Throwing Muses: Throwing Muses [Untitled] (1986)
I'll admit that the debut isn't something I'll spin all that often, as it's not an easy listen; some later albums were willing to make a few more concessions to pop, though ultimately it's my homemade disc of highlights I turn to most often. Still, the standout tracks on that debut -- which, sadly, does not stream on Spotify -- make it a savagely bold work in its own right.
The highlight, in and of itself a reason to pick up the album, is the simply breathtaking "Hate My Way," a song so gut-wrenching it invariably leaves me just a little messed up. As Hersh sings, in a voice that is absolutely stunning in its anguish, "Ask myself again... How do they kill children? And why do I want to die?" Here's an audio rip of the song:
Beyond the stirring lyrics and music, the album is bolstered by one of the tightest and most interesting rhythm sections in indie rock. So while it may be a slightly more "challenging" listen than some of the band's later work, it is never anything short of captivating.
The album was later reissued with an EP and a number of pre-LP recordings as In A Doghouse, definitely the version to grab. (Or you could just skip to the 2011 Anthology release, which includes "Hate My Way" and "Vicky's Box" amid other songs from their discography, though it oddly omits a number of their catchier singles.)
Again, it doesn't stream, but you can hear rips of the tracks on YouTube.
I'll leave you with a live version of "Hate My Way," shaky and blurry video but, still, damn.