Tanya Donelly: Belly Buster Pops

September 22 [12:00 EDT] -- Ex-Throwing Muse, ex-Breeder, and ex-Belly leader Tanya Donelly, having spent half of her life in alternative bands (since age 16), is finally going it alone with her breathy baby-doll voice and confident guitar.

Lovesongs For Underdogs, her debut solo album, is pure Donelly but far from the young developing artist who contributed on average two pithy songs per Muses record. Following her intrepid instincts, she's created an unadulterated pop explosion on Lovesongs ["Pretty Deep" Video Clip, 1.2MB QuickTime]. Donelly is alternative no more. Tanya and stepsister, Kristin Hersh (anointed the "Godmother of Alternative") spearheaded the girls-in-great bands movement of the '80's with Throwing Muses, which were the first American band to sign with the prestigious English label 4AD in 1986 (later a home to The Pixies). Four years later and intrigued by a side project, Donelly joined Pixies member Kim Deal

in The Breeders for their first album, Pod.

After five Muses records, Donelly officially departed her childhood band to form the alt/pop quartet Belly in 1993. A musical venture that yielded two records, Star and King, a "Rolling Stone" magazine cover, a Grammy nomination, and a gold record for Star. Say Donelly about the band, "We were all coming from different places musically, and for a while that tension was a positive thing. But eventually we started to stifle each other." This lead to Belly's amicable dissolution in 1996.

For her first solo effort, Donelly collaborated with old friends: manager, Gary Smith; former Throwing Muses drummer, David Narcizo; and her new husband, former bassist for Juliana Hatfield, Dean Fisher.

Smith, owner of the Fort Apache studio in Boston where she recorded Underdogs and where the Pixies recorded Rosa, came out of semi-retirement to produce four tracks, including the first single "Pretty Deep."

Donelly got to made

Lovesongs For Underdogs her way, perhaps a career first, with no one to answer to... but herself.