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Black Francis and Kristin Hersh on a Wave of Mutilation

16 Jul

<a href=”” title=Black Francis and Kristin Hersh on a Wave of Mutilation

Northampton, MA – home of UMass as those of you who recall the Pixies’ Trompe Le Monde LP might be aware – it’s not pure coincidence that Charles Thompson happened to be in town on the eve of Friday July 13th.  Neither was it too much a stroke of bad luck.  It seems that good magic happens on this day in the US state of Massachusetts.

Pleasant Street Theater announced its final closure back in May 2012.  Founders Richard Pini and John Morrison established the arts-house cinema in the 1970s and it became a pinnacle to Northampton’s independent creative scene.  For the second time running, it first closed its business in 2007 but was re-opened under the leash of Amherst Cinema Arts Center.  Sadly, all good things must end.  Having served its community for the past four decades or more, it couldn’t be put to rest without some sort of marker.

Friday 13th July brought local musicians to the theater to say goodbye to an influential part of life in Northampton, MA.  Say Goodbye is also the title of a song by equally influential (in more ways than one) band, Throwing Muses.  Talking of Throwing Muses, lead singer Kristin Hersh also showed up on Friday night to duet with Charles (Frank Black) Thompson of the Pixies on Wave of Mutilation – as though no time had passed since the 1989 release of Doolittle.

Northampton, home of seminal rock venues such as the Iron Horse Music Hall and musicians such as Sonic Youth and Erin McKeown sits just a couple of hours west of 80s rock epicenter, Boston – and is probably just as critical – for slightly different reasons.

Charles Thompson and his band (you might have heard of them) the Pixies, did a string of live dates across Canada and the US in 2011.  A separate project, Black Paisley which Charles and Reid Paley collaborated on, was also released – produced by Jon Tiven and titled They Walk By Night.  In October 2011, a second LP – Paley & Francis was released after Thompson and Paley got together in NYC and prolifically wrote ten songs in just three days – later, they reunited in Nashville whilst the Pixies were playing some shows and recorded the entire lot in just two days.  On a different tangent altogether, Let the People Speak –released in April 2012 and produced by Alex de Campi – is the second album of Charles’ duo, Grand Duchy – with his wife, Violet Clark.  Meanwhile, Frank Black continues to work on his own record-label, The Bureau launched in 2011 and is always on the look-out for fresh and radical new talent.

Kristin Hersh, who formed her band Throwing Muses in 1981 with Tanya Donelly, drummer Dave Narcizo and bassist Leslie Langston (and latterly, Fred Abong, to be replaced by Bernard Georges) has remained constant in her dedication to her work – and consistent resistance to the main-stream pulp that washes down the music industry’s drain.  With a back-catalogue of Throwing Muses’ records – spanning turmoil, brushing with commodified popularity (it was a close call) and then regaining composure with a loyal listener-base; despite the commercial landscape of today’s music scene, Kristin remains true to what matters.  Continuing to write and record under the name of her enduring band; Kristin, Dave and Bernie are currently recording their latest work in Rhode Island, formerly the place that Kristin and Tanya called home.  Listener-supported and funded through a self-started initiative known as CASH Music,and Kristin’s Strange Angels subscribers, it makes total sense – after all, it is the listeners who care the most.

Aside from the new Throwing Muses projects in the works, Kristin has toured globally with her most recent publication – Paradoxical Undressing/Rat Girl – a memoir published by Penguin (USA) and a must-read for anyone with an inkling towards these unfathomable, seducing, beautiful sounds.  She is also working on new publications to be released down the road.  She continues to tour with her solo work and side-project 50 Foot Wave – established in 2004 with bassist Bernie and drummer Rob Ahlers.

You can see Kristin on her upcoming (summer 2012, USA) tour at the following locations:

  • 31 July – World Café Live – Philadelphia, PA
  • 1 Aug – World Café Live and the Queen – Wilmington, DE
  • 11 Aug – Hygienic Art Park – New London, CT
  • 16 Aug – Stage One – Fairfield, CT
  • 17 Aug – Empire Dine and Dance – Portland, ME
  • 18 Aug – Iron Horse Music Hall – Northampton, MA
  • 19 Aug – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA
  • 20 Aug – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA
  • 23 Aug – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
  • 24 Aug – Triple Door – Seattle, WE
  • 26 Aug – Café Du Nord – San Francisco, CA
  • 28 Aug – Bootleg Theater – Los Angeles, CA
  • 31 Aug – Anthology Lounge – San Diego, CA

(Video clip courtesy of ImaginalComponent via YouTube — thank you!)

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