Kim Gordon, vocalist, bassist and founding member of the critically acclaimed band Sonic Youth is the coolest woman alive. Possibly to ever exist. And she proves this in her new memoir Girl in a Band. Okay, I suppose this may just be my opinion but it would be impossible to exaggerate the enormous impact she has had on the modern music scene and the Riot Grrl movement.

 

Gordon has always been known for her aloofness and reservation when it came to publicity and the spotlight of fame. I was honestly very surprised when I first heard she was penning a memoir so I wasn’t sure what to expect before reading. While I wouldn’t consider this a “tell-all” memoir by any means, her honesty and openness throughout the book was gripping and inspiring on many levels.

 

With bravery and class, she writes of her childhood in Southern California, growing up and dealing with her brother’s diagnosis with paranoid schizophrenia, to New York’s art and music scene in the eighties and nineties and the formation of a groundbreaking band that made it possible for bands like Nirvana to prevail.  The most gut-wrenching aspect of the memoir is Gordon’s candid narrative of her divorce after a 27 year marriage to bandmate Thurston Moore. But the overall story is bittersweet as she emerges from the breakup stronger than ever.

 

Girl in a Band is a must-read for all Sonic Youth fans as well as any fans of 90s Alternative music. However, people not familiar with Gordon’s band or peers will be taken in by her emotional stories and fascinating account of a life lived outside the box.

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