I had a huge crush on Tanya Donelly all through the 90’s. As one of the founding members of the Throwing Muses, The Breeders (with Kim Deal of the Pixies) and later her own band Belly, she was one of the IT girls of early alt-rock in the late 80’s/early 90’s, and a core member of the Boston/New England scene. Her light, melodic voice used to raise the hairs on the back of my neck.
Catherine Wheel was a band out of England that weren’t as well known (in the states, anyway), but still had some standout hits, most notably the song Black Metallic. Lead singer Rob Dickinson had a brooding baritone that had shades of Bob Mould in it, only slightly more depressing.
This song, featured on Catherine Wheel’s third album Happy Days, is lightning in a bottle. The light/dark juxtaposition of their voices is absolutely brilliant, especially considering that the song is about heroin addiction. The video is a bit suspect, with typical 90’s quirkiness, and Dickinson looks like a total creeper. Dude totally freaks me out. Why so serious, man?
What’s interesting is that the album version of this song only featured Tanya in the chorus, not singing the second verse. I have no idea how they got together, or the backstory behind it, but I’m so glad they did. Its a wonderful gem from that era, and still remains one of my favorite songs.
Pair this one with my favorite beer of all time. North Coast’s Red Seal. It’s a hoppy, absolutely phenomenal amber ale.