The Breeders

Big Deal
*special introductory paragraph!
*Safari EP
*Last Splash
*Title TK
*Mountain Battles
*Fate To Fatal EP

The Breeders was originally a side project featuring Kim Deal of the Pixies, Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses and another girl and guy. Then after Pod, Tanya quit and they brought in Kim's sister, who quickly became a heroin addict. And from there, it all went nutsy-craze!

* Pod - 4AD 1990 *
Rating = 10

An astonishing distillation of the creepy ambience and jaggedy song stylings that helped make the Pixies and the first Throwing Muses album (the only one I've heard!) such incredible additions to the musical catalog of an American Dream (copyright Crosby Stills Nash and Young). Pod has NO warmth. Even the songs that should be warm like "Only In 3's" exude nothing but cold detachedness. And yes, that's probably because live-mic-crazy woman-hater Steve Albini was at the helm and likely wanted to make the band sound exactly like Big Black, but still -- the songs are quiet, dark, methodically paced (which means nothing - I totally threw that in just to sound intelligent) and catchy as a ketchup bottle!

Most of these songs were written by Kim Deal, which makes it an even sicker proposition to think that two songwriters as talented as she and Frank Black used to be in the same band. In fact, he was a tyrant and hardly ever used her songs, the fink! Which might explain why Pod is better than any of his solo albums. It's a SHORT record (only 30 minutes), but diverse in its darkness, with some songs featuring harmony vocals, others centered around thumping uptempo bass lines and even one with an eerie John Cale-like violin or thingy! Wow! In conclusion del monte, 12 great songs to make you feel odd.

No, of course "in conclusion del monte" doesn't mean anything - this is "rock critique". And very good "rock critique" at that.

Reader Comments
This is a very awesome album. Sounds very simple, yet is still very interesting and full of great melodys. I love the Beatles cover on here too ("Happiness Is A Warm Gun"). "Glorious", "Fortunately Gone", "Doe", and "Metal Man" (actually sounds like Black Frances talking in the background at the end) are other highlights. I agree with the 10 definatly. You should pick up the Safari EP next. Its great.. (Adam Bruneau)
I'm a giant Pixies fan, so when in some insane 30-disc trade with a native of Portugal I was offered a copy of Ms. Deal's (is it Ms. or Mrs.?) first solo record I jumped at it, and damn it truly is good indeed! All of the ferocious, spooky, jagged punkish eerieness that made the first couple of Pixies albums special, stretched out for a good dozen tunes. "Doe" and "Hellbound" just plain rock, and I've never heard a better Beatles cover than their version of "Happiness is a Warm Gun"! Oh, except maybe that moog version of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" by Raymond Scott..... This one nets a good solid 8 from me.
Pod is one of those rare records that takes very simple songs and somehow injects them all with a mood that transends the songs themselves. And here the mood about EERIE? Deal's voice and lyrics ooze innocence but resonate with carnal knowledge. Is that vague enough for you? Anything this unique deserves at least a listen.
I'm not quite as enthusiastic about this record as you are, Prindle-san. "Lime house" can be the only song I'm allowed to listen to for the next ten years, and "iris", "happiness is a warm...", and "in 3's" are all fine-fine-fine, but it lags in places. Gets a low 8 from me. I had the immense pleasure of seeing The Breeders live in July of 2002, at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. Great show, they threw in the kitchen sink too, as they did their world-renowned rendition of the Buffy The Vampire theme, and a Kim Deal 6000 song. My sis and I got Kim to sign our ticket stubs! Lovely show, although mom got pissed because she thought the show would end earlier than it did. But, she breast-fed me, so I still love 'er. They didn't play "lime house", though!
Well, I never really thought that there were ever really any good all female groups out there, but then I discovered some really GREAT ones! I noticed there are no reviews on the Slits, the Raincoats, or Kleenex/LiLiPUT. I'd actually be surprised if you had not heard these bands yet. I don't know, maybe you don't like 'em but in my humble opinion, that chick ( I forgot her name) who played bass in Kleenex/LiLiPUT is one of the MOST underrated bassists in the history of rock music. Oh yeah, and the Breeders were great too...

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Safari EP - 4AD/Elektra 1992.
Rating = 8

Only four songs, but good ones! They have added fuzzy distortion to their sound and a bit more poppiness, but the songs are still pretty atmospheric (especially "Don't Call Home," which starts and stops and herks and jerks over and over again like the band isn't sure what to do next but doesn't want to stop!). There's an obscure Who cover too - "So Sad About Us."

