Throwing Muses To Tour The UK


Written by Melz Durston
20 Tuesday 20th May 2014

They'll play two London dates - at the Islington, with dates also taking in Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow, Norwich, Brighton, Leeds and Holmfirth.

Good news for the die-hard fans in the UK who have fallen deeply in love with this band since their first UK shows on independent label 4AD.  And with support slots provided by Tanya Donelly, there'll be a lot of high-hopes that some Belly songs will be pulled out of the hat.  Especially after four consecutive live shows at New York's Bowery Ballroom and Boston's The Sinclair, back in March of this year.

Together they released self-titled debut EP on their own label, Blowing Fuses, to be followed shortly by a set of demos to be called the The Doghouse Cassette.  Not long after, they attracted the attention of Ivo Watts-Russell of British label 4AD - which brought their off-kilter hooks and clashing chords to the UK.

In 1986 they released their debut full-length studio album, followed by House Tornado in 1988, which featured several tracks written by Tanya Donelly (including River and Giant), and Hunkpapa a year later.  Hunkpapa took them down the road towards hit-single acclaim, when asked to record a catchy track for the masses.  This, the track Dizzy didn't sit well with the band, and it became clear that they could not - and would not - be pigeon-holed or boxed in to a certain mould.  Tanya's contribution to the studio album Hunkpapa included tracks Angel and Dragonhead.  Both songs, setting Tanya apart as inclined towards melodic structures and lyrics that aren't entirely what they seem.

In 1991, Throwing Muses released The Real Ramona which would be their last official record together, as sisters.  Shortly afterwards, Tanya helped to establish Kim Deal's band The Breeders, with contributing vocals and guitar on their debut album Pod.  Tanya did write material for future Breeders records, but left to form her own band Belly, with Tom and Chris Gorman and Fred Abong.  These songs, Tanya used to create the majority of her debut record with Belly - illustrated by British designer Chris Bigg (known for his distinctive work with 4AD and Vaughan Oliver, for V23 Designs) - and their debut Star was released in 1993, receiving massive praise, grammy nominations, and a contract with clothing brand GAP, for the single Feed the Tree taken from this album.

As a band, Throwing Muses have never wanted to fit some pre-ordained superstar-shell.  Instead, they've made the music that came from their lives - the only music they could ever make.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just reality, in its painful truth, and cracked reflection.  As listeners, you either got them or you didn't.  And if you got them - you really did.

Kristin Hersh continued writing and recording with Dave Narcizo on drums and Bernard Georges on bass, and put out several albums, including Red Heaven (1992), University (1995) and Limbo (1996).  Without Tanya's backing vocals, these songs were pure and channelled emotion from Kristin.  Tanya released a second album in 1995, with her band Belly - King and shortly after this release, the band diluted and eventually called it a day.  It wasn't until 1997 that Tanya re-emerged as a solo artist, putting out her debut record Lovesongs for Underdogs preceded by EP The Bright Light.  Still very much a Belly sounding record, but containing more of Tanya's affinity to write a more introspective, fragile melody - this hung heavy on listeners' heart-strings for quite some years, as she began a hiatus from her musical ventures, following this album.

In 2001, Tanya returned with her EP Sleepwalk - with influences from motherhood, and her own influences, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams.  A definite country-vibe, and filled with songs that suggested a sense of coming home, and contentment - yet still a desire to keep searching, to keep growing and evolving:  

I'm not finished yet, I'm under construction... (The Storm)

Shortly after, a full-length album followed:  Beautysleep - featuring husband Dean Fisher (formerly of Juliana Hatfield 3) and also the late Mark Sandman of Boston band Morphine, on backing vocals to the track Moonbeam Monkey.  Whilst Tanya was marking her own direction towards a spiritual place of songwriting, influenced by her personal life, meanwhile, Kristin was gearing up to release her first record with Throwing Muses since Limbo, seven years previous...

In 2003, the self-titled record brought Throwing Muses to the UK for a series of live dates.  This record defiant and edgy, raw and bleeding.  Tanya did contribute backing vocals on several tracks across this album.

Whilst Tanya went her own way and created her own band Belly, which then melted into her solo career to make way for her intuitive songwriting and magnetic personality as a performer; Kristin also recorded her own solo work, releasing records Hips and Makers, Strange Angels, Sky Motel and Sunny Border Blue (to name a few) whilst keeping Throwing Muses and her 'side-project' Fifty Foot Wave, on the back-burner (bubbling away and brewing).  

Throwing Muses released PurgatoryParadise earlier this year and Kristin will be touring Words and Music throughout Australia this June, before heading back to Washington DC and Atlanta in the USA to play two shows with the full band, and Tanya in support.

As solo artists, Kristin and Tanya might not create the same connection that they can only replicate as musicians together.  As people who have grown up together, grown apart, and returned to the place that first bought them together.  This is something that time and pain cannot break - and this autumn, Throwing Muses (as the original line-up) with Tanya in support (featuring songs taken from hopefully her entire output since Belly, and her five solo albums - including the most recent series of recordings, released on Bandcamp as EPs - known as the Swan Song Series), will be returning to the UK, to remind us that they never really went away.

Throwing Muses are currently gearing up for west-coast USA dates, before Kristin heads to Australia, and returns to the east-coast USA for two shows at the end of June.  The band will tour the UK after the summer and stop at the following venues:

17 September:  Glasgow, UK — Oran Mor

18 September:  Leeds, UK — Irish Centre

19 September:  Manchester, UK — Academy 2

20 September:  Holmfirth, UK — Picturedrome

21 September:  Norwich, UK — Waterfront

23 September:  Bristol, UK — Trinity

24 September:  Brighton, UK — Concorde 2

25 September:  London, UK — Islington Assembly Hall

26 September:  London, UK — Islington Assembly Hall

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 23rd May.

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