50 Foot Wave 50 Foot Wave

Thank God for Kristen Hersh. Just when it seemed as though no woman from the alternative ’90s possessed the ability to rock anymore, Hersh has stumbled out of the garage with her first band project since Throwing Muses, 50 Foot Wave. Not content to relive past glories (Kim Deal anyone?), 50 Foot Wave is a totally new offering that haphazardly throws its songs at Hersh’s audience ragged edges and all. Hersh has wisely limited 50 Foot Wave to a handful of memorable songs (the first in a series of proposed mini-albums) rather than clogging it with filler that would detract from the punch and dangerous wobble of songs like "Bug” and "Glory Weed” as they roll along on three out of four cylinders. Each song sputters and coughs its way into a groove that doesn’t relent for a second. Hersh has never been in finer form — her guitar rattling while she growls out lines like "C’mon play the goddamn music/ I know we fell apart a while ago/ And, no, not everyone’s all right/ Walking bare-assed down the hallway/ Is hard enough at night” (from "Bug”) with all the conviction of a rabid cat. Backed up by the rock solid rhythm section of fellow Muse Bernard Georges and drummer Rob Ahlers, Hersh is afforded the freedom to be as sloppy as she wants; letting her guitars crash into anything they like and making some of the best music of her career to date as a result. The fact that any of the indie class of 1986 can still produce thought-provoking music lends hope to those that have difficulty accepting the new breed as having any viability at all (the Strokes should submit their notice now) and makes them all look like product. As well, as many of her peers have sloughed away over the years, Kristen Hersh may be the last one with the authority to scream "Gimme Indie Rock!” (4AD)