Anyway, I bought House Tornado in the HMV sale, because I'd enjoyed it lots at 17, and I wasnt expecting to enjoy it again, and I do. So - classic, or dud?
― Tom, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
Best track: "Fish" off the LONELY IS AN EYESORE 4AD compilation (the
title of the album is a lyrical swipe from said tune as well).
― alex in nyc, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
As far as Hersh herself is considered, I haven't really liked much
after Hips and Makers. She remains a unique lyricist, but the music
seems so tame and normal in comparison. I'd hate to suggest -- a la
Erica Jong -- that the decline is a result of positive lifestyle
developments. You have to admit she isn't as fiery or great as she
As far as Hersh the mother is considered, I'm normally irritated by
couples who opt to overpopulate the planet with a big litter of
offspring. Hersh is an exception to this -- the more of her genes
floating around the better.
Had she kicked it by the end of the '80s, I agree she'd be quite the
cult. Probably just above the level of Mary Margaret O'Hara (who is
still alive, actually).
"Mexican Women" off House Tornado still spooks me. The line about
running over the hill to tear off skin and eat it up comes to mind.
― Andy, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
I used to whole-heartedly adore _Hips & Makers_, but soon found it to
be a bit too samey. The same with _Strange Angels_ - both albums
have amazing songs, though. It just seems that there's always that
song (or two of those songs) that sabotage the pacing. _Sky Motel_
sounds like a return to her Throwing Muses days, but is a bit
lackluster (again, with some gems in the rough). Those In The Know
say that _Sunny Border Blue_ is her best yet. But they always say
― David Raposa, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
I still like the first album just fine, though they drifted on
material between that album and Ramona. For the later material, I
like Limbo okay, but I much prefer University, which is chilling and
slinky at the same time. (I'm convinced that after the disastrously
ugly Red Heaven, Hersh took some time to learn restraint again, with
the great Hips and Makes album, and then took those lessons back to
the band format for University.) So. Classic.
― Sean Carruthers, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
'Ramona' also marked the last Muses lp with Tanya Donelly...
― Jason, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― mark s, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
Don't agree about Red Heaven - side one, possibly best TM ever. Will
Another classic - "University" - contains best TM track "Bright
yellow gun". That drumming!
Duds - Hunkpapa, Fat Skier, most of debut, side 2 of House Tornado.
― Dr. C, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― Guy Flower, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
Anyhow, absolute classic. Probably my favourite band ever. House
Tornado and The Real Ramona are the peaks but I also love the first
album, Fat Skier and Chains Changed unreservedly. I reckon they had a
bit of a slump after Tanya left, as one of their main attractions for
me was the interplay between the two guitars and voices, but
University is still a fine album. Hunkpapa is the only serious
misstep, with all its filler and mistaken attempts at going pop. Hips
and Makers is also great but the last couple of Hersh solo albums
have been a bit weak.
― Richard Tunnicliffe, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
It's not as *finished* as The Real Ramona or University, but probably
the one I'd say best defines what TM are *about*. It's a type of
album I like - sort of like a Scooby album, but not quite. Can't
think of a neat way to describe it, but these albums are usually seen
as a move in a different direction, often a slightly wrong move (not
a total disaster though), and polarise opinion like crazy. They're
the kind of album I seek out.
Other examples : "Brotherhood" , "Monster", "Punch the Clock".
― Dr. C, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
I'd put them on a classic/sacred cow status equal to that of "The
Smiths" (not the Smiths the band necessarily, but The Smiths, the
Legend). In fact, for many of the same reasons-
First off, stunning and original guitarwork and musicianship (the
hypnotic drums, especially the use of rolls for texture has only ever
been matched by Echo & the Bunnymen)
Second, the interplay between two very powerful yet opposed figures
(Ver Muses, however, managed to hold fast to their musical ideals even
after the figures parted, as evidenced by the quality of the solo
Third, because no one has ever managed to quite penetrate and
articulate the exact dimensions of the adolescent female mind in quite
the same way. ("Delicate Cutters") In fact, probably *all* of the
female experience- motherhood, madness, marriage, adulthood- without
ever being cloyingly sentimental or insipid, or verving into the other
extreme of being overly feminazi. Hersch simply *is* female, and she
expresses it perfectly, not as an afterthought or a gimmick.
Standouts for me are:
The self titled album. I can no longer actually listen to this album,
because it expressed and encapsulated so perfectly a time in my life
that I would rather forget. It's not a fault of the album that I can
no longer listen to it, but rather shows the POWER of it.
