Tuesday, August 7, 2012

it don't rain under the water, it don't rain inside my heart...

Back in library paging days, I used to read Alternative Press, which was covering mostly nu-metal horrificness but still had the occasional Radiohead cover story and scads of reviews in the back and nostalgia trip features that got me into some good bands. An interview with Thom Yorke mentioned that he listened to a lot of Throwing Muses in high school and since the local library had copies of University and Limbo, I checked them out accordingly.

I'm surprised with the little wave of 90's nostalgia that they don't get more attention, but The Kids are probably more fascinated with the trainwreck that is Courtney Love and the swagger of the riot grrls. This wasn't about looks, being the cute bassist or the perky frontwoman. Too understated to call attention, too raw for the Lilith Fair set. I keep hoping that someone will stumble across this the way I did. Not as much stuff on the Youtubes as I'd like, since I can't setlist the way I do for other things. I played 2 hours of sundry Hershness this morning on the show. It made some people happy. Only three people in my world actually care. She's 46 today. Give her money and download some awesome jams.

It was a little too jangly for me then, but "Shimmer" stuck, and a few years later I revisited them one summer when I was working at the zoo and would come home and pass out in the hot attic with the boombox on after a long day of printing out tickets and dealing with angry suburban moms. This time, it was perfect and hit me in that place that all good music should. I had those albums on repeat, slipping into blissful rest with the chorus pedalled sweetness and reverb. I'm convinced that love for this band comes with age, that it's not a love at first sight all the time but it worms its way in profoundly, what the hell was she singing about? I wasn't sure, but it spoke to my awkward young person soul and inspired me.
 First year at Kent State as a transfer student with a swanky T1 internet connection that allowed me to download all sorts of punk obscurities onto my hard drive and trade leaked albums over Instant Messenger with my soon-to-be roommate. The self-titled record came out that year and the grungy chord progressions were perfect and comforting in their crunch. I loved that album, burned it onto a CD and bought it as soon as I could find it and began to delve into the back catalog as well.
Maybe it's a generational thing, but the earlier albums don't do it for me nearly as much as the post-Donnelly ones, maybe it's the production or the lack of distortion, though there's some great gems on The Real Ramona that hint at what's to come.

Hips and Makers and Strange Angels became my go-to acoustic albums and seeing her on tour for Learn to Sing Like a Star with the accompanying string section was fantastic. That duet with Michael Stipe still shows up on mix CDs with regularity. The way those two voices come together devastates me every time.

It seems that each effort's gotten more punchy, more cathartic, more intense, both in the more demure solo output and the squalling Cobain-with-ovaries power trio incarnation. Some people burn out, others fade away, and others burn on stronger.


  1. Comic book guy: Question: is your name Ridley Scott or James Cameron?

    Homer: No, it's Homer.

    Comic book guy: Then I would thank you to stop peering at my screenplay, Homer. And if I see a movie where computers threaten our personal liberties, I will know you have stolen my idea.

    1. St. Bono of Dublin quoth once "Every artist is a cannibal every poet is a thief." Besides, this is the Internets, and everything is constantly repeated.