A busy year for Kristin Hersh
July 14, 2010 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Kristin Hersh is well-known to many as a founder of legendary 80s indy/alt band Throwing Muses, as well as for her own successful solo albums and alt-punk 3-piece band 50 Foot Wave, is having a good 2010. A new solo album, Crooked, is due out later this year -- a follow-up to the collection Speedbath, which was released on the web under a Creative Commons license, and demos for a forthcoming new Throwing Muses collection have been appearing on the band's CASH page (previously); Crooked has also appeared in the UK in book format through HarperCollins' Friday Project imprint. A nice additional tidbit for fans is the just-released live collection, Cats and Mice. As if all that wasn't enough, stories that Kristin came up with for her sons while they accompanied her on tour over the years inspired a children's book, Toby Snax, published in 2007, and Hersh will be publishing a memoir, Rat Girl (Paradoxical Undressing, in the UK edition) detailing her early days with Throwing Muses -- a time in which she struggled with mental illness and figured out what it meant to front a touring rock band while pregnant (excerpts of Rat Girl arrived in periodic email installments to Hersh's subscription supporters, whose support has enabled much of Hersh's current productivity). Hersh has been taking advantage of various social media as well: you can follow her doing in the Throwingmusic fan forums, Facebook, or via her often-curious Twitter feed.
posted by aught (30 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Did anybody else just get a stupid grin when they saw Kristen Hersh and Throwing Muses on the front page? Just me...okay.

Didn't know about this at all. Thanks for the flashback.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:44 PM on July 14, 2010 [10 favorites]

Thanks, aught, one of my favorite artists.
posted by xod at 12:44 PM on July 14, 2010

Did anybody else just get a stupid grin

Yep, me. This is good stuff.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:47 PM on July 14, 2010

Did anybody else just get a stupid grin when they saw Kristen Hersh and Throwing Muses on the front page?

No, because I thought it meant she was dead.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:48 PM on July 14, 2010

I love all her solo stuff. I managed to get her strings CD and her murder ballads CD. I've seen her live a few times. Good music, good stuff.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:50 PM on July 14, 2010

Would favourite a thousand times if I could. She's a major artist and deserves every bit of recognition she already has and much more besides.
posted by jokeefe at 12:51 PM on July 14, 2010

Did anybody else just get a stupid grin when they saw Kristen Hersh and Throwing Muses on the front page?

I did. After scanning the rest of the paragraph to make sure everything was okay.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:51 PM on July 14, 2010

Good post--Muses were fucking fantastic, and I enjoyed the 50 Foot Wave release from a few years back. Will revisit now!
posted by everichon at 12:52 PM on July 14, 2010

(Though on the other hand, seeing Kristin Hersh's name always makes me feel guilty about spending my teens paying attention to Tanya Donelly instead.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:53 PM on July 14, 2010

Hips and Makers is one of those albums of which I have bought upwards of six or seven copies to give to people and is also in the "listened to compulsively, twice a day, for six months" category.

What will we do with this LP,
what will we do with this LP O?
Throw it up on the Intartubes,
The fans will tweet and the album will rock
That's what we do with the LP
That's what we do with the LP O!

posted by adipocere at 12:55 PM on July 14, 2010

This is tremendous, thank you.

Oh, and a warning/ recommendation: I'd kill you to find a copy of The Thirteen Year Itch. Hersh's track on it is fantastic.
posted by boo_radley at 1:02 PM on July 14, 2010

No, because I thought it meant she was dead.

Me, too! That either says something about us, or something the evolution of obit posts.
posted by amarynth at 1:03 PM on July 14, 2010

She has a hook in her head.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 1:04 PM on July 14, 2010

Hersh is someone whose music I always meant to dig into more. Thanks for doing all the work for me!
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:10 PM on July 14, 2010

Oh, I don't know, navelgazer. Tanya Donelly is no slouch, herself.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:10 PM on July 14, 2010

Oh I'm well aware, it's just that I ignored Hersh for the most part in my formative years when there was obviously such great stuff RIGHT THERE in my immediate periphery. I really hero-worshiped Donelly for so long that Hersh being a blindspot was inexcusable.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:19 PM on July 14, 2010

Great stuff. I haven't thought about her in years and now I'm all excited to check out her more recent output.

