Kristin Hersh

by Oliver Rose

If you’ve never listened to Throwing Muses, I’d urge you to now. Formed by step-sisters Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donnelly in the early 1980s, their music is characterised by darkly crooked guitars and melancholic, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. It’s a state-of-being exacerbated by their prestige as the first American band ever to join the 4AD roster, but the Muses represent a sort of indie antichrist; antitheses to the buoyancy of C86; hung-over angels performing a post-punk walk of shame.

The band’s creative output has been guided almost exclusively by Hersh since their inception. Since 1986, Throwing Muses have released thirteen albums, taken lengthy hiatuses, changed members and spawned solo careers – it’s a strangely acrimonious set-up though; we always end up with Hersh and Donnelly in the studio together again, thrashing out their awkwardly bent take on popular music.

As a solo artist, Hersh pioneered a new CD/book album release format, which has since become popular in the mainstream (Radiohead and Bruce Springsteen are just a few of the big names who’ve given it their own spin). Combining her love of visual arts, poetry and, of course music, Hersh released her fourth of these albums, Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, on October 4. It’s a magical listen.

Her upcoming solo performance at Exeter’s Phoenix on Wednesday 9th November promises to be a real treat. A seated, ‘evening with’ billing, it’s an intimate show, a rarity in itself – more so given the UK venue. Expect jilted jangle-pop, wonky folk and the gorgeous, gorgeous warble of a really rather wonderful woman. This is definitely not one to miss.