The Girl in A Band: Kim Gordon, Goddess of Underground Indie Rock

No Home Record by Kim Gordon was released October 14, 2019

Sonic Youth may be over, and her marriage to Thurston Moore may be too, but rocker Kim Gordon is back and hotter than ever. She’s been in the industry for almost thirty years, from challenging the role of women in music, dancing with Kathleen Hanna, to flourishing as a visual artist. I can remember the exact day that I was introduced to Sonic Youth in middle school. It was raining in Woodside, Queens, and I was hanging out in my friend’s bedroom. My friend was really into the post punk new york underground scene, had pink hair in the sixth grade and often got in trouble in school for speaking out in class. It wasn’t the first time my friend showed me “cool” music. But this time, I wasn’t interested in the  hot lead singer or the drummer in this band. I noticed the stringy blonde woman wearing a green tee shirt with the words “Girls Invented Punk Rock Not England.” From then on, I thought this was the coolest woman on the planet. I wanted to be just like her. 

In her recent memoir written in 2015, Kim Gordon mentions in the last chapter that she was staying in an Airbnb in Echo Park, escaping Northampton where she stayed for the last twenty years and her daughter Coco graduating from Art School (my cousin Nick attended the same school). The past few years, she’s been touring with her friend Bill Nace as the experimental rock duo, Body/Head, coming out with three masterpiece albums. Her latest solo release titled No Home Record offers some things quite different than you would expect. Taking cues from avant garde, hip-hop and classic electronics, Gordon’s solo album is an art piece that reflects her struggles as a divorced woman. She mentions Fleetwood Mac as well as touches on the socio-political messages we so desperately need to hear. Working with L.A. producer Justin Raisen, Gordon’s raspy screaming voice used in an electronica dance club is an interesting mix. I would never have thought of combining the two, but it works perfectly. 

No Home Record is, no doubt, trying to break away from conventional noise rock used over and over from bands like Yo La Tengo to Death Grips. As much as I love these bands, Gordon’s spin on noise rock is malicious, rough and gritty. It’s an angry album with overheated bass amps, clever lyrics and disgusting fuzzed out drums. Murdered Out for an example is a brutal, cutthroat song that obviously disses a manchild or a guy who plays with her feelings. It’s so prolific of her to point this out and probably the main reason I love her so much. Even at her lowest point, Kim Gordon’s unraveling truth are not in her words but in her voice. She speaks from her heart and the guitar is just as equally important. “AirBnB” is my favorite song in the whole album; it’s peppy yet disturbing, but definitely not a Sunday afternoon song to relax to. This past year, I had the incredible opportunity to see her live in Bushwick, Brooklyn and I have to admit, it was a concert that definitely did not disappoint me. No Home Record is a creative capstone project that is like a roller coaster. It’s exhilarating, scary and at the end, peaceful.

Reviewer Sacha Fleming is a rock enthusiast, vinyl collector, and an FM DJ here at WFNP. Catch her show “The Rambling Rose Show” every Thursday on 88.7 FM and streaming on from 10 PM to 12 AM.

Sacha’s photograph of rocker Kim Gordon. She’s still got it!

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