Throwing Muses’ lynchpin, Kristin Hersh’s prolific career has seen her heralded queen of the alternative release. In 2018 she announced a new partnership with Fire Records that made possible the release of her tenth studio album, ‘Possible Dust Clouds’.
“I’m thrilled to find some like-minded teammates in the shifting paradigm of the recording industry. Together, we can do a lot more damage than we could ever pull off alone, and damage is what’s called for when an old guard is falling. This is gonna be a swell party.”
‘Possible Dust Clouds’ is a highly personalised sociopathic gem delivered as a futuristic rewriting of how music works, a melodious breeze with a tail wind of venomous din. Enveloping the juxtaposition of the concept of ‘dark sunshine’, a brooding solo record created with friends to expand her off-kilter sonic vision; a squally, squeaky mix of discordant beauty. Feedback and phasing gyrate from simply strummed normality, imagine Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine cranking up a Dylan couplet.
“Sometimes the most subversive thing I can do musically is adhere to standard song structure, sometimes the creepiest chords are the ones we’ve heard before, twisted into different shapes, and sometimes a story is lived a thousand times before we can ride it like a roller coaster. Nothing wholly unfamiliar is gonna make you look twice. When you can describe a record as being “deceptively” anything, you’re hinting at the sociopathic nature of music. Something I love.
Imagine truly buying your own sunshine and charm, but also your darkness and violence; the two sides of your psychology showing each other off in relief. Songs can do that…we can’t, really. Darkness we’ve seen. Dark sunshine? Still cool. I usually play all the instruments on my solo records – essentially the sound of having no friends – but sociopaths can’t realise their potential without people to work out their grievances on and this record is a freakin’ sociopath.
So I invited my friends to the party I wanted to hear. Not a live record but an alive record. Because a lot of live records don’t sound live, just poorly recorded. And self-conscious musicians can’t let fly. I wanted to recreate the impact of a show. Unpretentious, with a muscular song body running through the room. This entailed seriously messing with both extremes of the sonic spectrum: the fundamentals (basics, rhythm section, roots) but also with the detail (percussion, high end, effects). These two strata asked to sound eccentric: atonal and arhythmic. So when the song body runs through the room, it’s not wholly unfamiliar, just dressed oddly enough to make you look twice.
Dark sunshine, still cool. Hopefully, anyway. My friends helped me make a nice party noise, a goofy sociopath. Everyone who stopped by the studio was asked to make some noise and they pretty much did. A party that lasted for a few years, it’s only now dying down. A friend called this morning asking when the bus was leaving. A rickety, squealy, squeaky bus…none of us want to miss it.”
Kristin Hersh, July 2018
“She’s still as powerful a presence as she ever was.”Pitchfork
“The prodigious output and commitment to quality is pretty staggering, but then Kristin Hersh is a very, very special musician.”The Quietus