooklyn show ("One was a real sort of weird boogie rocker and the other was this no-wave noise pop tune," Moore says), Sonic Youth will hit the studio this fall to record the next album.

"The last two or three albums, I focused on making concise, avant-garde pop/rock songs that had some accessibility factor," Moore says. "But Universal wasn't really able to work them beyond critics. So I told our manager, 'Maybe we should make a longer-form record of more experimental music,' and he's like, 'No, no! Now you can put that record out of songs, songs, songs, because Matador can really deal with them.'"

"It's almost like we were flexing our song muscles to appeal and impress the invisible men at Universal, so maybe now it's kind of matured enough with us where this record will be killer," he says.

Moore is hoping to be mixing by early next year so the album will be out before summer 2009. Before rolling tape, Sonic Youth will play two shows in Italy in early October, while Moore will perform his famed solo album "Psychic Hearts" in its entirety later this month in Northampton, Mass., and at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Monticello, N.Y.