Big Ears 2014: Body/Head

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Most of you reading this only have to know one thing to decide if Body/Head is worth your time when planning out your Big Ears schedule, and that one thing is that Kim Gordon is in it.

Yes, that Kim Gordon, the one none of us will ever be as cool as (or look as incredibly hot as at her age). And if you’re a fan of that Kim Gordon, you’re probably going to see Body/Head without giving a flip what they might sound like.

However, it is our duty to inform you that Body/Head only kind of sounds like Sonic Youth, and even then probably not the Sonic Youth a good portion of you ever listened to.

Sonic Youth, which broke up in 2011 when Gordon and Thurston Moore divorced, explored experimental noise from its very beginnings. If you only started listening with Daydream Nation, you got some of the experimental stuff and a little noise, but mostly some really great rock songs. Later, the band started releasing the experimental stuff on the side, in a series of collaborative EPs and avant-garde recordings.

Body/Head, which is Gordon and guitarist Bill Nace, has influences from both Confusion Is Sex-era Sonic Youth and those SYR recordings from 1997 to 2011, but it’s also its own thing. The band’s first album, Coming Apart, was released by Matador last fall. On it, Gordon uses her breathy voice as an instrument more than she did in the last few Sonic Youth albums, and it balances out the guitars and feedback nicely.

You can hear her anger at being a woman scorned (Moore left her for a younger woman), but the production also sounds pretty therapeutic. Surely Coming Apart isn’t the first experimental art-noise break-up album, but I can’t think of another one.

Body/Head is the type of group that people are talking about when they say, “I just don’t know about Big Ears. It’s not even music, it’s just noise.”

Very few of those people have probably bought tickets to the festival anyway, but if you’re only attending because you know that guy from Radiohead and that other guy who used to be in Galaxie 500 are playing, you should definitely go see what that woman who used to be in Sonic Youth is doing now. It’s not pretty and it’s not easy to listen to and you totally might hate it. But you might love it. That’s what Big Ears is all about.

Body/Head performs at the Bijou Theatre on Friday, March 28, at 9:30 p.m.

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