Yesterday, I mentioned that two of the iconic women of punk/alternative rock are back, with new bands and strong new albums that follow serious life crises. But while Kathleen Hanna’s record with the Julie Ruin is a joyous, life-affirming affair, Kim Gordon embraces the angst. Her new band, Body/Head, consists of just her on guitar and vocals plus another guitarist, Bill Nace. Like Hanna, she’s gone back to her roots, which in Gordon’s case is the experimental music that Sonic Youth was making early in their career — around the time of the EVOL period.

The record she’s made, Coming Apart, seems to deal, in part, with her split from her musical and personal partner of over thirty years, Thurston Moore. It’s so intense and harrowing that it’s not an easy record to listen to. But it’s also the most powerful record she’s made in years — an audio exorcism.

Earlier this year, the New Yorker published an interesting profile of Gordon (it’s not online, unfortunately). In it, she said something to the effect that, during her long relationship with Moore, she lost parts of herself. Judging on the basis of Coming Apart, she seems to have found them. She is never less than fully present.

Here’s one of the songs from the album, “Abstract.”

YouTube video

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Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee