Anna Minard, our former city hall reporter, claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to all the records that music nerds consider important.

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Throwing Muses

Throwing Muses

(4AD)

There's a difference between summer music and winter music, right? At least, the same music can sound different in summer and winter? I sure think so. I'll get to Throwing Muses in a minute, but I wonder: Since we've had an odd watered-down semi-summer in the middle of winter, how does that affect your music-listening? Sometimes I listen to music for this column and it fits the mood of the world so well: It's clearly a blast-this-from-your-sunlit-boom-box album, or a perfect melancholy darkness soundscape. For plenty of other music, it doesn't matter, but for some, it's transcendent.

Throwing Muses seem like they would feel very different in winter and summer. And I think I'd like them even better in the summer, but I can't tell, because six-month-early Juneuary is so confusing!

Throwing Muses is medium-loud rock music, it sounds like the 1990s, and you can actually understand the words (which is refreshing to me, Anna "Grandma" Minard). But because it's hibernation time, Throwing Muses makes me feel angsty and restless, like the tempo is too fast for my blood flow, which has slowed to accommodate sleeping in a hollow tree until June. If it was actually real winter, and I listened to this on a cold, sky-blanket day, I think it might be energizing.

I imagine if you listened to this in real summer—in your car on the way to a lake, or when it's 9 p.m. and not even sunset yet—it would make you feel invincible. Sure-footed and still reckless, held by the engine of guitars and drums, you'd be ready to make plans like "Hey everyone: Let's meet in a park at midnight to play sardines. BYO flashlights and booze."

I guess what I'm saying is this dumb weather is ruining something that is clearly awesome. This female vocalist has such personality, sounding young and fresh or jaded and tired depending on the moment, and she enunciates without sounding affected, so the lyrics shine. These words are great—about Pandora's box (black eyes and milk and chemicals), "cardiac baggage," friends who "love the crash that accompanies epiphany." "Kissing through the weekend," "a carpet full of everything." The music rolls under her.

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I don't usually do this, but I got so curious why they assigned me this album, I had to look up where Throwing Muses are in the canon. Result: I googled for four seconds and I fell in love with Kristin Hersh. OBVIOUSLY. So yeah, I'm a convert, and I'm saving this for a second listen in the endlessness of August.

I give this an "I can't wait for summer!" out of 10. recommended