07 November 2012

7 November 2012 - Belly - Feed The Tree / Slow Dog & Throwing Muses - Not Too Soon

This band is a particularly strong guilty pleasure for me, more so than most others.

Since the mid 1980's, my favorite band, ever, has been a band from Newport, RI called Throwing Muses.  Its leader and usual lead vocalist - and since 1992, only lead vocalist - Kristin Hersh is a truly unique musical voice.  I cannot say enough nice things about her. I've written about her other ventures as a solo artist and in another band previously.

Her stepsister was Tanya Donelly, and they started Throwing Muses together.  Kristin was the primary songwriter and lead vocalist, and Tanya took lead guitar and occasional songwriter and vocalist.  Eventually, Tanya became a better songwriter, finding her own voice instead of trying to emulate her stepsister's. Once that happened, she started branch out on her own, first as a founding member of The Breeders (although she never got anywhere near a Cannonball), and then as leader of her own band, Belly.

Belly was a really good pop/rock band.  However, anyone expecting the dark feel of Throwing Muses were sorely disappointed.  Tanya wrote jangly pop songs that fit her voice and style.  This was her first American single (she released an EP overseas before returning to the States), and it was a bigger hit than anything Throwing Muses had ever done... which really pissed me off for awhile.  I've made my peace with it.  Tanya wrote some good songs during this era, and I still enjoy them.  I hope you do, too!

That aforementioned EP, by the way, was called "Slow Dust", based on two of the songs on there - "Dusted" and "Slow Dog".  Belly later released a remixed version of the later song in this country, and they even made a fun video for it.  Check out Tanya's jangly guitar work.  And lyrically, the song loaded with enough metaphor to make Kristin Hersh proud.

As a little bonus, here is the last song that Tanya did with Throwing Muses - a full year before any work with Belly - and the only one written by her that the band ever made a video for.  It's not my favorite Muses song, but you can see that Tanya is clearly on the path to Belly.  The bassist with Throwing Muses at this time - Fred Abong, who was not an original member - left with Tanya to form Belly three months after the album this was on was released.

By the way, this was one of the first songs Tanya wrote, and was on some early Muses demos.  Trust me.  This version is better than the earlier ones.


  1. And Tonya Donnelly is now a doula...