OK: The Beatles is turning 50! There’s a box set out! Cop that shit! I mean, if you feel like it. But also: How hard is it, really, to find new things in the Beatles, particularly in one of their most continuously fan-analyzed albums? … More »
The Breeders are cool people who do cool things. This was true way the hell back in the early ’90s, and it remains true today. Case in point: Last night, the Breeders played the Stone Pony, the legendary venue in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Chicago noise-poppers Melkbelly opened for them. And during their encore, as … More »
Aztec Theatre; San Antonio, TX
“Are you watching me?” Kim Deal, center stage, asked her twin sister Kelley Deal, stage right, with the nervous energy of a perfectionist who wants to get the next song just right, no mistakes, who understands that each measure in every song from The Breeders’ sporadic and lean discography is a holy artifact, not to be lightly fucked with, from an era, still extant but subdued under autotuned din, when people got together and formed guitar-driven bands and rented shitty practice spaces where they wrote songs and plugged guitars into JCM800 Marshall amps. A pure recitation of “Glorious” follows her inquiry, free of tinkering, revisionist tricks, or mistakes.
Shit, “Glorious” is glorious. Check under its hood for the mechanics of 1990: The year of Pod, a conjurer’s number, the cornerstone year in the self-contained mythology of rock, which Kim Deal and The Breeders occasionally append. “Glorious” conjures a timeless 1990, not as an incident of retromania, but as a living specimen and live-action wire. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again,” Solomon said wearily, but, to our relief, we meet The Breeders again, same old same old: i.e., unalterable, nonnegotiable, champions in command of their sound.
Leader Kim and lead guitarist Kelley, bassist Josephine Wiggs and bounce drummer Jim MacPherson — the classic quartet of 1993, another conjurer’s year — performed Last Splash standards “Saints,” “Drivin’ on 9,” and “Divine Hammer” with purposeful professionalism and cool zeal, for the joyfully receptive and reverent audience of 500, box-office count, about 1,000 persons shy of capacity at the historic Aztec Theatre, San Antonio’s own Grauman’s Chinese Theatre turned performance space with controlling interest by Live Nation Entertainment.
The Breeders kept quicksilver pace during their 90-minute run of 23 songs, seven of which were off this year’s Albini-recorded analog album All Nerve. The new entries kept up with the standards, so much so that smash hit “Cannonball” came and went, not standing out so much as blending in. Of the newcomers, “MetaGoth” — co-composed and front-lined by bassist Josephine Wiggs, who shot bubbles, chewed gum, and kicked ass throughout the evening, and whose too-cool-for-words, too-cool-for-school style hit level of role model cool— stood out for its Breeders-distilled goth-psych and for Kelley’s use of a fingerless wool glove against six strings, which circulated concatenations of blissful and blistering treble and delay.
In other blissed-out moments like the mighty short instrumental “S.O.S.,” Kelley, the guitar hero of the quartet, delivered blunt economical riffs in less time than it takes to tie a Baltimore knot. Therein lies the secret weapon in Kim Deal’s compositional strategy: Form not free verse, haiku not affectation; always forward, never static. The Breeders didn’t dabble in alternate takes, deviations, or longform jams. They played their songs right and good but better, because they played them live with new and tried and true energy, and because, over time, through repetition and deliberation, these songs, these holy artifacts now pour sweet and clear like some vintage wine. 1990, it is a very good year.
Wait in the Car
Drivin’ on 9
Do You Love Me Now?
I Just Wanna Get Along
Dawn: Making an Effort
When I Was a Painter
Back in March, the Breeders released their first album in 10 years, All Nerve, and it was the first time that the lineup of Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim Macpherson recorded an album together since 1993’s Last Splash. Last week, they released a music video for “Spacewoman” off of it … More »
Courtney Barnett and the Breeders have some history together. Obviously, the heavier guitar-rock side of Barnett’s sound shares more than a little DNA with what the alt-rock legends were doing in the ’90s, and she covered the Breeders’ iconic hit “Cannonball” in 2014 and appeared on the Talkhouse’s podcast with Kim Deal … More »
Last night’s episode of the BBC live music show Later… with Jools Holland was heavy on the ’90s music icons. In addition to Björk’s first TV performance in eight years, it also featured a performance from alt-rock greats the Breeders, who just reunited for their first album in 10 years. They performed “Wait … More »
Detroit post-punk four-piece Protomartyr have just announced their new release Consolation E.P. As the follow-up to their 2017 full-length album Relatives In Descent, this four-song EP features two tracks with Kelley Deal of the Breeders, whose first album in 10 years All Nerve dropped this past March. And like All Nerve, it was … More »
Have you noticed the silence? I realize the other guy releasing an album 6/1 has been drowning out everybody else anyway, but the contrast is instructive: Whereas Kanye West is doing everything he can to rankle and entrance the masses, his fellow media-savvy cult of personality Josh Tillman hasn’t made a peep. His latest … More »
Back in 1993, the first year that Conan O’Brien was the host of Late Night, the Breeders appeared on his show. Back then, O’Brien’s Late Night was the only late-night show that consistently booked left-of-center rock bands — even left-of-center rock bands who had radio hits, as the Breeders did. On Conan, the Breeders played … More »
The Breeders’ first album in 10 years is finally here. All Nerve marks the first time Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim Macpherson have recorded an LP together since their 1993 classic Last Splash, and we’ve heard a few singles from the album, including “Nervous Mary,” “Wait In The Car,” and … More »