News updates for Throwing Muses

Throwing Muses at Collapse Board

I listened to nothing but the new Throwing Muses LP for one week in my car. Maybe you’ve heard it already – but even if you have, I’ve no doubt that you’re clamoring for my thoughts on it.

Hold up a minute. A crucial point first.

We load our senses with memories. One smell or sound can trigger some other thought that’s completely tangential. And music, which seeps into so many nooks and crannies of day-to-day living, mingles with a buncha people and places in our heads. You know how it is – a friend or sibling loves this one album to death and plays it over and over and over, until he tires of it and stops. Few years later, a stray song pops up on the radio, and you think of him. I use the male pronoun, because my brother adored Steely Dan when we were in high school and would play Katy Lied or The Royal Scam in the car any chance he could. (“Yeah, I’m doing this,” he’d say, and soon came “Chain Lightning” or “Kid Charlemagne”.)

This is crucial, you understand, because the memories we tie to a thing do color our judgment. Critics, of course, tend to eschew these tangents for the sake of that bastard prince Objectivity and its almighty father Authority. However, as we all know, I have no authority whatsoever – and so, rather than the usual track-by-track analysis and retrospective gazing for Purgatory / Paradise, I’ve decided to list the thoughts that have been floating around all week. The original plan was one for each track – but that’d equal 32 bullets, and the Twitter zombies don’t have time for that. We’ll see.

Click through for the rest!

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Throwing Muses at Louder Than War

The release of last year’s ninth Throwing Muses album, Purgatory/ Paradise after a ten hiatus proved that they’ve lost none of their bite. It was a visceral meandering return to form for the three piece that revels in its fractured nature and with a personal honesty synonymous with Kristen Hersh’s writing. Along for the ride on this UK tour is former muse and step-sister, Tanya Donelly. Sorely missed from the equation since her split from the band back in 1991, it seems the fans are frothing at the mouth at the thought of seeing her return, even as a guest.

It seems Tanya is one of those who never ages. With her trademark blonde bob and enormous smile, she exudes a fun, playful nature that is so evident in her work. Taking the stage with her band we are treated to a wondrous set in which she performs songs from her time with the Muses, her solo career and her other former band, Belly.

Opening with tracks from her Swan Song Series Vol 1, the lively folkiness of Mass Ave and the more subdued, Meteor Shower showcase her astounding vocal talents to great effect. Assisted by two guitarists (acoustic and electric) and a cellist, she performed the Belly tracks Low Red Moon and Dusted to remind us how good a song writer she is. She’s joined onstage by Bristol-based musician Laura Kidd  (She Makes War) for renditions of Slow Dog and Not Too Soon which are met with joyous rapture for a pairing that makes perfect sense.

What this sold out show proves is that the Muses audience is as eager and obsessed as they ever were. Much of the first part of the set consists of songs from the new album, and raucous beautiful noise they are too. From the drum heavy pounding of opener, Sunray Venus to the bass rumbling, Static, this is the most intense version of the band I’ve ever seen. Although the new songs aren’t as accessible and poppy as those from The Real Ramona or Red Heaven, the consummate song writing is as solid as ever. The emotional intensity of Hersh’s lyrics and delivery cuts to the core, making it impossible not to ‘feel’ them.

The highlight tonight is of course when Tanya returns to the stage for the second half of the set. Older songs like You Cage and Devil’s Roof remind us how well their voices work together. During Green, Tanya’s microphone seems to malfunction but about three quarters of the way through fires up again to a great cheer from the crowd.

The exceptional Say Goodbye closes the set before the encore of  Shark and Pearl leave us feeling cleansed, fully purged of all negative energy and spiritually lifted thanks to the cathartic Throwing Muses.

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Throwing Muses at das klienicum

im letzten jahr erschien ein neues album namens “purgatory/paradise”, beigelegt ein buch mit artwork, lyrics, essays. die allgemeine reflexion war sehr positiv. happy happy birthday to me hat sich jetzt entschlossen, das album neuerlich aufzulegen, diesmal in einer vinyl- bzw. kassettenedition. kristin hersh dominiert(e) die geschicke von throwing muses. aktuell wird sie unterstützt von dave narcizo und dem bassisten bernie georges. gemeinsam startete man 2010 in die arbeiten zum album, wiederveröffentlicht wird es nun exakt ein jahr nach dem release am 28. oktober.

