Michael Azerrad divided Our Band Could Be Your Life, his definitive history of what he called “the American indie underground,” into thirteen chapters, each one focusing on a local scene. Azerrad sets just one chapter in New York, when it’s time to look at Sonic Youth, and it’s hard to argue that NYC is in any way slighted. It might be overstating things to say that ’80s indie-rock was mostly something that happened outside of New York, but there was a reason that “college rock” would become, long before “emo” or “dubstep,” the original genre-name-as-backhanded-putdown. The land-grant university was the ideal gathering place for provincial out-state misfits too smart to stay in their hometowns but unwilling or unready to migrate to the big city.
Keith Harris’ full EMP paper is well worth a read.