Kristin Hersh today announced she’s begun work on a new Throwing Muses album, and is both letting fans in on the creative process by posting in-progress demos and asking her supporters to help finance the record — which would be the band’s first since 2003’s Throwing Muses.
Announcing the project via Twitter as “my dream come true,” Hersh is using the CASH Music platform she co-founded to help fund new music from the Muses, which famously were the first American band to sign to 4AD. Fans can become “Strange Angels” and subscribe to Hersh’s output by buying packages ranging from $30 per quarter (free music and guest-list spots) to $5,000 (executive producer credit on her next album).
On the Muses’ CASH Music page, Hersh writes that the band — which she formed in 1981 with stepsister Tanya Donelly — never actually broke up. Instead, she notes, “touring and recording both cost money and don’t always make enough to pay the bills, so eventually, we could no longer afford to work.”
“Now with the help of CASH and my Strange Angels, it looks like the Muses may work again. We’re certainly willing — breathless with anticipation, actually — and the songs are just as vital as I remember them. If this band that never belonged in the music industry could finally make music without the industry, it’d be a real coup.”
Today she posted the first new Muses demo, “SunrayVenus,” a 3½-minute solo-acoustic track that can be downloaded below as a 320 kbps MP3, a FLAC or an Apple Lossless file. Although the track — offered under a Creative Commons license — can be downloaded for free, Hersh is asking fans to make a one-time contribution (the suggested amount is $3).
Yet not only are fans getting to hear Hersh’s new Muses songs online, so are her bandmates. She writes, “Bernie (Georges) and Dave (Narcizo) are hearing these songs for the first time here, when they’re posted and will be working out their parts long distance.” It’s unclear whether Donelly — who left in 1991, but returned to provide backing vocals for the 2003 self-titled disc — will participate.
Read Hersh’s full letter announcing the project after the jump…
Kristin Hersh’s letter announcing new Throwing Muses project:
The band I started when I was fourteen, Throwing Muses, never broke up. We never suffered “creative differences,” we didn’t get complacent and sucky; we’ve always adored each other and were driven to play good music together. But touring and recording both cost money and don’t always make enough to pay the bills, so eventually, we could no longer afford to work. Happily or sadly, we were at the top of our game when we made the decision to stop.
Songs don’t care how much studio time you can afford, though; they just keep singing themselves at you. And I know a Muses song when I hear it: intricate and dynamic, they’re easy to spot. When one came to me, I would learn it and then put it away. The Muses songs I’ve collected over the years had nowhere to go, so they just sat — on demos, in notebooks, in my head. There are dozens of them. Sometimes, I’d play them solo, but I knew better…they needed to be in the Muses’ hands. I just didn’t believe that was an option.
When we got a chance to play a show, we’d jump at it. But the songs we played were a decade old or more—some I’d written when I was a teenager. During shows, whenever I looked down at the set list at my feet, I was haunted by the unheard music waiting in the wings.
Now with the help of CASH and my Strange Angels, it looks like the Muses may work again. We’re certainly willing — breathless with anticipation, actually — and the songs are just as vital as I remember them. If this band that never belonged in the music industry could finally make music without the industry, it’d be a real coup. Bernie and Dave are hearing these songs for the first time here, when they’re posted and will be working out their parts long distance, Bernie in Seattle and Dave in Rhode Island. I’m in New Orleans, of course, so we definitely have some details to iron out, but for now, we’re just thrilled to be thrilled again. There’s nothing we love more than working.
This song, “Sunray Venus,” is the first in a series of demos that the band will be hearing, playing along with, tearing apart, etc. We can’t wait to throw it up in the air and let it come crashing back down again, falling into place as the dust settles. We love that.
Even at fourteen, we knew that striving for success in music was inherently tragic, as success in the music industry was, for the most part, ugly and devoid of substance. We still wanted to play for people, though, so we did. Our shows were crazy, magic parties where the listeners played as big a role as the musicians. Music happens between people. We never forgot that.
So here we are again, amazed by the power of listeners, making music happen between us. Thank you.
P.S. — As usual, please share this music — keeping in mind that theses ARE only demos. Repost these songs, use ’em in podcasts or torrent them. Help us tell the story of what’s happening here. This is going to be a more comprehensive project and we need all the help we can get to spread the word about this CASH project. My Strange Angel subscriptions will help ensure that the Muses project is brought to fruition.