B O O K
Girl in a Band: A Memoir
Before going into any detail I should probably come clean. Two of my idols are called Kim. Both play the bass guitar, and I love the bass guitar. As much as I love Kim Deal of Pixies and The Breeders, I really, really, really love Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. I was therefore foaming at the proverbial to get my mitts on a copy of her memoir, Girl in a Band.
The book spans Kim’s whole life more or less, from childhood days being bullied by her now-committed brother, Keller, to the reasonably recent split from husband of 30 years and co-conspirator in indie-rock legends Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore.
The striking thing about this book for me was just how fragile and sensitive Kim has been for all these years. The fact that she has spent the best part of three decades centre-stage in one of the world’s most revered noise-rock bands is surprising at first, particularly if you have been fortunate to witness Sonic Youth live. However Kim is very candid at explaining the release she gets when playing, and we learn that for her, standing in the middle of such a wonderful cacophony of noise was real escapism, and in many ways a magical and safe place to be away from the pressures of home life.
Along with the personal recall, there are namedrops aplenty – too many to mention here, but the affinity Kim had with Kurt Cobain of Nirvana certainly strikes a chord and reminds us that whatever fame does to a person, we are all human and have basic needs. There is a real human quality to this book.
As you might expect, ‘Girl in a Band’ contains plenty of Sonic Youth history too. An insight into many songs/videos/albums/lineups/gigs is included for the SY geeks like me, and many of them are truly fascinating and shed light on the inner workings of what became a legendary rock band. Kim’s side projects - Free Kitten and launching skater-chic brand X-Girl - also feature and remind us that there is way more to Kim Gordon than being Mrs. Thurston Moore and being just a girl in a band.
Overall I enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the band or alternative music of the last 30 years. RS
A L B U M
Science Club: A Stomach Compilation 003
Free download available from https://thestomach.bandcamp.com/
Palmerston North. A town that, by rights, should perhaps come in for at least as much stick as the fair city of Hamilton. As a landlocked, university, rugby town just a couple of hours away from a big city, Palmerston North has more than a few things in common with Kirikiriroa.
One thing that Palmy has that Hamilton doesn’t is the thoroughly enviable Creative Sounds organisation, a non-profit voluntary organisation dedicated to the encouragement of musical, artistic and performance activities. Not only does it run a fantastic music venue, The Stomach, where bands playing original music are encouraged to play, it also has scarily affordable rehearsal rooms and a professional and (again affordable) recording studio.
These facilities are obviously well used by the local community, proof of this is the tremendous recently released album ‘Science Club: A Stomach Compilation 003’ a thoroughly eclectic mix of songs by local artists. From the indie guitar goodness of No Shells, Gains and Arcadian Kites to the sweet vocal pop of Pixie Dust and Vera Ellen through to the out-and-out electro pop of Dimes & Symes, this compilation is frankly an outstanding showcase of what Creative Sounds and The Stomach do, and a bow/curtsy from twelve lucky bands that have been nurtured by their magnificent facilities.
Definitely worth a download, and something to aspire to for anyone interested in making and supporting original local music. RS
Gig Review: The Invasion
G I G
'The Invasion' featuring Bonecruncher - The Dilfs - Rogernomics - Phone Sex Robots - High Risk Maneuver
March 27 2015
In my experience, going to see punk bands play is always worth it. It’s never boring going to see this sort of thing. So when I heard that a half-dozen of them were coming to our fair city to blast a selection of its inhabitants with punky-goodness, I was pretty sure that I would be in the crowd somewhere.
Stylistically, the various bands on offer all fall somewhere on the punk spectrum, but each one brought their own unique flavour to show – there are after all, so many excellent permutations of the “fast and loud” aesthetic. All the bands were great – Bonecruncher were rifftastic and heavy as heck, and Rogernomics were strangely entrancing in a relentless, brutal sort of way. But if I had to choose a favourite for the night, it would be The Dilfs, who played a short and sharp set of reckless party songs, and genuinely seemed to be having loads of fun doing it.
The Nivara Lounge saw a decent turn-out by local standards, which is good to see as this is not always the case for Hamilton shows. I’m still not entirely convinced about this place being a reliable venue for this sort of music – with that low, boxy ceiling, loud bands can tend to sound “rather loud” and kinda washed-out at times. I noticed this being a problem during Bonecruncher’s set, when I couldn’t actually hear what one of the guitar players was doing at all.
On the whole however, it was a most excellent show, and an excellent way to spend a Friday night – a ripping good time was had by all. Be sure to check out these guys on Bandcamp if you missed it! SB