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A fatal hiatus

So, a while ago, I picked up the new Breeders album, Title TK, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Interviews and reviews painted a rosy picture of the reunited Deal sisters, backed up by two young Turks from the LA punk scene, assisted by über-indie recorder Steve “I Am Not A Producer” Albini Unfortunately, in the middle of assembling a band and proudly doing the things the indie way, they forget to write good songs with hooks. It's still recognizably the Breeders and all, but after quite a few listens it was still pretty hard for me to hold onto anything in the songs, and most of the tempos are annoyingly plodding. Fine, don't use the newest digital tricks to edit the drummer into a rhythm machine, but at least put some pep into it, boys and girls ! It's definitely a bad sign when:
  • When the CD repeats in the car player, you can't tell that it happened because the first song sounds just like the last one.
  • The new stuff only reminds you of how great the old stuff is.
Oh well.

I've got one Breeders recording which was vinyl-only, at least at the time of its release — the Head to Toe EP, so I digitized that just before I left for vacation. It was the last thing they released before Title TK, and the difference in feel is dramatic. (But not songwriting, this is just four covers.) “Saints,” with its refrain of “summer is ready when you are,” is a great meeting of sunny pop and punk attitude, and their version of Guided By Voices' “Shocker In Gloomtown” is a great compressed pop gem with manic backing and some of the thickest bass sound I've heard outside dance music and reggae. It's got all the fun and distinctive yet inviting attitude that Title TK sorely lacks.

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ex_snej373
Sep. 3rd, 2002 11:07 am (UTC)
I only like Pod, dammit. It's just so hair-raisingly weird. I don't know what happened to them after that.
rpkrajewski
Sep. 3rd, 2002 11:25 am (UTC)
bPod
Well, I'd say that Breeders is basically a different band, since Tanya Donnelly is such a strong presence. And I do love that album, it's a very strong example of the power of sparseness. After that, it's more of a Deal sisters thing.

The funny thing is that TK shares the same producer and slower pace (in part) as Pod, but it just kind of lies there instead of fascinating.
nessus
Sep. 3rd, 2002 12:41 pm (UTC)
Re: bPod
Any theories on how Tanya Donnelly came to be such a strong presence, when she was mostly suppressed in Throwing Muses?
rpkrajewski
Sep. 3rd, 2002 01:31 pm (UTC)
Re: bPod
Your message might contain the seeds of its own explanation. That first Breeders album was the first time she doing something without Kristin Hersh. Then wasn't it three years later that Tanya left ? I think it was in 1992, I can rememeber buying the new Muses album without her on it.

Ten years ago, people would have pigeonholed Kristin as the "weird" one and Tanya as the "pop" one. But Tanya definitely has a way with lyrics and music that is just as original as Kristin, it's just lot less oblique. And Kristin's past few albums are very accessible. It will be interesting to see where their trajectories ended up when the newest Throwing Muses is released (it's already completed).
nessus
Sep. 3rd, 2002 02:15 pm (UTC)
Re: bPod
Throwing Muses is released (it's already completed).

And it has both Kirstin and Tonya?
rpkrajewski
Sep. 3rd, 2002 05:59 pm (UTC)
Re: bPod
http://www.throwingmusic.com/TM2000/main.html

Hmm, now there's more information than when the last time I checked (this spring) and Tanya seems only to be doing "backing vocals," which seems a bit disappointing. Still, a new album is good news.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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