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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to the… Breeders, Pod March 8, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Here’s an album I’ve meant to post up a piece on for years, not least because it’s one of my very favourites. Kim Deal and Tanya Donnelly of the Pixies and Throwing Muses respectively along with Josephine Wiggs of The Perfect Disaster and Britt Walford of Slint (with Steve Albini on production duties) crafted something both angular, spikey, confrontational and weirdly joyous in 1990. I love the off-hand nature of the vocals. It’s almost ‘couldn’t care less’ and yet that’s not quite it. The guitars might sound throwaway, almost slapdash, the compositions almost as if they’re patchworks of songs, with curious gaps and dislocations. But those aren’t failings. There’s a slow burning intensity to much of this album, these sometimes seemingly random elements combining to produce unforgettable pieces of music.

Now it also has a Pixies lilt to it. Doe or Oh! are perfect example, with loud, quiet, odd humming/spoken vocals set against clattery drums, and it’s brilliant. It is a bit like listening into one side of a conversation. But there’s a lot of Donnelly in there too, even if I’ve read subsequently that she would have liked more of her songs included and this pushed her towards establishing the pretty great Belly.

It’s surprisingly sparse, with the music filled out by thin percussion, skeletal guitars and bass and oddly hazy vocals (the lyrics are well worth reading if you can get hold of them – and by the by kudos for the name of the group). Impressionistic, but not disposable. “Hellbound” is an oddity, sounding initially almost too metallic or punky, as if L7 had wandered through the studio. But it works. And the guitars do ramp up again here and there, throughout the albuem. “When I Was A Painter” is a case in hand, which gets… heavy… around 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Appropriately so. “Lime House” is a song that I’ve had in my head for years now, that opening guitar line manifesting itself at oddest moments. And I could say that for almost all the tracks, they burrow into one’s consciousness and stay there.

One thing about the time it was bought was just how little information there was. No internet, no wiki, no discogs and add to that the traditionally wonderfully ungiving and uninformative 4AD record sleeves.

At the time I’d heard next to nothing from Throwing Muses, so I assumed Deal did all the vocals. When I later heard Belly it was a revelation to realise just how much of an input Donnelly had had in the material, that great rasp of her voice being a signature element.

This is another group I never listened to anything else they did (bar the excellent single Cannonball from three years later) in part for fear it would be lesser and overshadow this, in part because Donnelly and Walker had moved on and whatever else while still the Breeders it wasn’t that particular Breeders. All of which is pushing me towards giving those later albums a listen! But regardless, this, this is an absolute classic.

Doe

Hellbound

When I was a painter

Opened

Limehouse

Comments»

1. hatfulofhistory - March 8, 2014

How about Safari?

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WorldbyStorm - March 8, 2014

I missed that too though I see both Deal’s plus Donnelly are on it. Will check it out immediately, thanks!

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2. Phil - March 8, 2014

Remarkable stuff – Kurt was right! I don’t listen to much rock these days, but I do like that angular stop-start style with the allusive lyrics. Post-post-post- Beefheart, I guess.

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WorldbyStorm - March 8, 2014

It is great isn’t it sort of askew in some strange way. I saw them live in 1992/3 in the Tivoli in Dublin – which by the by had some great groups there.

My memory of it is one of the Deal’s in a pointy hat, and before hand turning round to people and asking about the support band, aren’t they playing Grant Lee Buffalo songs. They were… because it was in fact Grant Lee Buffalo who was playing the next night as headliner in the place. I often wondered did the Breeders do support to GLB the next evening?

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3. JP - March 9, 2014

I went to see them play all of Last Splash in Belfast last year. To my surprise they encored with most of Pod which has been a constant in my life since I was about 16. It was a weirdly emotional to the extent that I was pogoing through the tears when they played Doe.

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WorldbyStorm - March 9, 2014

Wow, great story. That’s amazing they encored with that, and kind of great too.

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