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Throwing Muses at Austin Town Hall

Purgatory/Paradise saw a limited CD release last year, which earned Throwing Muses some incredible press.  But, with the CD medium not always reaching all the corners of the world,HHBTM Records has opted to release the full length via vinyl and cassette.  The song below is one of the main singles from the band, so why not revisit for a taste of what you’ll get when you, undoubtedly, pick up your own copy.  Kristin Hersh sounds as confident and strong as she ever has, and that goes for the whole album, not just this track.  You’ll definitely want to take a listen if you haven’t already.

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Throwing Muses at SoundsXP

You hear it a lot. Mention Throwing Muses and someone will marvel that they once toured supported by the Pixies (decisions on whether to use a definite article are going to be a nightmare here…). As if such a thing were unthinkable. Rubbish.

Now, being over 40 and possessed of ears, I love the Pixies of course. Their highs might even be a teensy bit higher, but the Muses were always their equals. And there’s no question who you’d rather go see in 2014. Especially in the lovely Holmfirth Picturedrome with Tanya Donelly in support and joining back in for a few songs.

Tanya’s songs were always, by her own admission, a bit more straightforward. There’s nothing wrong with that when you’re any good though. And tonight, with a percussion free backing she gives full rein to fabulous voice and proves that she is (like there was any doubt). Chucking in a couple of her own Throwing Muses songs at the end doesn’t do any harm either.

Throwing Muses were always just too odd and spiky to be properly popular. They’re not quirky like college rock – there’s a thankful lack of irony and while there’s tunes, there’s no ditties. They don’t embrace the showbiz side of performing either, unlike many subsequent US ‘alternative’ acts. ‘Punk’ might not be the right word, but it’s just the songs – nothing else matters. They’re not studiously odd either, unlike contemporaries on this side of the Atlantic. They don’t batter with noise. You don’t get the sense that there’s any conscious experimentation in the songs. Just an effort to get them to sound like they should. So to see Tanya and Bernard Georges playing an entire song with one hand twisting the tuning pegs isn’t pushing boundaries. It’s just what you have to do to play Throwing Muses. Add to it Kristin Hersh’s tendency to mix real snarl and bite into the loveliness and melancholy and you’ve got a proper, proper band that’s a going concern – not a nostalgia-fest (despite the slightly greying audience). There is comfort in the songs, but it’s of a hard won sort. The sort to inspire devotion. And tonight they didn’t just renew that devotion, they reminded you how few others are worthy of it.

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Throwing Muses and Lunchbox at skatterbrain!

Throwing Muses and Lunchbox featured on this month’s skatterbrain! mix.

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Throwing Muses and Lunchbox on skatterbrain!

Part of this month’s playlist!

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Throwing Muses at Innocent Words

Here’s some praise from the arbiters of culture:

‘Hersh transmits a visionary quality to her songs.’ —Mojo, 4 stars

‘Purgatory/Paradise is unlike anything I’ve heard all year.’ —Pitchfork, 8.0

Every part of Purgatory/Paradise has meaning for the band and its listeners, making it a satisfying artifact in a time when music is becoming increasingly disposable. May they ever go against the grain. —AllMusic, 4 stars

UK TOUR DATES

September
17th – Glasgow @ Oran Mor
18th – Leeds @ Irish Centre
19th – Manchester @ Manchester Academy
20th – Holmfirth @ Picturedome
21st – Norwich @ Waterfront
23rd – Bristol @ Trinity Centre *
24th – Brighton @ Concorde 2 *
25th – London @ Islington Assembly Hall *
26th – London @ Islington Assembly Hall *
* w/ Tanya Donelly

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Throwing Muses at The Digital Fix

Throwing Muses have announced vinyl and cassette releases for last year’s Purgatory/Paradise via HHBTM/Throwing Music (28th October). 

They play: 

September 
17th – Glasgow @ Oran Mor 
18th – Leeds @ Irish Centre 
19th – Manchester @ Manchester Academy 
20th – Holmfirth @ Picturedome 
21st – Norwich @ Waterfront 
23rd – Bristol @ Trinity Centre * 
24th – Brighton @ Concorde 2 * 
25th – London @ Islington Assembly Hall * 
26th – London @ Islington Assembly Hall * 
* w/ Tanya Donelly 

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Throwing Muses at WithGuitars

HHBTM is honored to be handling the vinyl/cassette release and distribution for Throwing Muses Purgatory/Paradise. Released last November on CD with an accompanying book of lyrics/essay/artwork ,Purgatory/Paradise won the band some of the best reviews of their illustrious career. Coming on the heels ofKristin Hersh’s Rat Girl, a stunning piece of literature, P/P heralds a creative renaissance from one of the most unique artists in the history of rock.

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