field report no.111216

LOCATION: National Sawdust BK.NY
SUBJECT: Body / Head

Kim Gordon is true royalty, both as an uncommonly challenging rock star and as an NYC celebrity-icon. For decades she has made uncompromising music fashionable. Her public persona is unpretentious but a such a level of artsy cool usually reserved for hindsight and rarely attributed to anyone in the present. I could not think of a more fitting show to end my 10-year run in Brooklyn.

Her duo with Bill Nace, as Body / Head, is often referred to as a noise-pop group, but that doesn't really seem to capture it. They deal, almost exclusively, in dissonance, but rarely build their wall of guitars into wails or all-out assaults. Theirs is a textural palette: all steel wool, sandpaper and gravel. From this prickly, improvised bed, amorphous songs emerge. Kim Gordon's voice has never been there to soothe you. Here, it's a downright haunted presence: the blues moan of Blind Willie Johnson filtered through avant rock. While there's some precedent for this in the distended blues of Loren Connors and Suzanne Langille's collaborations (a comparison I think Gordon could appreciate) it doesn't make it any less arresting.

NOTES: Body / Head; Silk Purse