The Real Ramona. The two sisters at their most balanced, their most
equal in power and songwriting ability, and of course, the band could
not survive in that form. Also the most pop, and probably the most
easily listenable of the albums.
Hips and Makers. Hersch wandering around the big, empty, spooky house
of finally being a proper grown-up and wondering what to do with all
the space. Never did anything so sparse sound so lush.
― masonic boom, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― Omar, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― cabbage, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― Add, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
The distinction I make here also has a slightly bogus look. I haven't
expressed it too well. But I suppose my point is: there is no
difference, really - at least *in this particular context* - between
the Smiths (the great pop group who changed so many of our lives)
and "The Smiths" ("the great pop group who changed so many of our
― the pinefox, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― stevie t, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
The Smiths (the band) = either "they saved my angsty teenage life" or
"miserable whinging git Morrosey and his Elvis-ripping off henchmen"
while The Smiths (the legend) = greatest British band since the
Beatles, etc. etc. etc. and all the dissecting of the legend and the
personalitys that shaped it and so on.
I was comparing TM to the legend, in terms of their status as giants
Did I say "their"?
What you say above is eloquent and admirable. I wonder if one day you
will be able to convince me of it. And I wonder what it would take.
I "heart" you, Stevie.
The physical - yes. "House Tornado" - yes (it made no sense to me and
I ignored the tape for weeks; it made sense somewhere near the
perimeter of an MoD firing range on Formby beach, late summer '89,
wind whipping sand into my headphones).
The most excited I've ever been at a gig - Muses, Trent Poly, Feb '91.
The most excited I've ever been about a forthcoming release - "The
Real Ramona", Feb '91. The most disappointed I've ever been by an
eagerly-awaited release - "Red Heaven", Aug '92.
Right - come on, Roger...
― Michael Jones, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
It must seem unreasonable of me to nitpick away at it like this. I'm
not trying to say they're a Dud. I just don't quite see the Classic
bit, either, on the whole.
― Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― keith, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
"Not Too Soon" sounds totally out of place on _The Real Ramona_. It
sticks out like a polished diamond in a pile of tarnished silver
dollars. And it's Tanya's best TM offering, by a wide country
And it's funny that someone (Sean) thinks that _Hips & Makers_ is a
back-to-basics move. I felt the same way, but I think that
_University_ was actually recorded BEFORE _Hips & Makers_. I forget
where I heard that, but I used that information (& that theory) as
the foundation for my breathless praise of _Limbo_ on my site.
― David Raposa, Wednesday, 4 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
I can't remember the thread where this discussion took place.
― Dr. C, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
BUT all I was really looking for from our Scouse friends was a
(favourable) description which was a little bit 'closer to the
music'. Stevie's stuff about Camille Paglia is great - but it's great
cos Stevie is great, not (I submit) because TH are great (and
CERTAINLY not cos Camille Paglia is great; heaven forfend).
I appreciate that the desire for a description which is 'closer to
the music' might be another chimera - another senseless request which
our Scouse friends will find it impossible to fulfil. At the end of
the day (Clive), I have a feeling that they are talking as much about
themselves as about TM - who (I suspect) were very important to them
at a certain time in their lives and have thus made a kind of
emotional imprint that they can't really explain. That is not a
criticism - it might be the best reason for loving a bit of pop music
(I think it's my usual reason). It's just that it's not
very 'transferrable'. I can appreciate that TM meant something to
little Stevie T when he was a wee boy writing vast dissertations for
Christopher Bigsby - but I can't hear that in their records. (Or can
― the pinefox, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
You have clearly forgotten the early 90s, when every band from Suede
to Blur was described as "The Best British Band Since The Smiths".
That's legendeering on a scale with the B**tles.
Back on TM again, yesterday afternoon at the HMV mega-sale, I actually
went and bought a copy of House Tornado and Fat Skiier on CD to
replace vinyl back in storage. Damn ILM for influencing my record
buying habits!!! Second time this week!
― masonic boom, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
I have not forgotten the early 90s. At least, not totally. I wish I
could remember them a little more vividly than I do - but really,
that's another thread entirely.
Your argument now seems to be that because some media people in the
early 90s implied that the Smiths were a great band, they're not
really a great band - that was just all Legend stuff. Whereas (you
asserted above) talking about 'That Miserable Git Morrissey' is not
Legend-peddling, but is simply the rough, unvarnished Truth.
