Saturday, August 12, 2006

Tanya Donelly : A Rock-thology

While going through some old CD's the other day, I came across a copy of Tanya Donelly's Lovesongs for Underdogs, which I haven't played in quite some time. After listening to it, I remembered why I so thoroughly enjoyed Tanya's music in all of its incarnations (Throwing Muses, the Breeders, Belly, and solo work). It's unfortunate that Tanya hasn't weathered the years (or the popularity / marketing game) quite so well as other female rockers such as Liz Phair. She certainly has made some valuable contributions to the world of music, and never pigeon-holed herself in any one style or became stale. For those of you who don't recognize Tanya or any of the bands that I mentioned above, do yourself a favor and check out the songs below: sometimes it's just as good to find new music to listen to by looking back. And for those of you who are familiar with Tanya, forgive me for any errors or missing factoids, I'm just trying to spread the good works of Tanya.

Luckily for me, Tanya's most recent release (which isn't so recent - 2004), Whiskey Tango Ghosts, is available on eMusic so I've been able to enjoy some music new to my ears. According to the message board on Tanya's website, she will be releasing a new live album soon. Until then, here are some dusty gems unearthed for your listening pleasure.

Throwing Muses

In the beginning, Goddess (a.k.a. Tanya Donelly) formed Throwing Muses with Kristen Hersh at the ripe age of 15. Tanya worked as the lead guitarist and secondary vocalist behind Kristen throughout the 80's until she started refocusing her energies into a new band, the Breeders. This track is from The Real Ramona, the last album (released in 1991) Tanya contributed to before splitting.

Throwing Muses - Two Step
: The Real Ramona

The Breeders

Tanya and Kim Deal (of the Pixies, who incidentally made it to the big time by opening for Throwing Muses) first got together in 1990 and released Pod. The Breeders finally made it into the spotlight in 1993 with the release of Last Splash, but by that time Tanya had already moved onto her next project, Belly.

the Breeders - Happiness Is A Warm Gun : Pod


At the end of 1991, Tanya formed Belly around herself as the lead guitarist and vocalist, and released their first album in 1993, Star. Their single, Feed the Tree, was a huge hit, and the band seemed destined for success, but their stars didn't hold such a fortuitous future. Their second album, King (released in 1995), was a commercial failure, and the band soon disbanded.

Belly - Feed the Tree : Star

Belly - Are You Experienced (Hendrix cover) : Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi

Tanya Donelly

In 1996, Tanya once again gathered some musicians around her, but this time performed only under her name. She released an EP, Sliding & Diving, and some singles, but it wasn't until 1997 that she released an LP, Lovesongs for Underdogs. Since then she's released several other albums, but none have received the fanfare that her work with her previous bands.

Tanya Donelly - Pretty Deep : Lovesongs for Underdogs

Tanya Donelly - The Night You Saved My Life
: Beautysleep

Tanya Donelly - The Center : Whiskey Tango Ghosts

Tanya's work has clearly matured (2 children can do that to you), and her lyrical prowess and song writing ability have constantly evolved and remained fresh. Hopefully this timeline (by no means complete) has either taken you for a stroll through memory lane or introduced you to a founding member of the female "alt-rock" genre.


Anonymous said...

thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

yay! I like the Breeders. :)