I’m still shocked that Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore have separated after 30 years together and 24 years of marriage.
As a band, Sonic Youth is undeniably emblematic of the couple’s creative and personal partnership; news of the split cannot help but leave the band at a major crossroads. A Matador press release puts the band’s future at “uncertain,” and leaves it at that.
Sonic Youth sprang out of NYC’s fertile and fractured No Wave scene of the early 1980s. Some of the bands — von LMO, Swans — were heavy and masculine, often violent and over-the-top. Sonic Youth, despite their emphasis on guitar abstraction, brought an intriguing balance of masculine and feminine energy.
Going all the way back to the beginning, you can hear that energy in one of their very first shows, from 1981’s Noise Fest at White Columns. Vocal duties here are shared by Thurston, Kim and artist friend Ann deMarinis, who left to pursue performance art.
Video stills are from Charles Atlas’ rare and wonderful oral history of the mid80’s NYC scene, Put Blood Into the Music. (Here’s hoping this gets proper release some day.)
(Wow, is that a CHROME t-shirt?!)
STILL FROM CHARLES ATLAS’ “PUT BLOOD INTO THE MUSIC”