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Swan Song Series

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Album Review

Considering how influential her work with Throwing Muses proved to be, and how much success she enjoyed with Belly, it's surprising that Tanya Donelly's solo career has been so low key. While she quietly released three solo albums and a live set between 1997 and 2006, none of them received much notice from listeners or critics. And beyond serious fans, who knew that Donelly had begun releasing a series of EPs in 2013? But if she has been traveling under the radar for the better part of a decade, it would seem that's our loss more than hers. Swan Song Series is a collection that brings together the material from the five EPs Donelly released between 2013 and 2015, and it represents some of her most engaging and wide-ranging work to date. Featuring contributions from Robyn Hitchcock, Bill Janovitz, John Wesley Harding, and Rick Moody, among many others, Swan Song Series gives Donelly the space to slip into a variety of styles and personas. She shapeshifts from the slinky, late-night torch singing of "Let Fall the Sky" and the cool electronic pulse beats of "Viva Karaoke," to the growling rock guitars of "Tu y Yo" and the tongue-in-cheek Irish balladeering of "Tooreloo." She packs a welcome amount of variety into these 31 tracks (which would have comfortably fit on two CDs instead of the three discs in this package), and while much of what's here fits into the broad category of semi-acoustic indie rock, Donelly finds plenty of different avenues to explore within that framework. She hasn't lost a bit of her knack for graceful but engaging melodies, and the cool, literate tone of her lyrics and vocals is as strong as ever. Swan Song Series arrived as Donelly was gearing up for a reunion tour with Belly, but this music shows she doesn't need the framework of a band in order to show off her talent to its best advantage.

Customer Reviews


Tanya adds even more songs to her already lenghty career. From Throwing Muses to Breeder to Belly, she already had an impressive resume. Her solo career just furthered her place in musical history. These songs are meant to close a chapter in her life, while opening a new, exciting, and familiar one.


Born: July 14, 1966 in Newport, RI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A founding member of three of the most successful bands of the post-punk era, singer/songwriter Tanya Donelly was born July 14, 1966, in Newport, Rhode Island. At the age of 16, she and stepsister Kristin Hersh formed Throwing Muses, which in 1985 became the first American band ever signed to the influential British label 4AD; not only did the Muses' dreamy, swirling guitar sound prove highly influential on many of the alternative acts to emerge in their wake, but they also made any number of unprecedented...
Full Bio