Alternative Acoustic Punk Rock Masterpiece
Today saw the launch of a brand-spanking new release from Kristin Hersh, the legendary singer from Throwing Muses and 50FOOTWAVE, the third release in a series of book-albums. What is that you ask? Read on to find out:
As one of the most legendary singers in alternative rock, also knows for her book “Rat Girl”, ranked among The 25 Greatest Rock Memoirs of All Time, Kristin Hersh has released a solo album, which is no less than a double album, containing 2 CD’s and a book of prose and artwork.
It’s a spaced-out mix of beautiful slow songs, almost with a Bluegrass fell to them, to flat out punk rock songs (placed in the unfamiliar environment of distortionless guitars and soft-stick drums). Track 2 on CD1 for instance – “Bubble Net” – this one has banjos, and could’ve been in the Forrest Gump soundtrack. Its slow and ever-repeating style is dream-inducing and light as air. “In Stitches” – track 3 on the same disc, is a quiet case of a melancholic and beautiful rock “…….Don’t know where it go(es)……to disappear.” Eery… Kristin’s voice sounds almost tormented, and the lyrics are almost more poetry than a story, but it works, and it’s hypnotizing.
“Secret Codes”, “Green Screen”, “Killing Two Birds” and “Guadalupe” among many others on disc 1, brings up thoughts about Hole – Courtney Love’s punk establishment. Hersh’s raw voice really comes into its own here, and you sit and wait for the distorted guitars and fast drums to kick in, which they don’t. But this isn’t an electric album, it’s an acoustic adventure into the likes of Pixies and 50FOOTWAVE, and the missing thrash-instrumentals of traditional punk rock is okay and completely forgiven on an album like this.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”Jakob Muxoll, music photographer and writer Flick Of The Finger Magazine” link=”http://jakobmuxoll.com”]
An otherworldly journey in the dusty rooms of Hersh’s poetry, a quirky high in boring world, and a masterpiece on its own
“Sun Blown” on CD 2 is one of the more raunchy tracks. Like the other songs in this album it has the same repetitive structure, which for some strange reason works really well with Hersh’s songwriting. With heavier drums than the rest, the build-up in the song reminds me of that movie they made of the original Woodstock festival. “No where to go…!”, she almost screams. “Some Gone Slapstick” is another Hole-like song. With quirky riffs and breaks with weird sound samples, there are pauses that last just long enough to keep a balance of thinking the song is over, to keeping you on your toes. “Cooties” has a really beautiful guitar sound, and the intro is almost 3D-like, with the verses being played in unison with the vocals, creating a very spacious sound.
“Wyatt at the Coyote Palace” is the third release in the ground-breaking book-CD format that Hersh began with her previous solo album “Crooked” and Throwing Muses’ 2013 release “Purgatory/Paradise”. Since sharing essays and tour diaries on her own website, she has published the critically acclaimed “Paradoxical Undressing” in the UK (released as “Rat Girl”in the USA), a children’s book “Toby Snax,” and “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die,” a personal account of her long friendship with the late Vic Chesnutt, which earned her rave reviews.
“Wyatt” is a collection of true stories and songs of love and loss, combining Hersh’s humor with the pains and travails of a life spent constantly in motion. Defined by potent guitars, addictive melodies and poignant lyrics, this release is a serious sign of strength and depth, bringing the listener into what the BBC calls Hersh’s “dark and dizzy world.”
“The stories are all true. They happened over the last few decades. The songs were written in the last five years. They’re true, too, in a much more oblique way,” explains Kristin Hersh. “But it’s always felt to me that songs were pushing my life around so they could be born: I live the stories and then the song lives. Very much like children. A baby isn’t born because you got pregnant, you got pregnant because a baby was going to be born.”
Recorded in at her favorite studio in Portsmouth, RI with engineer Steve Rizzo at the helm, Hersh performs and creates all instruments and sounds on this 24-track opus, including guitar, bass, drums, piano, horns, cello and even field recordings. While the songs were written during a turbulent period in her life, the prose was inspired by her son Wyatt, who is on the autism spectrum, and his fascination with an abandoned apartment building inhabited by coyotes. Wyatt often visited and even filmed the coyotes during the recording of the music, yet suddenly his intense fascination came to an end.
Hersh comments, “I had so loved his love of the place. Throwing Muses’ drummer, Dave – my best friend since third grade – decided that Wyatt needed to encapsulate his sense memories of the coyote palace, make the experience finite, like bottling a memory. Dave thinks we’ll see it again, and Wyatt’s love of the place will come back, when the images have been filtered through Wyatt’s intense and fascinating psychology.”
At the age of 14, Kristin Hersh founded the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses in Providence, beginning a tradition of confounding expectations and breaking rules – both hers and others. From life as the reluctant front person for the Muses to the solo career she launched in 1994, which she swore would never happen, to founding an ambitious altruistic nonprofit and her recent foray into a surprisingly successful new career as an author, Hersh continues to push herself to the boundaries of her artistry and imagination. She also currently fronts the power trio 50FOOTWAVE, having released six mini-albums since being founded in 2004.
The term “Alternative” has had a lot of meanings to different music fans since the late 80’s/early 90’s. “Wyatt At The Coyote Palace” really takes the lead in this genre.
An otherworldly journey in the dusty rooms of Hersh’s poetry, a quirky high in boring world, and a masterpiece on its own. A must-own for those who are into Pixies, Sleater-Kinney, St. Vincent, Alanis Morissette, even Hole and into the grunge-genre.
Kristin Hersh will be touring in UK/Ireland and USA, directly supporting the release – personally I’d love a show in Denmark, but that’s apparently not planned:
UK / IRELAND TOUR DATES:
Nov. 1 – Dundalk, Spirit Store
Nov. 2 – Dublin, Pavilion Theatre
Nov. 3 – Cork, Triskel Christchurch
Nov. 4 – Galway, Roisin Dubh
Nov. 5 – Limerick, Dolan’s Warehouse
Nov. 7 – Portsmouth, Wedgwood Rooms
Nov. 8 – Bristol, Lantern Theatre
Nov. 9 – Exeter, Phoenix
Nov. 10 – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
Nov. 11 – Aldershot, West End Centre
Nov. 12 – Louder Than Words Festival, Manchester
Nov. 13 – Manchester, Gorilla
Nov. 14 – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
Nov. 15 – Birmingham, Glee Club
Nov. 16 – York, Crescent
Nov. 17 – Edinburgh, Summerhall
Nov. 18 – Glasgow, The Mackintosh Church
Nov. 19 – Liverpool, Philharmonic Music Hall
Nov. 20 – Hebden Bridge, Trades Club
Nov. 21 – Norwich, Arts Centre
Nov. 22 – Brighton, Komedia
Nov. 23 – London, St John in Bethnal Green
Nov. 24 – London, St John in Bethnal Green
Nov. 25 – Folkestone, Literary Festival
USA TOUR DATES:
Nov 29 – The Triple Door – Seattle, WA
Nov 30 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
Dec 3 – Swedish American Hall – San Francisco, CA
Dec 4 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
Dec 5 – Brick 15 – Del Mar, CA
Dec 8 – Swallow Hill Music – Denver, CO
Dec 9 – Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
Dec 10 – Space – Evanston, IL
Dec 11 – Music Box Supper Club – Cleveland, OH
Dec 13 – Club Café – Pittsburgh, PA
Dec 14 – Jammin Java – Vienna, VA
Dec 15 – Tin Angel – Philadelphia, PA
Dec 17 – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY
Dec 18 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA