After eight years of rest, rehab and whirlwind recording sessions, the
Breeders are finally ready to make another splash in the music world.
Former Pixies bassist Kim Deal and her
side-project-turned-chart-topping-power-pop-band are just a few days away
from completing their first album since 1993's Last Splash.
Tentatively titled Title TK, a clever reference to the journalism
symbol meaning "to come," the album was produced by über-producer Steve
Albini in his Electric Audio Recording Studio in Chicago.
"The record as a collection covers a lot of territory," said Albini, who
produced and engineered records for both the Pixies and Breeders, as well as
Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Bush, PJ Harvey and Helmet. "There's some sort of
classically sweet melodic songs. And there are some really strange mood
Deal set out to record the third Breeders full-length with a new band in New York City three years ago. At the time, Kim's twin sister, Kelley Deal, was in rehab, so the second incarnation of the Breeders, which featured Kelley on guitar, was on permanent hiatus (the first incarnation included Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly).
"The band disintegrated under her while she was in New York, and she didn't
get anything of merit recorded," Albini explained. "She got burned by that
experience, so she decided, 'Screw it. I'll take a year or two and I'll
learn to play drums and I'll play everything myself.' "
Kim entered Albini's studio in 1999 and recorded a handful of songs mostly
on her own, though Kelley added guitar parts to a few tracks. "Then Kim met the
guys in her current band and thought she might be able to realize her dream
of having a permanent band that would record and tour and be committed,"
That line-up guitarist Richard Presley and bassist Mondo Lopez of the Los
Angeles punk band Fear, drummer Jose Medeles of 22 Jacks along with sister Kelley spent nearly a year of rehearsing and played an unannounced club show in L.A. (see "Breeders Resurface At Surprise Show") before recording the album with
Albini this year.
"I'm really, really thrilled that [Kim] got hooked up with these guys,
because they are really first-rate musicians and total sweethearts," Albini
said. "They're dead reliable."
Although Albini said the basic idea for Title TK was to structure it
around a band and not a lead performer, three songs from Kim's solo sessions
made the cut.
"Those sound a bit more piecemeal," Albini said. "They're a bunch of
interesting sounds layered together in almost a collage manner. But they fit
together well, it's not like one of those records where people record a
million things and sort it out later."
The rest of the material is more straightforward rock band stuff, but with
oblique, sometimes spooky lyrics, Albini added. "Kim's got an atypical taste
on music and the things that excite her about her songs are the strange
little moments of interest rather than say, a great chord progression or
Title TK will include a track called "Little Fury," named after
"those little switch blades that you can buy at truck stops that say Fury on
them," according to Albini. It features call and response vocals between Kim
and Kelley. "You can really hear the character differences between their two
voices," he added.
Another song slated for the album is "The She," which Albini called "a
creepy, moody song that, if I understand correctly, is about a discotheque
her brother used to go to in the '70s."
Kim Deal declined to be interviewed for this story.
Title TK will be released by the Breeders' and Pixies' longtime label, 4AD. The album is on pace for a fall release, Albini said.
The Breeders will perform several new tunes, along with material from 1990's
Pod, "Cannonball" and other hits from Last Splash and maybe a
song or two from Deal's short-lived other side project, the Amps, at their
first announced show in five years Saturday at Chicago's
3,000-capacity Congress Theater.
Albini, whose music career started in the '80s cult band Big Black, will
make an appearance with his band, Shellac, August 17 and 18 at the Great
American Music Hall in San Francisco with Neurosis and Japan's Zeni Geva.