Album Review – Kristin Hersh

Kristin Hersh – Wyatt At The Coyote Palace. (Omnibus Press)
This year marks thirty years since Kristin Hersh made her debut, leading her band Throwing Muses on their self-titled debut. Thirty years on, she remains a truly unique artist, a reminder that the word ‘indie’ is short for independent, as in thinking and working apart from the crowd, as opposed to just guitar-lead music.Her first solo album was 1994’s Hips and Makers, which led by the Michael Stipe featuring ‘Your Ghost’ single remains the most successful record of her career. There may not be anything quite as immediate here – but nor should we expect there to be: Hersh has never been about catering to expectations.  This, her ninth album is a double, twenty-four tracks over two CDs (though us reviewers sadly don’t get a book. For the record, I have now purchased it). For those who have followed her career – and shame on those who haven’t! – the music runs the spectrum from folky to discordant rock and in the case of ‘Some Dumb Runaway’ and ”Detox’ chopping and changing between the two. It’s largely an acoustic album, on the whole, and as is her style, she keeps the listener guessing as to what might happen next.

The title references one of her four sons, Wyatt, who for a time spent time at an abandoned apartment building near her Rhode Island studio that had been taken over by coyotes. As ever, there’s a confessional tone to proceedings, but this is never a wallowing record. There’s a number of excellent songs within – ‘Bright’ ‘Day 3’ and ‘Bubblenet’, though for my money ‘In Stitches’ is the standout track here. Sure it may not be the easiest of albums to digest in one sitting, or indeed the first couple of listens.

Be prepared to be bewildered and to spend time with the record to get to grips with it. Certainly there are more immediate albums in her back catalogue- but that doesn’t mean it’s any less worthy of your ears. Definitely worth spending time with.


Wyatt At The Coyote Palace is out now on Omnibus Press

Does there have to be a reason?


…fifteen years on, I still find this song extremely beautiful and affecting, despite, or maybe because of its’ simplicity. Just as, uh, haunting as the title suggests.

The genius function in my head was looking for ‘Cry Baby Cry’ off the Chains Changed EP, which I couldn’t find to post, so I’m listening to Vashti Bunyan instead.

Anyway, hope you enjoy this…

Kristin Hersh and Michael Stipe -‘Your Ghost.’ mp3

It’s Friday night and all I wanna do…

… is sleep.

Well, here’s three fantastic tracks. It must be thirty-somethingness, that I want to play these on a Friday night rather than going mad to someting er…faster and heavier.

(I’m not that middle-aged, though, I’d rather read The Wire than many of the other music magazines more obsessed with celebrity and/or the past).

Joanna Newsom -‘The Book Of Right-On.’ mp3

Kristin Hersh -‘Your Ghost.’ mp3

The Men They Couldn’t Hang -‘Green Fields Of France.’ mp3 (Found the 12″ single of this in a record shop in Edinburgh the other week, I was ecstatic).

There will be more to come this weekend, there’s a lot to review still…