Sunday, October 13, 2019

Kim in conversation

With her debut solo LP No Home Record released on Friday, Kim Gordon has been subjecting herself to the media merry-go-round, interview features popping up left, right and centre.

In the course of her conversation with Mike Hogan for Vanity Fair, Gordon spoke about the serendipitous circumstances in which she met her key No Home Record collaborator Justin Raisen, her love of Lizzo and Bohemian Rhapsody, and the death of rock 'n' roll: "I think it kind of went out with a whimper. I mean, when you think about rock and roll, it was the music of rebelliousness, and where to you hear that in the culture now? I don't hear it anywhere. Except maybe in hip-hop or some alt-girl bands. And some noise music, but that's so far underground."

Despite being so often perceived as effortlessly exuding cool, Gordon claimed that only now, at the age of 66, is she finally feeling confident about her own artistic voice: "I can be anxious or kind of insecure, but when it comes down to it, I guess I act out of a feeling that I have nowhere else to go but forward. I just feel like that moment of expressing, or making something, is a way to lose oneself."

Perhaps even more surprising were her ambivalent comments about the #MeToo movement, which she argued "has made everything have to become black and white. That's just what happened, so all the more subtle dialogue about symbiotics and feminism, that whole aspect of feminism doesn't fit in anywhere now. I think people are confused."

Don't call her a feminist icon, though, as she told GQ's Gabriella Paiella: "People want to call me an icon and I want to back away from that because it makes me uncomfortable. Because it's something then that can become slogan-y. It doesn't feel right." They also spoke about naff inspirational/aspirational art and how transience and change are among No Home Record's key themes and, as in the Vanity Fair interview, Gordon claimed to have no regrets over the candour of her memoir Girl In A Band (which, rather embarrassingly, I still haven't read).

Meanwhile, in a feature for the New York Times, she showed off her exemplary taste in picking Neil Young's 'On The Beach' as her favourite song, principally for the key lines encapsulating the tension experienced by the insecure, shy performer: "I need a crowd of people / But I can't face them day to day."

What, though, of the new record itself? The Guardian's Laura Snapes is just one of the critics to have raved about it, but personally speaking I think it'll take some time to digest. What is evident is that 'Murdered Out', which emerged in 2016 as the first fruits of her collaboration with Raisen, is far from a rogue outlier, and that tracks like 'Sketch Artist' see her venturing into genuinely unfamiliar territory. Currently I'm clinging to the vaguely familiar - in particular the heavy-hitting punk chorus to 'Air BnB', which could be ripped straight from a Sonic Youth song.

Vanity Fair's Hogan asked Gordon whether her former band might ever play together again. "It doesn't look like it" was her reply. Thankfully, the solo output of the various members at least offers some consolation.

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