1 THE COATHANGERS (Pappy & Harriet’s, Pioneertown, CA, May 1) The Coathangers are an all-girl band from Atlanta, sort of punk, sort of No Wave, surprisingly original. We didn’t know what hit us! Cool desert air on the outside, hot and sweltering on the insidethe band killed it like I haven’t seen in a long time.
2 THELMA AND THE SLEAZE The opening act for the Coathangers, this fierce female group had the best outfits: pantyhose! Pure and simple, nude undress without the bare skin. They reminded us just how scary stockings can be when worn alone.
3 “ALL I DO IS SMOKE TREES, ALL I DO IS SMOKE TREES, ALL I DO IS SMOKE TREES . . . ” The lyrics to DJ Manny’s brilliant 2011 trackcomprising the title phrase repeated ad infinitumappeared on the mix CD that DJ Jake Meginsky gave me this past summer. Was it inspired by Minimalist composers like Terry Riley and Steve Reich? I doubt it.
4 ROYAL TRUX REUNION (Berserktown II, Los Angeles, August 16) I wasn’t sure what to expect, which is exactly how one should feel before an RTX gig. The beginning was a little shaky until Jennifer found her bend and swoop and Neil drove it with the guitar. Drummer Tim Barnes is backthank Godalthough my favorite incarnation of RTX is with no drummer, finding their way into and out of a song, no defined beginning, middle, or end.
5 VANITY FAIR BOUGHT PITCHFORK? Baby boomers buying millennials like wolf spiders devouring their young. Makes senseliving in their parents’ homes, they’re bound to pick up a copy of VF. Can I suggest that the merger always have at least two people review each record? One from VF, one from Pitchfork.
6 CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL (Riverhead Books) A brilliant, inside view of the Olympia Riot Grrrl scene from someone on the outside who finds herself as she makes her way in. I love a book where the title almost acts as a punch line.
7 RODNEY GRAHAM (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, September 26 and 27) Country western meets Conceptual art.
8 BRET EASTON ELLIS PODCAST (May 12) “And the utopia of millennial sisterhood embodied by Empress Taylor Swift and her army of BFFs was almost, within the first ten minutes of the broadcast, decimated by some unscripted shit that Nicki Minaj threw at host Miley Cyrus about an interview Miley did in the New York Times about an almost-feud Minaj had with Taylor Swift after the VMA nominations were announced about black sisters versus white sistersskinny white sisters get nominated for Video of the Year whereas curvy-ass black sisters usually do notthat suggested all things were not as happy and inclusive in MTV Land as sponsors and snowflake viewers might wish. . . . ” I didn’t realize how much I missed pop culture till I heard Bret’s wonderful run-on-sentence-going-on-paragraph.
9 HERON OBLIVION, OPENING FOR KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS (Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, October 14, 2015) A five-minute sound check, but the best sounds of the night. The rudimentary PA system kept their Pentangle-meets-Bardo-Pond (but with more precision) sound swirling nicely, creating a humming musicality without the sharp edges ever bringing it down to earth.
10 GODS WISDOM This white kid rapping and rolling around naked under a big fluffy comforter in the music video for “Christian Dior” is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. I think it’s the future, beyond white versus black pop girl squads! I will always think of the male gaze. Thank you, Julia Kristeva.
A founding member of Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon is a musician, artist, and writer who currently performs with Bill Nace in the duo Body/Head. Her memoir Girl in a Band was released this past February by Dey Street Books.