Doesn't it suck that it wasn't a song off of Who's Next or Quadrophenia, the two finest artistic achievements ever created by man?

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Last Splash - 4AD 1993.
Rating = 7

Their big alternative rock album. No Throwing Muse but more importantly no Stiv Albany. Had a big alternative rock hit called "Cannonball" that got played at every college party I ever went to, meaning that I had to continuously watch drunk people bang their heads to the pussyass chorus as if it actually "kicked ass" instead of just dabbing at it with a soft penis. There's lots of happy big distorted rock songs like that on this album, to the expense of the weird moods and dark-open-spaces vibe that made the first know, interesting.

I'm not putting it down for being normal though - there are some really neat instrumental-type numbers on here and a lot of the rock songs are really catchy! But as a whole, it just sounds like Ms. AnyAlternativeBand with a slightly better ratio of memorable songs to not. A good album and a popular one, but it doesn't bring a whole lot new to my table the way Pod did.

Reader Comments (Alex J. Koleszar)
I really like this album, although I can't really disagree with Prindle here. It's catchy, and the songs go well together, and I tap my foot and sing along whenever I play it. That's usually good enough for me.
I agree, its pretty mediocre. Some nice songs here and there, but i cant even remember the titles to most of this album, that should tell ya somethin'. I give it a 6.
I just saw The Breeders live in Manchester, they performed several tracks off Last Splash which just reminded me what a strong musical force Kim Deal really is. 'No Aloha', Divine Hammer', 'Driving On 9' all shimmer with beautiful melodies and great vocals from Ms Deal.

And as for 'Cannonball', over here in England we still dance to it every week at the Indie discos, even though we're all still teenagers. (Mindful Music)
I remember The Prodigy from England stole one of the riffs on that album for their pathetic Firestarter single.

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Title TK - Elektra 2002.
Rating = 5

They are trying to sound like the first Breeders album, but their songwriting is kinda like on the second Breeders album, so it's generic boring pop music,. but recorded by Steve Albini so there's tons of space in the mix and everything sounds empty. Worked wonders for the first album because the SONGS were eerie. But these songs aren't. Most of them, in fact, are just boring. Only a few are up to Pod's level. Most of them are just simple chord sequences trying to fool you into thinking they're good because Steve Albini produced them. They're NOT. Go down to the store, pick up a copy of this CD and fuck it up the ass. No, I don't care what the clerk says, fuck it up the ass. Let's not quibble about details here. Just drill a hole in the goddamned thing and fuck it up the ass! Huh? NO! I didn't say squeeze its tits - I said fuck it up the ass! IT has FOUR good songs - "The She" has a good jazzy dark bass line, "Full On Idle" is punky with a ridiculous jokey accent on the vocals, "Sinister (and so forth)

The CD is disappointing. Old wrinkly bags can't write songs. Most of the songs are BORING GENERIC guitar pop songs with NO ENERGY. Don't buy it. NO MATTER WHAT. I DON'T CARE IF A GUY SAYS HE'LL LOP YOUR HEAD OFF UNLESS YOU BUY IT. STAY TRUE TO YOUR$SEF CARPE DIEM. ROBIN WQILLIAMS. SUCIIDE!

Reader Comments
I don't plan on getting this album. From what I heard live, none of the songs are particularly memorable, or even memorable in a lyrical sense. But, what's that song that goes, "your voice/so good"? Kim Deal said that it was about an "Englishman in love" before she played it. Please help me, Obi-Wan.

Score N/A.
Hey Mark, bang on, Full on idle is an old AMPS song. Kims even put at at number 8 like the old AMPS album. Title T K is lost for ideas and they are trying to capture a new (younger?) audience. I love her to death but this just pulls in the wrong places. Laurie Anderson anybody?
We all agree that this record is terrible. It lacks everything. I imagine Kim Deal writing all this songs laying in bed with her guitar and staring at the ceiling.

I don't know if they fell sleep recording each one of these crappy songs. Anyway the entire breeders catalogue sucks (I haven't heard Pod... But it's a chick's band I don't expect too much... besides I've never liked Kim Deal's writing style with the pixies either. Gigantic is a gigantic reason for fast forwarding it)
The Amps were/are? a band that Kim Deal was in after the breeders or as a side project to the breeders. After Last Splash, released in 93 I thought they must have split up but Kim released "Pacer" by the Amps in 95. Info is really sketchy as theres not much of a booklet, as far as I know this is their only release. Its on 4AD and the CD # is CTX035CD mines printed in Australia. Now back to business she really dug deep into her bag of melodies with this one and there's more fun here than a whole Coutany Love back catalogue (Cept maybe Gutless). Each song is clipped at just the right place with little or no filler. Most of the 12 songs are no more than 2 minutes long, imagine "London Song" without the annoying 50 second endtro. So everythings pulled in nice n tight except the closer 'Dedicated' which weighs in at a hefty 4min 17 and they don't waste a millisecond.

