#tbt Throwing Muses / The Real Ramona (1991)

By Randy Nieto
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Label: 4AD/SIRE RECORDS
Year: 1991

Our throwback piece this week is for Throwing Muses’ “The Real Ramona”.  I remember not too many years before it came out we were reading Ramona Quimby books in school, and I always wondered if this record was named after those books. This is the last album the Muses made before Tanya Donnelly left the band to form Belly and took bassist Fred Abong with her. The first song on the record, Counting Backwards, starts with a loud snare roll and cascading guitars. Seriously, just the words “cascading guitars” is enough to make me excited and curious to listen to any song. Kristen Hersh’s vocals somehow manage to be dry yet menacing at the same time, like an ex-girlfriend delivering the punchiest zingers about you to her friends.  In the second song, “Him Dancing”, she hits the high notes and falsettos just right, and adds a bendy twang at just the right spots. The album production focuses heavily on guitars and drums, ala Steve Albini. Which makes sense, because these guys were tight with the Kim Deal, who worked with Albini on Surfer Rosa and used him on the Breeder’s debut “Pod”. Kristen and Tanya are incredible songwriters, and it is clear this pop-rock record was an immediate precursor to grunge and all the crap that came after. It’s unfortunate the record companies were still creaming their pants over shitty two hit wonders like Bryan Adams and C+C Music factory and not pushing guitar pop aficionados like Throwing Muses and the Pixies. I guess it doesn’t matter because everyone is downloading music now and those A&R nerds are out of a job, right? Right? Please, let us not get into that dirty talk. Instead, let’s just listen to the beauty that is the Throwing Muses below.

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