On a windy Thursday morning in Northampton, Mass., Kim Gordon is holding court in her basement, giving a tour of its cavernous environs. There’s the usual storage miscellany — boxes, discarded decorations and dusty, decades-old puzzles, including a 150-piece jigsaw of Starsky and Hutch resting askew on an even dustier bookshelf. But this is Gordon, she of Sonic Youth fame, and the brimming cornucopia of plain-old stuff here is both treasure trove and time capsule. For starters, this is where Gordon and Thurston Moore, her bandmate and husband, rehearse. “We wrote most of the last record [2009’s ‘The Eternal’] here,” she says, gesturing toward the drum set, guitars and music stands littered throughout. The back half of the space is bursting with records, cassette tapes and CDs in endless bookshelves and rows — that’s Moore’s personal collection.
The rest of the odds and ends scattered around are more indicative of Gordon’s life off the stage. Here, on the wall, is a traditional Chinese painting of birds among flora. Gordon reveals that when she was 12, she spent a year living in Hong Kong, thus the random Chinese tchotchkes. There, on a shelf, are two sculpted clay busts (art projects from Gordon’s childhood) and, over in a corner, is an impressive glass painting from high school of a seated figure with her arms tucked close to her chest, hands to chin. “I liked the fluidity of painting on glass,” she remarks. “That’s one thing that got me back to the watercolors.”
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