The Beginning

How did this start?

I remember that afternoon, shopping at the record store in the town I grew up in. A regular chain-type store, I couldn’t afford to be picky in that town where I lived. I was 17. It was autumn. It was 30 years ago now.

I remember where I found it, this sampler called Just Say Yes. I remember exactly where it was in the store for some reason, too. I bought it because it had a bunch of bands on it that I was listening to at the time. Depeche Mode. Echo and the Bunnymen. The Smiths. The Ramones. And a bunch of others.

I went home and put this in my stereo system and knelt on the floor, looking over the liner notes that came in that CD. I remember being *stunned* when A Feeling came on. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. Stopped me in my tracks and changed my life forever. In so many ways.

A Feeling.

I loved this song like I’d never loved anything before. This moment was a turning point, I realize this now. I was meant to find this band. I was meant to find these people. I was meant to become this.

I immediately went in search of more music by this band. I found Chains Changed first. Then House Tornado. This was 1987. I drove all over, to ever indie record store I knew of, pouring through the racks, asking the people who worked there what they had that I might be missing, looking through the music magazines for anything I could find.

This would have been so much easier if we had the internet back then. But I low-fi found that for which I was searching.

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Purgatory/Paradise Live Tweets

A long time ago I live tweeted Purgatory/Paradise. I’ve just found these on my computer so I’ve taken the liberty to copy them here in order of appearance. For posterity, you know?

waiting for an angle of the light…. …. some sound … …. a certain level of humidity.

ohmygod, is Smoky Hands not the most beautiful song?

It’s so sweet and pretty and nice, then Morning Birds flies in like a brick to the face. It’s startling almost. I like that, though.

Sleepwalking 2. A Throwing Muses song if I’ve ever heard one. I ❤ all the Sleepwalkings more than I love most things.

and Sunray! Sunray. i don't remember to pray, either.

"hell, i remember you" – i like to think about that from two angles. it works both ways.

i see Film as a sepia-toned dusty old Western. i'd love to make that video but i don't think @throwingbernard is cool with my horses idea

i love how Cherry Candy 1 is like the sugar high & Cherry Candy 2 is the mellowness that follows. contrasts can't exist without each other.

Freesia. that red and orange doorway is stunning, isn't it? bright, gorgeous song imagery. this song has a distinct smell, too. a nice one.

Curtains 1. Like you're ascending a big roller coaster. pulling. up. slowly. looking toward the peak. then you're stopped at the top…

… your breath stops, then you plunge down into Triangle Quantico, and the coaster rolls over smaller bumps and hills, twists and turns.

Morning Birds 2 is like the lazy river (we're still in the amusement park, friends). Calms us when we can't stop moving, you know?

oh god, Lazy Eye. the tempo changes. that chorus. those drums.

I love that Blurry 1 shares chords with Smoky Hands. Those two are a good pair.

if someone would like to make me a Folding Fire 2 ringtone I'd love that so much.

Slippershell always shocks me, 'oh! CASH track.' no, Muses song, silly. bells are nice, though, right? rockin.

Bluff. It's so simple and beautiful. You don't need complexity for loveliness. Pure. white. and a little foggy.

Blurry 2 strolls along a weedy and flowery rocky backdrop. Then you fall off a little cliff at the end.

Don't you feel like you're sitting against that guard rail in Terra Nova? There's a lot to learn from this song if you just feel it.

oh god, Walking Talking. It's mossy and gray and just oh, oh, there aren't words. under a tree canopy.

MILAN needs all caps. MILAN is big. It stands up and takes charge of the room. Electrifying, it makes the hairs on your arms stand up.

MILAN ends a little sad, cuz you've lost your way, but it's not, because you'll find it again, don't you worry.

Curtains 2 is about fear. We all have it.

Folding Fire 1, can we go outside? love that this is paired with Lazy Eye, this album is so smart. and the bass? perfection.

ok, so Static. the looping parts and all the layers are like this fantastical land where you can discover new things each time you fall in.

"only sweetness that's all, to shake off the bitter" is a lyric which comes to mind to define the gorgeousness of Clark's Nutcracker.

Dripping Trees holds its own without it's demo buddy, Cherry Candy. I imagine this one in a grassy field.

Sleepwalking 2. These are my Muses, what else can I say? it is BAD.ASS. And maybe you shouldn't, you know, drive a forklift today.

… and maybe call your grandma or something.

Smoky Hands 2 and its instrumental loveliness. A perfect seque into Speedbath, another friend visiting from the CASH series.

Speedbath is another beachy song, feel the sand under your feet?

