Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Kristin Hersh

Giardini Luzzati, Genova

Over the last three decades, Kristin Hersh’s prolific career has seen her heralded queen of the alternative release. Returning with a new solo record ‘Clear Pond Road’ released in September 2023, the album is a cinematic road trip; a series of personal vignettes from a fiercely independent auteur, plush with layers of atonal, edgy-dreamy strings and mellotron.

It’s a watershed moment in a career overflowing with creative firsts and inspirational thinking, an elegant piece of personal reportage. It’s a sensuous, life-affirming statement, a very personal memoir; it’s the a blossoming of a true icon of independence.

In 2018 Hersh announced a new partnership with Fire Records that made possible the release of her acclaimed tenth studio album, ‘Possible Dust Clouds’. Since then there’s been new releases from Throwing Muses (‘Sun Racket’, 2020) and 50Foot Wave (‘Black Pearl’, 2022) along with new book ‘Seeing Sideways’ (2022).

“One of indie rock’s most fascinating figures” (The Guardian) Hersh has released over 20 solo records, with Throwing Muses and 50FOOTWAVE to date. She is the author of an acclaimed memoir — based on her teenage diary — about a particularly eventful year, titled “Rat Girl” (‘Paradoxical Undressing’ in the UK), which was named #8 on Rolling Stone’s “25 Greatest Rock Memoirs of all time.” She later released her albums ‘Crooked’ (2010), ‘Wyatt at the Coyote Palace’ (2016) and Throwing Muses’ ‘Purgatory/Paradise’ (2013) as groundbreaking books of music, artwork, essays and lyrics. NPR Books said of Hersh’s latest work, ‘Don’t Suck, Don’t Die’ about her friendship with the late Vic Chesnutt, “Not only one of the best books of the year, it’s one of the most beautiful rock memoirs ever written.” 

Previously, the juxtaposition of light and dark has been essential to the drama of Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave, but this new record is something of a departure: more inward looking. Produced and performed by Hersh, ‘Clear Pond Road’ is quieter yet more outspoken, its inventive musical logic underpinned by the ambience of field recordings.

“Passion sounds less angry here, more grateful, I think,”  Kristin says, “sweeter, sadder, and somehow no less alive. Honestly? It’s a love story and its erratic heart rate reflects this. As textured and raunchy as real life songs like these can get, the sonic vocabulary is delicate, so I had to respect that and keep it grounded with car engines and rain in New England, then whistling ducks and wind chimes in New Orleans. Which sounds wistful, like a blurry photograph.”

Currently in the studio working on the next offering from Throwing Muses, Kristin Hersh is also preparing for a three month solo tour to celebrate across the UK and Ireland before heading to Australia and New Zealand.