From my POV (which as ever is not anyone else's POV), the Smiths are
perhaps the greatest British band after the Beatles. Put it another
way: they are perhaps the most important band to me ever. This is not
much to do with constructing Legends; it's just the way I feel about
this band. (I don't ask anyone else to share this feeling.)
I fear that what this 'debate' comes down to is that you don't like
the Smiths much, and I do. Fear not, I have no desire to make you
like them more.
― Omar, Thursday, 5 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
But that does not stop them from having a "Legend" which has far
overtaken either their music or their lasting influence. You are just
unable to see them because your devotion outweighs your rationality.
If some people/lots of people/everyone except me/no-one thinks a
particular artist is the best ever it couldn't possibly change the
way that I think by itself. (However,weight of opinion might suggest
that I have another listen and I COULD have been wrong all
along : "Loveless". That's different.)
Masonic Boom: disappointed by your resort to cheap abuse. I maintain
that you are mistaken and your distinction is, in this instance,
utterly BOGUS. BUT you were right about one thing earlier: this is
the Muses thread and we ought to be discussing them.
― Dr. C, Friday, 6 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
Totally sublime, forgive-them-anything-for-that Throwing Muses moment
which Scouse worshippers at shrine of Hersh have not mentioned
(perhaps don't like?): TWO STEP.
― the pinefox, Friday, 6 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― Melissa W, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
― the pinefox, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link
Sean Carruthers - Yes it rocks, but thats not its why it holds its own. Yes, maybe they did have something to prove and in my mind they did. The Real Ramona was a great album, but a follow-on would've been impossible. With Donelly onboard, it could've easily turned out to be little more than sugar-coated pop dross. Not that I dislike Donelly's post-Muses ventures, its just that I think another Ramona would've involved too many compromises. Tanya and Kristin were obviously going in different directions.
I agree with Dr C. - Red Heaven is a classic album. Its raw and fresh, like one of them just said "well its just me and you now, lets get down to it". Red Heaven really conveys a sense of rapport, especially Rosetta Stone. Kristin seems to hit upon something that transcends the 'bit'iness of some of their previous outings. To me, it appears as if she finally managed to give all her ambivalence a face of its own. Red Heaven has a very rich character, indeed. If they were attempting to reinstate a more personal and intimate sense of identity, then I think they certainly achieved it.
Given the choice between:-
a) a "chilling and slinky" male fantasy involving Kristin Hersh, ice cream and a black negligee.
b) the opportunity to ride along with someone blowing out the cobwebs during a transitional phase in their life.
... I would take the latter ;)
― Nat, Saturday, 1 February 2003 14:47 (sixteen years ago) link
― Nat, Saturday, 1 February 2003 15:00 (sixteen years ago) link
― kate, Saturday, 1 February 2003 15:02 (sixteen years ago) link
― dyson (dyson), Saturday, 1 February 2003 18:44 (sixteen years ago) link
I definitely wouldn't say that you're only familiar with the "dud album", Dyson. From what I've heard of her discography it sounds like Hersh started with her most apocalyptic (or grating, depending on your tastes) work and then gradually mellowed, while remaining off-kilter and "in touch with her emotions". I'd certainly give the older stuff a try, but it's pretty up in the air what you'll prefer. I'm not sure myself, but my girlfriend would vote for "The Real Ramona" as her fave.
― Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 1 February 2003 18:56 (sixteen years ago) link
new album(s) are pretty great.
― akm, Friday, 15 November 2013 21:39 (five years ago) link
Love the single.
― the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 15 November 2013 22:17 (five years ago) link
On first listen, it's a great album surrounded by weaker material.
― Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 15 November 2013 22:24 (five years ago) link
A few weeks ago, KH launched the record (sans other Muses, Bernard having broken his thumb) - fairly incredibly - at my local SE London bookshop, at about 12 hours' notice. Daniel Kitson (celebrated stand-up/storyteller and fellow Crystal Palace resident) was the first person in the world to own a copy. (I guess I was about the 12th!) She did another pop-up show at a north London bookshop the following night before a Rough Trade East appearance a few days later.
― Michael Jones, Friday, 15 November 2013 23:28 (five years ago) link
<3 <3 <3
― sleeve, Friday, 15 November 2013 23:31 (five years ago) link
― nostormo, Friday, 15 November 2013 23:43 (five years ago) link
There are some incredible songs on the new album - just hidden in there...
― Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 28 November 2013 05:22 (five years ago) link
I have still not managed to make it through this album without getting distracted. If anyone wanted to do an edited version, I'd be very appreciative!
― dlp9001, Monday, 30 March 2015 22:41 (four years ago) link
not sure what sort of "edited" you mean but a lot of these tracks originally appeared in one piece as kristin's solo _crooked_ demos
― katherine, Monday, 30 March 2015 22:43 (four years ago) link
― katherine, Monday, 30 March 2015 22:44 (four years ago) link
"morning birds" is so good
― for sale: baby shoes, never worn your ass (katherine), Wednesday, 5 August 2015 01:29 (three years ago) link
there's no news (well, kristin is releasing a book, but no band news) but still
― for sale: baby shoes, never worn your ass (katherine), Wednesday, 5 August 2015 01:32 (three years ago) link
thanks for that link above!
― sleeve, Wednesday, 5 August 2015 01:34 (three years ago) link
University vs. Limbo is a poll I make in my mind from time to time. Both records kick so much ass.
― rip van wanko, Wednesday, 5 August 2015 03:28 (three years ago) link
I'd pick Limbo, it just has this incredible swagger.
― Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 5 August 2015 21:59 (three years ago) link
University has quietly turned into one of my favorite '90s records. I don't even mind Hersh's wah-wah guitar.
― The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 February 2016 00:24 (three years ago) link
I like the wah! Yeah university is probably the muses record I reach for most often.
― tylerw, Wednesday, 10 February 2016 00:48 (three years ago) link
Saw the Muses (Kristin Hersh, David Narcizo and Fred Abong) play a great set Saturday as part of the band's induction into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. From sweet hellos to a primal scream session in five seconds flat.
― Jazzbo, Monday, 1 May 2017 13:32 (two years ago) link
Wish In A Doghouse was more widely available on cd, it's quite a package and if I knew about it years ago maybe I would have all their albums by now.
This band always seemed well stocked in music shops but they don't get nearly enough chat.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 11 August 2018 15:19 (eleven months ago) link
Had a look in Fopp and there's only a damn compilation. Maybe the death knell for bands like this in psychical stores? I'll have to check HMV soon because I grudgingly use the internet shops when I remember there being piles of albums on the shelves.
One day several years ago I went to most of the music shops in Glasgow looking for Kate Bush albums and could hardly find anything. It must have been a freak occurrence.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 1 September 2018 17:23 (ten months ago) link
I'll never stop regretting selling off my vinyl copies of The Fat Skier and House Tornado back when I was a stupid teen.
― Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Saturday, 1 September 2018 17:44 (ten months ago) link
they're still cheap on Discogs, if that helps
― sleeve, Saturday, 1 September 2018 17:56 (ten months ago) link
Maybe, I haven't ever messed around with buying stuff ondiscos, but there's a bunch of vinyl stuff I'd like to find for an affordable price. I probably should try it out.
― Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Saturday, 1 September 2018 18:02 (ten months ago) link
For the most part, I've had success on Discogs. But more recently, I've run into sellers that accept the order only to inform me a week (or more) later that they actually don't have the item. Refunds every time, but it just strikes me as odd that, of my last five orders on there (from completely different sellers), three have resulted in this scenario. Granted, it's not like I order that often; maybe once every four months or so. So, I don't know, maybe a fluke. Just seems weird.
Otherwise, yes: buy House Tornado! It's a wonderful album.
― outside, you're never alone. (Austin), Saturday, 1 September 2018 19:56 (ten months ago) link
True, I still listen to it fairly regularly. My interest in the Muses fell off after that as they moved in a more conventional rock direction.
― Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Saturday, 1 September 2018 20:00 (ten months ago) link
I have In A Doghouse which compiles a lot of the early stuff but I'm just seeing it for £25 on Amazon. Seems to be a bit cheaper on discogs.
― Stevolende, Saturday, 1 September 2018 20:11 (ten months ago) link
In a Doghouse is very highly recommended; the first album and the coinciding EP with a ton of extras.
― outside, you're never alone. (Austin), Sunday, 2 September 2018 02:40 (ten months ago) link
the two disc version with the early demos >>>>
― boxedjoy, Sunday, 2 September 2018 19:06 (ten months ago) link
Just scored In a Doghouse for 20 bux U.S.on ebay. I've given several of TM's lps a chance over the years but it's the earliest stuff that really resonates.