I don't know what went wrong with "Title TK", maybe she spent a week too long in rehab.
You couldn't be more wrong on this one Prindle. Title TK is just as good as Pod, and some of the filler songs are actually better than the filler on the first album. You call it boring and generic, but i don't see how this stuff could get on the radio. Nickleback, now THAT is boring and generic. Kim Deal still has a cool voice, and her sister, well, she kinda sounds like her so that's a plus i guess. I don't know what you were expecting but this is the stuff i want to hear when i put in a Breeders album. I give it a 7.5, and when i'm drunk i give it an 8.
I agree with DD on this one. Prindle's got his head up his ass. They sound so beautifully beyond everyone on this one. A glorious return. Kim Deal is special.
The She is the only good song here. It's like they lost the songwriting talent. It's too sketchy and not thought-through. On the other hand, their album titles are always truthful to the material. Title TK (title to come) = record still in the making rather than sounding like a finished product. The good thing is, they didn't repeat this thing on their next record.
I think a lot of you have been a bit harsh, especially the women hating guy who wrote the 1st review, i think u got some serious issues with the human race not just this album, there are some amazing gems on this album. Kim sounds as good as ever
How can u NOT be into kim if u like the pixies? Her vocals are a major part of thier sound! Oh well ur entitled to your own opinions, i just think your bein bitter, the album isnt boring or generic, give it a go, have a listen. The deal sisters rock harder than most of these noncy make up wearing shit bands of today. Breeders rock!

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Mountain Battles - 4AD 2008
Rating = 7

The Breeders are BACK! And this time they're DIVERSE! Check this out, then I'll get more general:

"Overglazed" - Gorgeous psych-fuzz-pop
"Bang On" - Playful, simplistic bullshit. I HATE this song.
"Night of Joy" - Eerie early '60s girl group
"We're Gonna Rise" - Lullabye with a dark twist
"German Studies" - Punky! And German!
"Spark" - Moody blueprint for never-completed song
"Istanbul" - Hipster song with keyboard wigglies and cheerleader chants
"Walk It Off" - The Pixies!
"Regalame Esta Noche" - Early '60s Ventures exotica. And Spanish!
"Here No More" - Country-western
"No Way" - Pissed-off sleaze funky rock
"It's the Love" - Pop-grunge
"Mountain Battles" - Depressed slurred underwritten artsy crap.

More generally, Mountain Battles is the first Breeders release since the Pixies reunion, and thankfully that tour appears to have had the same positive effect on Kim Deal's songwriting as it did on Frank Black/Black Francis'. Although only "Walk It Off" explicitly sounds like the Pixies, these songs -- alternately colorful, evocative, melancholy, exuberant, silly and (faux-)angry -- are among the most melodically memorable that the Breeders have ever produced. Plus, although some weird pronunciations pop up here and there ("luh-aid," "puh-aid"), Kim's voice is gorgeous almost the whole way through, and the girl-girl harmonies in tracks like "German Studies," "Here No More" and "We're Gonna Rise" are awe-takingly breath-inspiring.

Even more generally, Mountain Battles feels much warmer than Title TK and Pod while still (mostly) avoiding the Big Alternative Rock sound of Last Splash. There is also a strong early '60s feel to a lot of the material, both in melody and production (check out the bassy reverbed voice effect in "Night Of Joy" and tell me your Dad wouldn't mistake it for The Shangri-La's!). Some songs are more inspired than others ("Spark" could use one; "It's The Love"? More like "It's Green Day!"; "Bang On" and "Mountain Battles" suck so bad I'm not even going to think up jokes for them), but there is so much great music and singing on here that I besmirch any Pixies or Breeders fan who doesn't throw their money down and support this band during their time of creative renewal. Come on! Get out the green!

What do you mean, "Hay Mark Prindle you're one to talk, you downloaded it off the Internet a month before it came out"? Are you INSANE? Have you gone INSANE? Have you lost your mind and gone INSANE?

