I first heard Throwing Muses in college. It was my freshman year, and "Counting Backwards" came on the radio. (Oh how I love college radio.) I remember being drawn in immediately, because their sound was so unique. I walked to the record store that day and bought "The Real Ramona". I've been a fan ever since.
The mixture of the band's sound, Kristin Hersh's voice, and her lyrics, is compelling and beautiful. I confess I don't understand a lot of her lyrics at all, and yet I still love the songs. (Funny...as I type that, I seem to recall my mother saying the same thing about Joni Mitchell.) Similar to an abstract painting, you may not know what the artist was feeling or thinking as s/he created it, but you can still evaluate it based on its beauty and the way it makes you feel.
Kristin has written several books, one of which is entitled "Rat Girl". This book describes one year of her life, during which she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, recorded Throwing Muses' first album, and had her first son at the age of 19. It is fascinating, touching, inspiring, and surprisingly really funny. I feel like I'm now able to listen to that first album through an entirely different lens. I also loved getting a little glimpse into the beautiful bond that exists between the band members. Even if you have never heard of Throwing Muses or don't like their music, I'd still highly recommend this book.
Here's a link to the New York Times book review.
Update: If you do like the Muses, also check out this playlist Kristin created to accompany the reading of the book. I love hearing the stories behind some of her lyrics.
The first four minutes include a reading from the book. Skip to 4:10 if you want to hear a song.