Also when I saw the post title, it took about 0.1 second for "Counting Backwards" to pop into my head from 10+ year dormancy and remain stuck there.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:41 PM on July 14, 2010

I saw her in Wellington (NZ) in 2008 and she was magic. thanks for the post!
posted by New England Cultist at 1:45 PM on July 14, 2010

Okay, so there's a whole fat lot of awesomeness all over this post, and it's going to take a while for me to parse it, but I just wanted to say: that CASH music page is awesome. There is some seriously cool stuff going on there, and I'm looking forward to checking it out.
posted by koeselitz at 1:48 PM on July 14, 2010

I have never, and I mean never, taught children to count backwards from ones, fives or tens without "Counting Backwards" somewhere in the back of my mind.
posted by emhutchinson at 1:53 PM on July 14, 2010

emhutchinson: [Counting Backwards video]

Oh, man. They (and I) were so young back then -- sigh! (Time to go home and nurse the ankle I cricked just mowing the lawn.)
posted by aught at 2:08 PM on July 14, 2010

I bought House Tornado on cassette in 1988 when I was a high school junior. Played it for the girl I was crushing on, who was a big Prince and Michael Jackson fan.

It didn't go over too well.

Bought Hips and Makers in 1994 and played it for the girl I was crushing on, who was a big REM fan.

"Your Ghost" became our song.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 2:15 PM on July 14, 2010

I love her. Great post.

I had no idea she had been doing so much lately. I haven't heard anything she's done since Learn To Sing Like a Star (totally underrated album, by the way).
posted by Dismantled King at 2:16 PM on July 14, 2010

One morning I walked into the Tower Records near Lincoln Center in New York City and was surprised to see a clerk unpacking a box filled with copies of Throwing Muses' House Tornado - the follow-up to their insanely great self-titled debut on 4AD. I'd had no idea it was coming and I bought it on the spot.

Since that was release day, and I was shopping at 10:00 AM on the East Coast, in a particularly large record store, I figure I might have been one of the first few dozen people in the world to buy that disc at retail.

Always been proud of that.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:34 PM on July 14, 2010

We saw her at Noe Valley Ministry a few years ago. It's a church. There were a number of women there who were Dressed Like Kristin - they had done her hair like hers, and were kitted in black, etc.

So Hersh comes out on stage, just her and her acoustic guitar. Her hair was sort of brown-blonde. She was wearing a sweater twinset. She looked like she'd just arrived from Walnut Creek - so suburban it almost hurt. The waves of WTF?! from some in the audience were almost visible.

Then she sat down and started to play and opened her mouth and these amazing SOUNDS came out, just like always, and everyone relaxed.

It was a great show. And this is a great post. Thanks!
posted by rtha at 2:46 PM on July 14, 2010

Throwing Muses' first self-titled album was the very first album I ever bought on CD, back in 1987. It was an import, and kind of expensive--I had to travel to The Big City just to find it. I brought it home and immediately made a cassette recording so I could listen to it on my Walkman. It was full of banshee warbles, jarring tempo changes, disturbing lyrics about dead children and craziness, and the music had a weird country undercurrent. At the time, it was some of the strangest music I'd listened to, and was possibly the most exhilarating musical experience of my young life. My whole life, even, maybe.

So, yeah, I'm going to check this stuff out. Thanks for the post.
posted by Bummus at 2:49 PM on July 14, 2010

Oh yeah, she definitely looks like someone's mom, which, as someone's mom, I think is just exactly how rock stars should look.

Following her on Twitter is a disjointed delight--she doesn't use the @response and she doesn't re-tweet, so there are often answers to unknown questions in her feed, plus she has some recurring motifs that I always look forward to ("Said This Today:" is probably my favorite).

She's really ferociously and unrepentantly snobby about music. On the one hand this kind of works my nerves, it seems like something one should eventually outgrow (I mostly have).

But on the other hand I really admire her conviction that people should strive to do quality work and demand quality work from others, even though I don't believe you can quantify the quality of art as fiercely as she believes you can.
posted by padraigin at 2:56 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah this chick is the business. I haven't really been keeping up to date with her work though so it's good to know she's still at it and hasn't gone all Liz Phair on us by singing blarbling about sperm and modems.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:31 PM on July 14, 2010

Thanks for this.

Also Kristin with an eye.
posted by blink_left at 11:59 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

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