Friday, July 23, 2010

Crooked Sets The Tone For A New Hersh Chapter

Kristin Hersh"I had a seizure one night, when I was a teenager, on the front step of Store 24 on Thayer Street in Providence." — Kristin With An Eye.

So starts a recent June post written by Kristin Hersh, founder of the alternative rock band Throwing Muses, before linking a story to the song Lazy Eye. The post is powerful, thoughtful, and ends on the note that no matter how cool we might want to be that our friends, lovers, and well-wishers always seem to catch us when our weirdness shines through our eye holes.

Her newest album, Crooked, was released July 19 in advance of her new Penguin published memoir, Rat Girl (aka Paradoxical Undressing in the U.K.), due out in August. Even more remarkable, Crooked: The Album was also released as a "book" eleven days prior in the U.K Both Crooked: The Album, which is slated for a U.S. release in September and Rat Girl will likely deserve their own reviews.

Crooked Discovers Kristin Hersh As Strong As Ever.

Crooked can stand on its own without any other niceties. Crooked, the song, will be the obvious fan favorite as it could easily fit on Learn to Sing Like a Star (especially since it was performed like Cats and Mice). Other standouts include Glass, Bliss, Static, and Krait (once it builds into the full instrumental).

As an album, there aren't any throwaways. Mississippi Kite is the hottest up tempo track while Moan and Flooding balance out everything beautifully with some disconnect and broodiness. It's strong, but not for some of the reviews you'll read online.

Squid Woman from Kristin HershCertainly acupuncture has been an amazing treatment that seem to be easing the pain of her bipolar disorder, but some of the songs on Crooked have been floating around on her CASH Music experiment for some time.

For those who don't know, it's one of many reasons Hersh has continued to be unique. Her most loyal supporters have been funding her solo projects, ranging from Strange Angels ($30 per quarter) to Executive Producers (who even receive executive producer credit on her next CD).

Even more remarkable, Hersh releases everything on the site under a Creative Commons license, allowing fans to remix and create new non-commercial content using the songs. If the fans resubmit them, she posts them in an amazing remix thread. It's one of the ways Hersh has found a home in the new world of music.

"My songs are literally auditory hallucinations," she said in a recent interview. "Sure, I've experienced visual hallucinations while manic but the songs are completely independent of my bipolar disorder."

Kristin Hersh Captures A 9.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

You can wait for the Crooked: An Album to be released in the United States (Strange Angels can find Crooked streamed here) or you can download Crooked on iTunes. You can also find a flurry of other tracks on CASH Music, including Lazy Eye, a new Throwing Muses demo.

No matter how you support this talented artist who barely broke into the mainstream, she continues to dazzle a handful of supportive fans, some of whom have been with her for decades. It almost always packs the stark and surreal writing that has defined her for most of her career.
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