At this point, it’s kind of hard to be surprised or thrown off by anything Kim Gordon does. Or at least, it shouldn’t be hard. But even after more than 30 years of mashing together art school insubordination with cantankerous, pop-savvy noise rock, the ex-Sonic Youth bassist still has the power to upend expectations. With Body/Head, Gordon makes her first official musical statement following Sonic Youth’s impromptu hiatus in 2011, and judging from her bruised sentiments, there’s zero chance of that moniker hitting lineups anytime soon, if ever.
Coming Apart finds Gordon and guitarist Bill Nace delving headfirst into an abyss of irritable guitar noise, and with song titles such as “Last Mistress”, “Everything Left”, and “Can’t Help You”, it’s easy to suspect the source of Gordon’s frustration cuts close to the bone. After an iconic career working alongside her then-husband and bandmate Thurston Moore, Gordon is left to her own devices, and she bleeds cathartically all over the record. When she speak/sings “I can only think of you in the abstract” on the aptly titled, “Abstract”, she’s not in much of a mood for mincing words.
Coming Apart is a sparse exercise in cranky tension, one crafted almost strictly out of angry, feedback-laden soundscapes. There’s hardly any percussion to be found, just a bounty of turbulent guitar fuckery and Gordon’s oft-times barely discernible lyrics. Accessible in the slightest? Not at all. But given Gordon’s fractured autobiographical context, that difficultly feels warranted. At almost 60 years old, Gordon is still pushing the musical envelope, and that in and of itself is something worth celebrating.
Essential Tracks: “Abstract”, “Last Mistress”