Kim Gordon, the badass voice behind Sonic Youth and most recently Body/Head, dropped a new solo single yesterday called “Murdered Out.” Always at the forefront of no wave and experimental rock, Gordon is a force of nature in this new song, fascinated by the "black matte spray" of L.A. low-rider car culture.
Gordon, in collaboration with pop producer Justin Raisen, had a lot of freedom with this song. As she explained to Rolling Stone, when she was shown the original music, Gordon decided that it was “aesthetically more goth than I’m comfortable with” and made up her own lyrics instead, complemented by her signature scratching guitar and gasping vocals.
This act of 'blacking out' is an act of rejection for Gordon — "murdered out of my heart / black matte spray” — murdering all of corporate logos and identifiers of the mainstream, honoring the power of the subculture from car lovers to post-punk.
This single, as Gordon admits, is more approachable than some of her past projects. Don’t get me wrong, I love noise as much as the next gal but it’s not the kind of music you can always dance to. But this song moves with these slithering industrial drum loops courtesy of Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint (a kickass girl band you need to add to your list if you haven’t already). Gordon’s voice dangerously creeps along over the thrashing synth melody, too scraping to be considered pop but just enough for you to sing along.
Gordon’s move to Los Angeles was a big influencer for this track. An East Coast veteran, Kim found new subcultures and artistic communities with their own DIY practices. This act of taking things into your own hands was shaped how she makes art. When she spoke to NPR: "In L.A., it's quite different. In New York, you feel like you're doing stuff even if you're not, there's so much activity around you. Here, you really do have to generate it, or not. I like the idea of things becoming more eccentric here because it's not like a fishbowl like New York. There's more space for people to get lost and create more on their own.”
When the single was uploaded to Youtube, the Girl In A Band author discussed more of the concepts behind the song:
"Black matte spray.
When I moved back to LA, I noticed more and more cars painted with black matte spray, tinted windows, blackened logos, and black wheels. This was something I had occasionally seen in the past, part of lowrider car culture. A reclaiming of a corporate symbol of American success, The Car, from an outsider’s point of view. A statement-making rejection of the shiny brand new look, the idea of a new start, the promise of power, and the freedom on the open road. Like an option on a voting ballot, "none of the above.”
“Murdered Out," as a look, is now creeping into mainstream culture as a design trend. A coffee brand. A clothing line. A nailpolish color.
Black-on-black matte is the ultimate expression in digging out, getting rid of, purging the soul. Like a black hole, the supreme inward look, a culture collapsing in on itself, the outsider as an unwilling participant as the “It" look.
I met the uber talented Justin Raisen, the producer, offhandedly. He was working on a project with another artist and kept sending me tracks to listen to with the possibility of getting me to sing on one of them. When I learned I could make up my own lyrics, I was in. With the remaining bits of unused vocals, he started what would be "Murdered Out." Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) plays drums, based on the trashy drums that Justin first laid down. I went back and did more vocals and guitar and we mixed it..."Murdered Out" was such a great surprise! Looking forward to our next collaboration."
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