Quick is about gaining strength from an extreme, crushing low. Just like this story of the goddess Akhilandeshvari: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/06/why-being-broken-in-a-pile-on-your-bedroom-floor-is-a-good-idea-julie-jc-peters/

Dripping Trees 2 is reedy. And so very true.

Glass Cats. It’s a dark, maroon velvet-lined room. It sees your soul and your future, but it won’t tell you what it is.

And that, my friends, concludes today’s impromptu live-tweeting of @throwingmuses Purgatory/Paradise.

Sun Salute

Sun Salute…. you know those old 70’s cartoons and their depictions of the characters running? Think Roadrunner. With those elliptical lines and kicked-up dust, no legs showing? I think of that when this song starts out & takes off running. It’s running, running, running. Frenetic. Then it quickly comes to a halt, and we end up in the meadow, where things are pretty and slow and the complete opposite of spinning ellipses. Makes me think of this hard Sun Salutation yoga flow that kicks my ass… It’s pretty and flows nicely but it’s also deceivingly intense & before you know it your heart rate is up, you’re breathing hard, your muscles are shaking. An hour later you still feel that buzz just under your skin. I guess that works for this song too.

Sun Salute is the 6th song in the Night Blooming series of new unmixed songs by 50 Foot Wave. Listen/download/share at kristinhersh.com.

I guess this is a poem

On Kristin’s Songs

They’re flowing water
     (Bubble Net)
They’re gray rocks of different shapes and sizes
     (Rubber Bullets)
They’re green trees sparkling with post rain diamonds
     (Status Quo)
They’re crashing ocean waves
     (God’s Not A Dick)
They’re rolling deep ocean swells
     (Diving Bell)
They’re gorgeous field flowers of yellow and blue

They’re tall grass.
     (Snake Oil)
They’re beautiful skies of blue studded with Simpsons clouds
     (Echo)
They’re rain, too
     (Shotgun)
They’re hurricanes of thunder and wind
     (St. Christopher)
They’re the sand beneath your feet
     (37 Hours)
They’re waiting
     (Me and My Charms)
They’re tears

They’re laughter
     (El Dorado)
They’re an empty, sparse room
     (Tuesday Night)
They’re red and orange
     (Freesia)
They’re forest paths
     (Vitamins V)
They’re seashells
     (Slippershell)
They’re slate
     (Deep Wilson)
They’re a maroon velvety room
     (Glass Cats)
They’re warmth

They’re pure sweetness
     (Serene)
They’re airy, free
     (Krait)
They’re cliffside flowers
     (Red Eyes)
They’re a white-glowing blue
     (White Bikini Sand)
They’re despair
     (The Letter)
They’re dreamy and flowing
     (Crabtown)
They’re brutally cold
     (Torque)
They’re smoky and bare

They’re nature. They’re beauty. They’re truth.
They keep me dancing.

Rubber Bullets

I think it is a little insulting to artists when fans say “Your first record is my favorite!” because it discounts everything they’ve done since. I get it though, that people may be saying that for old skool cred, however. But if I say I think these latest batches of songs by Kristin are the best she’s ever done am I discounting everything leading up to this? I don’t think so, I don’t love that stuff any less. Never could. That’d be like pulling a foundation out from under a house and expecting it to keep standing.

I’m pretty sure I said that when I heard the demos which became Purgatory/Paradise. I don’t like to pick favorites but Kristin just keeps outdoing herself. As if the songs needed to get any better. Blows my mind a little if I think about it too much.

I first heard Rubber Bullets in my car with Kristin as we drove down a windy, dark road away from the studio. I admit I was a bit stunned. I was driving, I had to pay attention to that. But I knew right away that this was one of *those* songs. Those that hit you hard and fast. Krait caliber. Something extra special about it. I think after it ended I said, “That was really good.” Seems trite in text like that, but it was a heartfelt, authentic statement from the depths of my self, that place inside where only the songs can hit.

I really don’t know how to put it in words, how this song feels. This happens a lot. I can never do it justice. I adore the cadence of this song, though. It just feels so *perfect*. The guitar, Kristin’s voice flowing on top of it, both instruments working together. It stuns me often, the interaction of Kristin’s voice with the guitar, like they’re meant to be. Like you can’t have ice without water. I think there’s nothing more beautiful. Sweetness that won’t kill you.

This song makes me cry. Specifically it’s the word “through” that does it. your couch is how the moon slips… throu-ugh… mark me with…” The first time, when “through” is sung slowly. And that riff. It kills me. It’s like I feel all the emotion in the song through that one word and what other choice do I have but to tear up? What else can you do?

