Release Date: Oct 11, 2019
Record label: Matador
Kim Gordon is the archetypal kool thing. Uncompromising, potent and essential. No Home Record, her debut solo album, is bloody brilliant. The nine tracks delve into the psyche of modern America, LA specifically, and reminds you that there is depth and beauty in the deconstruction of the superficial and ugly.
The last chapter of Kim Gordon's 2015 memoir, Girl in a Band, is a kind of epilogue--a bridge to the next volume in the long life of the indie-rock icon. Sonic Youth is over, and so is Gordon's marriage to bandmate Thurston Moore. Their daughter, Coco, is off at art school. Gordon has left the family's brick homestead in Northampton, Massachusetts, but instead of returning to New York, where she was a paragon of Downtown cool since 1981, she heads out to Los Angeles, where she grew up.
Almost four decades after starting Sonic Youth with just a drum machine, guitar and copy from advertisements that she would rework into lyrics, she mimics this same concept within her first release as a solo artist, and has come full circle in many senses. Returning back to her native California after living on the East Coast for many years, she firmly asserts herself as an independent force while questioning the commodification of home, underpinned with striking electronic influences. The track "Air BnB" for example, takes listeners to the shores of Malibu where Gordon permeates through 47-inch televisions, daybeds and bubble wrap to declare "American idea / Copyright, copyrights / Air BnB! / Air BnB!/ Air BnB! / Gonna set me free," blending snarling guitars with the same formula of using ads for inspiration, just reformatted to suit the modern age of digital indulgence.
With every year that passes after Sonic Youth's breakup, Kim Gordon's art becomes more liberated and more revealing. As she focused on the visual art career she sidelined for decades, her music shattered her limiting persona as an aloof, cooler-than-cool alt-rock icon while holding onto her most essential strengths. This is especially true of No Home Record, her fearless, witty, and sensual solo debut.
Kim Gordon is a certified pop culture icon. As a founding member of Sonic Youth she became a role model for a generation. Since then she's done everything from producing a critically-acclaimed Hole record to writing a much-lauded memoir. It seems crazy to think that it has taken until 2019 for her to release a solo album.
Prompted by the Sonic Youth legend's fear of cultural homogeny, this is an accessible guitar record that surprises despite its author's truly enormous legacy Over the last few years, Kim Gordon has developed an unlikely obsession: Airbnb interiors. Burying herself in a heap of scatter-cushions emblazoned with cheery slogans and stencil-cut skyline canvases, the former Sonic Youth member has even staged an exhibition - She Bites Her Tender Mind , at IMMA in Dublin - exploring the subject. "People are looking at this utopian weekend getaway as trying on a different lifestyle,” she told The New York Times .
Kim Gordon has been busy. Sure, this record might be her official debut solo album, but just look at what she's achieved since Sonic Youth split back in 2011: a phenomenal book; music with the searing Body/Head project; appearances in cinema alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill, as well as pursuing her interests in fashion and design. Despite all this, though, 'No Home Record' remains feverishly anticipated.
I n 2016, Kim Gordon released Murdered Out, a track on which she howled over a louche funk bassline as though auditioning for Rage Against the Machine. A collaboration with avant-pop producer Justin Raisen (Sky Ferreira, Yves Tumor), it paved the way for Gordon's first album under her own name, reflecting her move back to her native LA, where "you can pee in the ocean/ It's free". While No Home Record is a more accessible outing than her avant-garde Body/Head work, Gordon - formerly of Sonic Youth - is still in the business of unsettling.
Kim Gordon was always a curious blend of telling it like it is and keeping it elusive. She used the former as a grounding rod of dispassionately observational revelations - keeping it real - while the latter came from the ambiguous spirit of an artistic perception that thrived on radical fluidity and a sense of conceptual suspense. Crafting a persona simultaneously iconic and iconoclastic, Gordon always acted subversively but within pop culture, shoving her glorious noise down the throat of the mainstream and elegantly navigating the ironic edges of a contradictory world.
The Lowdown: It seems incredible to type this sentence in 2019 and have it be true, but here goes: No Home Record is the debut solo record from Kim Gordon, the iconic artist and musician who spent 30 years perched at the apex of cool as a member of Sonic Youth. In the eight years since Thurston Moore’s infidelity ended both their marriage and Sonic Youth’s time as a band, Gordon’s stayed busy, striking up collaborations with guitarists Bill Nace (as Body/Head) and Alex Knost (as Glitterbust), staging gallery shows in New York and London, and publishing a bestselling memoir (2015’s Girl in the Band). She also returned to her hometown of Los Angeles after more than half a lifetime out east.