― VyrnaKnowlIsAHeadbanger, Sunday, 2 September 2018 22:34 (ten months ago) link
Glad i brought it up, it has some great stuff on it.
Wonder if the lps will see any further reissue?
& I have Kirsten's first book Paradoxical Undressing floating around the bedroom waiting to be read still.
― Stevolende, Sunday, 2 September 2018 22:45 (ten months ago) link
Yeah steveo thanks much. I hadnt really thought about them in prolly 20some years (i'm 53!). But was inspired by yr post to spring for that compilation. That book sounds intriguing also. I'm not anti-donnely but kristin is the genius in that band, period. For me anyway
― VyrnaKnowlIsAHeadbanger, Sunday, 2 September 2018 23:12 (ten months ago) link
the book is amazing
― aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Tuesday, 4 September 2018 07:49 (ten months ago) link
Yes read it! Published as Rat Girl in the US. Kristin Hersh is as good a writer as she is a, uh, songwriter. Don't Suck, Don't Die is also great, about her friendship with Vic Chesnutt.
― com rad erry red flag (f. hazel), Tuesday, 4 September 2018 14:53 (ten months ago) link
I really enjoyed Rat Girl, the descriptions of her synesthesia were really interesting
― Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Tuesday, 4 September 2018 15:01 (ten months ago) link
The mighty Chris O'Leary studies them in his new project:
― Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 2 July 2019 18:07 (two weeks ago) link
did i ever tell u guys about meeting Kristin????she was hands down the most gracious poet i've ever had the chance to meet i went up to her so timidly at the end of one of her showsshe was just incredibly kind.
― surm, Tuesday, 2 July 2019 18:13 (two weeks ago) link
(i'm sure i did tell u but it feels good to be able to brag about it again)
― surm, Tuesday, 2 July 2019 18:16 (two weeks ago) link
wow, that article is nice deep dive, cheers Ned
― the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 2 July 2019 21:37 (two weeks ago) link
yep great article, thanks for posting.
― thomasintrouble, Tuesday, 2 July 2019 21:49 (two weeks ago) link
great images too!
― boxedjoy, Tuesday, 2 July 2019 22:03 (two weeks ago) link
never heard those 1984 demos!
some of the only music so overwhelming that all forebrained attempts to reverse engineer how they arrived / performed the music fail. even now decades later, the technician always surrenders to how fucking amazing this music is
― Milton Parker, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 02:15 (two weeks ago) link
at least I could try to figure out the piano songs like 'walking in the dark', but I remember trying to figure out 'fish' on keyboards once. that was funny that I tried that
― Milton Parker, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 02:17 (two weeks ago) link
man, I love "Two Step."
― TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 02:18 (two weeks ago) link
xps Milton "In The Doghouse" is essential, yeah
really wish they'd reissue this:
― Ambient Police (sleeve), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 03:07 (two weeks ago) link
and I never knew "The Letter" dates from that period, so that's why it gives me chills
― Ambient Police (sleeve), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 03:08 (two weeks ago) link
I knew "Doghouse" & the 7", but not the '84 demos linked in the article! amazing that Donelly had written 'Not Too Soon' that early
― Milton Parker, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 03:25 (two weeks ago) link
I have a long, long interview I did with Dave Narcizo back in 1994 and I don't quite know what to do with it - we published it in our little fanzine but it's completely obscure. He was the friendliest guy - blew out our allotted 20 minute interview to over an hour, once he realised I really knew the band's stuff - and at the show I travelled to in Melbourne, welcomed me like a friend when I crept up and said "I did that long phone interview." He invited my friend and I to the band room after the show, even gave us beers from the rider, I remember Bernard opening them on the edge of the table. I was too overwhelmed to talk to Kristin but she and Billy were friendly - pretty tired tho. Vivid memory from the show of K's electric blue eyes fixed on a point at infinity while she swayed around her Strat and its cowgirl decal.
― an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 03:29 (two weeks ago) link
dirt is on the floor is one of my favorite deep cuts, glad to see it mentioned
― like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 04:49 (two weeks ago) link
Me to Dave Narcizo in the mid-'80s, shortly before the Muses were to play at the Blue Pelican, a now-defunct club in Newport, RI: "Let me buy you a drink."Dave: "I'm not legal yet."
― Jazzbo, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:32 (two weeks ago) link
Pretty sure I was at that spring 1985 show at the Living Room.
― Jazzbo, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:35 (two weeks ago) link