Kim Gordon has done many things in her musical career. She’s made numerous records with a variety of different acts; she’s collaborated with artists like Jim O’Rourke and Yoko Ono; she’s had a hand in changing the course of alternative rock history several times over through her work in Sonic Youth; but she has never released a solo studio album under her given name. Never, that is, until now.
While No Home Record is technically Gordon’s debut solo LP, one listen to this record has you in no doubt that you’re dealing with a seasoned professional. Even when they are at their most fraught and ramshackle these tracks are artfully constructed. On cuts like ‘Air BnB’ and ‘Cookie Butter’ Gordon’s distorted, atonal guitars cut brutally across the mix as if lifted from a different song entirely. In the hands of a lesser artist a risk like this could throw the songs off, but Gordon manages to make the choices work for her here.
Given that Gordon is such a voracious experimentalist it’ll come as little surprise that a wide range of genres are bent to her will across No Home Record. The juxtaposition of music-box twinkles with abrasive electronics on opener ‘Sketch Artist’ recalls St. Vincent; ‘Don’t Play It’ is feral synth-punk in the L.I.E.S. mould; there’s a bit of Sunn O))) to the totemic drone-ballad ‘Earthquake’; and the beat on ‘Paprika Pony’ is like a lo-fi remake of OG Maco’s trap megahit ‘You Guessed It’ (yes, really). Even in an age where artists regularly chop and change genres at short notice No Home Record cycles through an impressively wide range of musical styles. Gordon’s charisma and compositional nous, undimmed at 66 years old, bring these disparate parts together as a coherent whole.
Kim Gordon’s unabashed, ambitious solo LP No Home Record proves that she’s still operating in a league of her own.