Kristin’s been using “life sounds” in these new songs and it’s my favorite thing. The sick trumpet at the beginning of this song. The night bugs in the middle. I adore this, it brings an element of earth to the songs, grounding them here when often I find them to be celestial.

Keep doing that.

This song will always take place in the dark where I first heard it. I feel that calmness I have with her when I hear the song. It has the feel of the beach air at night. Sand beneath your feet. The song happening upon the rocks along the shore. Beach grass flowing in the breeze. It’s perfect and safe here.

Throwing Muses are playing and I love this

“Early 2014” was when the Throwing Muses tour was to happen. I couldn’t wait for the Boston and NYC shows to be announced, I wanted people to know, I wanted to be in the excitement. I checked the Sinclair and Bowery websites often, then we decided to announce the shows on the website. Seeing everyone excitedly tweeting and posting to Facebook about these shows made me so happy. That’s my favorite. I love the excitement. I love knowing that there’s this whole group of you out there that love this band as much as I do. I love it when people love this band enough to travel sometimes across the country or from another one, just like I do and have done. I love that you all exist because you all help this band exist. But that’s another gushy post for another gushy day.

When the shows were finally posted on the venue websites, I looked at them a few times. Yeah, I’ve known they were playing these places on these dates for a while. But I needed to *see* it. I wanted to see it. A tangible, yet digital, confirmation of this. And I realized I felt exactly the same way as I did back in the late 80s when I’d page through the local newspapers looking for gigs. Remember doing that? Looking at all the regular venues in search of your favorite band’s name. When I’d see “Throwing Muses” listed there where it hadn’t been the week prior, my heart would jump. I probably gasped, too. I love to gasp. I wanna be excited. I wanna be your slave. Ignorance is happiness unless you get paid.

Sorry, that happens.

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Well, I found I feel the same way about seeing “Throwing Muses” listed on a website gig list as I did seeing it in print form way back when. I found myself just looking at it, like a fangirl dork, staring at that name, “T.h.r.o.w.i.n.g. M.u.s.e.s.” 03/07. 03/08. Throwing Muses were playing! Throwing Muses are really playing! That same excitement again. That feeling in your gut that you were gonna see your favorite band. It wasn’t just because I was young as I was back then, because I’m not anymore, this is almost 27 years later. This is because I love this band so much and there’s nothing better than seeing them play live, seeing the music come out, hearing it, watching it, feeling it. Nothing, nothing can ever beat live music. 

Plus the fact that Tanya is opening? I honestly don’t have words, beyond being more than pleasantly surprised. I don’t ever even think about upcoming shows because I like to go into it fresh, with no expectations of songs which might be played or not. I don’t even listen to the music leading up to it, because I want no preconceptions of what the recorded songs sound like. I want to be in the moment of the show, absorb it all as it happens, bask in it and love it for what it is at that moment. But… Tanya. There is a special magic with Kristin and Tanya on the stage together and…. yeah… I don’t even know what to say. Just, it’s… perfect.

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There’s a special sort of happy that goes along with seeing your favorite band listed on a gig calendar. Something to live for. Something to look forward to. I’m embracing it, feeling it, loving it, just how I love this band. I appreciate every single thing they have ever done in all these years. Every note played. Every lyric sang. Every bit of time spent in the studio recording or erasing or just laughing, because all that is in the music. Their personality, their breath, their life. None of that is lost on me. These people are real and their music is real. I guarantee I love it as much as they’d want someone to love it, if not more. And I can’t wait to be in that room of love.

Secret Codes

This is such a cold, crisp, dark clear night song for me. Every time I hear it I’m there, embraced by that crisp breath-mist late winter desolate night. So cold you can smell it. It’s a very alone feeling song, cold and aloneness often go together. You only know secret codes.

You just ache with hope til it goes away.

This is so much truth to this. Learning to live without hope is the hardest thing to do but it makes life so much easier. Hope that someone will notice. Hope that someone will reach out. Hope that things were different. Hope that it didn’t have to suck sometimes. Hope that you weren’t alone, even with a lot of people around you. That’s the staggering part. Hope that you didn’t disappear. But you probably did. The vicious cycle.

But you get rid of that hope that someone will rescue you from your abyss and you find you can win it. You fall back in and try to climb out of this hole many times over, and eventually you can do it and feel the warmth again. And you didn’t need my help at all.

See? When these songs are hard they are filled with inspiration and strength, too.


Listen to Secret Codes and the other new Spark Meet Gasoline songs here: http://www.kristinhersh.com/Releases/spark/