There, I successfully changed the subject to that of your psychological well-being.

Reader Comments (Carlos)
Hi Mark,

I just have to add that "Walk It Off" is that "hoarse out of tune vocals in a Breeders track" she performed in "loudQUIETloud". Maybe THAT's why it sounded like the Pixies! I wonder if she was trying to give this song to them. Oh well, the song is much better written now (the first version had, like, two chords repeated over and over). Oh, and this record is pretty good, I'm definitely gonna buy it when it comes out (I have the MP3s and all, but I'm stupid that way).

And Kim's voice sounds great (and Kelley sings that Spanish thing nicely; oh, well, I can't really understand her Spanish, and I know a bit of Spanish; and I think she sings "It's The Love", too)! At first, I kinda liked "Bang On". Until I realized it's a "generic stupid bouncy song". And I dig that cool guitar riff in "No Way", even though it's exactly the bass line from "Everybody has Something to Hide Expect For Me and My Monkey" (actually, that probably made me like this song better).

By the way, great site! I've been reading it for about 3 years and I have to thank you for introducing me such great bands as Pavement, Replacements, and for making me realize how great bands as the Ramones and the Doors are.

Greetings from Brazil!
Very good. Let's pretend that Title TK never happened. German Studies is the best song I've heard this year.
Yep, agreed this album is better than tk, but i do really like tk (ok i think i.m the only one who does) kim could be singing about dog shit over a soundtrack of a cat being strangled and id still love it lol, she just has that effect on me. But yeah i did fall in love with this album, the opening track gave me goosebumps, walk it off is amazing too. Steve albini does it again. This one was mastered at abbey road.

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Fate To Fatal EP - Breeders 2009
Rating = 4

This limited edition vinyl EP sold out in about three seconds, but don't worry if you didn't snag a copy because (a) you can buy an MP3 version on Amazon, and (b) it's pretty weak. Although not the worst record ever recorded (hence my decision to not open the review with "Yeah, more like SHIT To SHITTLE, if you ask me!!") (though that was also based on the word "shittle" not making any sense), it only has one song that stands up to the finest material of last year's Mountain Battles.

This is a sleepy, lazy and shambolic indie pop EP. The sluggish and messy title track seriously sounds like the entire band is on downers, including the vocalist. The chord sequence is at least a bit unpredictable -- at least compared to the next two exercises in genericism. "The Last Time," rather than covering the awesome old Rolling Stones song, instead sounds like Yo La Tengo plagiarizing "Femme Fatale" with Mark Lanegan crooning on top (because Mark Lanegan is indeed crooning on top). (Incidentally, I will never understand how Yo La Tengo manages to play as mellow as they do without falling asleep. I certainly can't listen to them without falling asleep.) The bore-fest continues with "Chances Are," a Bob Marley song reworked as a slug-paced acoustic ballad with the wheeziest, ugliest lead vocals ever heard on a Breeders record. Is that Kim!? If so, is she impersonating Katherine Hepburn?

Finally, the record's only great song shows up: the five-and-a-half-minute "Pinnacle Hollow" rides upon the warm sound of a strummed electric guitar rotating through a series of worried, intrigued and hopeful chords for half of its playing time before beautiful vocal harmonies come in to tell us that on your road, they hang around. Up and down your road, they hang around.

So don't pull out of the driveway too fast! Your bumper will get caught in Kim Deal's flab!

That wasn't very nice. We all gain a bit of weight as we age. Here, I'll re-write it as an insult to myself:

So don't pull out of the driveway too fast! The glare of the sun off my ugly bald-as-shit head will make you careen right into Kim Deal, where your bumper will get caught in her gigantic disgusting mountain of f

Never mind.

Hey, on the topic of breeders, my wife found out last weekend that her mother not only wanted to abort her (which we've known for a while), but in fact TRIED to abort her! Yes, her mother "spilled the beans" this weekend about how, when saddled with an unwanted pregnancy in her late 40s, she purposely sat in a very hot bath and then cleaned the house as strenuously as she could, hoping to kill my wife before she became a baby, let alone my wife. What if she'd been successful? I'd be married to a decayed fetus right now! Curse you, old woman who used to work for the Nazis.

(because as a teenager in Germany you were forced to work in a munitions factory for the war effort)

You hear me? The NAZIS!

Reader Comments
I think Fate to Fatal is a really nice little EP. It's wierd, stoned, backwater music...and it's nice that they release this underproduced (and brilliant) mess as a single. Ha!

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