Album Review – The Breeders

Breeders -‘All Nerve.’ (4AD).

When the ‘Good morning!’ on the album’s first single ‘Wait In The Car’ reaches your ears, it feels like a re-awakening. The Breeders are back with their first album in ten years, and it’s something to celebrate. Given that it’s only the fifth Breeders album in 28 years, it feels like An. Event.

Back in the late 1980s, Pixies bassist Kim Deal set up The Breeders as a side-project with Tanya Donnelly (then of fellow Boston band Throwing Muses) and with the release of 1990’s Pod it was seen as the indie supergroup. By 1993, Donnelly was fronting Belly and the Pixies had split up. The Breeders’ second album Last Splash led by the hit single ‘Cannonball’ saw The Breeders become a big success on their own terms and in their own right. Crucially, it was when Kim’s twin sister Kelley joined the band – and All Nerve sees the twins re-united with the Last Splash rhythm section of bassist Josephine Whiggs and drummer Jim Macpherson for the first time on record since the mid 1990s.

We all know the world has changed in the ten years since The Breeders released their fourth album Mountain Battles (their third album, Title TK was released in 2002), But it’s so damn reassuring to have them back. Sure the links with other bands (and there are a heap to go and enjoy) contributed to coverage – but there remains a distinctive Breeders sound and feel. The undercurrent of menace that never engulfs, the subtlety of sound that makes Steve Albini the perfect person to work with (he first helmed Pod in 1990 and he’s back here on several tracks) and the way that they understand an album needs quality, not quantity – it’s barely more than half an hour long.

Ahead of the album’s release, the tracks released indicated that we were in for a treat. In addition, other highlights are ‘Metagoth,’ ‘Space Woman’ and ‘Dawn: Making An Effort.’ Signed to 4AD – one of the coolest independent labels ever – The Breeders have had deserved commercial success in addition to critical acclaim over the decades. They aren’t necessarily going to appeal to everyone- but that’s the non-listeners’ loss.

Sure, it may have been ten years, but it’s another success. It’s a reminder of why The Breeders are so highly rated, and holds its own against their previous albums and EPs. It’s an album you want to play again before it’s even finished, before revisiting their other albums.

In short: a triumph.


All Nerve is out now on 4AD


The Breeders return with new single, tour – and first album in ten years!

Breeders picture credit: Maria Gesualdi

2018 continues to be a great year for aging indie fans (and I definitely count myself in that). Following on from last year’s ‘Get In The Car’ single (which came in very high in the annual Festive Fifty) and tour, the band have indeed announced new single, album and tour.

So first up, that new single:  it’s the title track of their fifth album, All Nerve. You can buy or stream it here by following the link.

I finally saw the band in Glasgow last October – and very good they were, too. This time they’re coming to Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms, you can see tour dates here by following this link.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

  1. Nervous Mary
  2. 2. Wait in the Car
  3. All Nerve
  4. MetaGoth
  5. Spacewoman
  6. Walking with the Killer
  7. Howl at the Summit
  8. Archangel’s Thunderbird
  9. Dawn: Making an Effort
  10. Skinhead #2
  11. Blues at the Acropolis

Recording took place at Candyland, Dayton, Kentucky, with Mike Montgomery; Electrical Audio, Chicago, with Steve Albini and Greg Norman; and with Tom Rastikis at
Fernwood Studios, Dayton, Ohio. The artwork was done by Chris Bigg, who has worked with the Breeders since their first album, Pod.

All Nerve will be released on March 2nd on long-term label 4AD.


The return of The Breeders

It’s a double cause for celebration as The Breeders return, not only with new music – but with the line-up that recorded 1993’s seminal Last Splash. Twin front-women Kim and Kelley Deal (vocals, guitar) are joined by Josephine Wiggs (bass) and Jim MacPherson (drums).

The first track to be released is ‘Wait In The Car’ which from the very first listen is prime Breeders. It’s available to download now (yup, I already have) and stream, and it’s part of three singles due to be released on 7″ vinyl: Single One will be available at the band’s upcoming tour dates, starting October 15 (pressed on orange vinyl, featuring a cover of Amon Düül II’s 1970 track ‘Archangel’s Thunderbird’, recorded with Steve Albini in Chicago).  Single Two will be available exclusively at select independent record stores from October 27 (pressed on red vinyl, featuring Kim’s dreamy reimagining of Mike Nesmith’s ‘Joanne’).  Details of Single Three (featuring a cover of Devo’s ‘Gates of Steel’ and pressed on yellow vinyl) are to announced later in the year.  Each version is limited to 1,500 copies worldwide.

The video for ‘Wait In The Car’ can be seen below. ‘Wait in the Car’ was directed by Chris Bigg (formerly of the v23 team who worked on the band’s previous 4AD releases) and Martin Andersen, with the video piecing together 800 still images.

“It all started with a brick,” the pair say.  “We both liked the idea of using something iconic yet quite banal. An old brick has a story and it’s a beautiful raw object.  We started collecting more and more (some intact, some broken) and realised how different they all appear, each one having its own identity.”

The band are on tour this month and next:

10 – NEWPORT, KY, The Southgate House Revival
16 – DUBLIN, Vicar Street
17 – MANCHESTER, Academy 2 **SOLD OUT**
18 – LONDON, Electric Ballroom **SOLD OUT**
22 – AMSTERDAM, Melkweg Max
23 – ANTWERP, Trix
24 – BERLIN, Heimathafen
27 – PARIS, Le Gaite Lyrique **SOLD OUT**
29 – ST. PAUL, MN, XCEL Energy Centre (w/ Arcade Fire)
30 – CHICAGO, IL, United Center (w/ Arcade Fire)

1 – DETROIT, MI, Magic Stick
3 – BOSTON, MA, The Sinclair **SOLD OUT**
4 – WASHINGTON, DC, Lincoln Theatre
5 – NEW YORK, NY, Bowery Ballroom **SOLD OUT**
6 – PHILADELPHIA, PA, Union Transfer
8 – PORTLAND, OR, Wonder Ballroom **SOLD OUT**
9 – SEATTLE, WA, Showbox at Market **SOLD OUT**
11 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA, The Rickshaw Stop **SOLD OUT**
12 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA, The Rickshaw Stop **SOLD OUT**
13 – LOS ANGELES, CA, El Rey Theatre **SOLD OUT**

Cool as Kim Deal


It’s been announced today that Kim Deal has left The Pixies.

“We are sad to say that Kim Deal has decided to leave the Pixies. We are very proud to have worked with her on and off over the last 25 years. Despite her decision to move on, we will always consider her a member of the Pixies, and her place will always be here for her. We wish her all the best.

Black Francis, Joey Santiago and David Lovering” from their facebook page).

There’s already a rather one-sided band over on the NME site saying that the band definitely shouldn’t continue without her. It’s a decision only they can make. Sometimes it’s like an egg without omelettes (people conveniently forgetting that sometimes people may need to eat and pay bills), sometimes the results can be surprising. Maybe some people thought Joy Division’s remaining members should never have recorded together again after Ian Curti’ suicide in 1980; they did regroup under a different name, though…She’s touring with her ‘other’ band The Breeders, and still wowing people.

One of the coolest people ever to rock a bass guitar, here’s some of the songs Kim Dealhas been involved with other the years, as a Pixie, a Breeder and an Amp…

The Pixies -‘Gigantic’

The Breeders -‘No Aloha.’

The Amps -‘Tipp City.’

The return of the Breeders


I get numerous requests to run news stories, and I rarely do.

However, the news that The Breeders are to re-issue Last Splash on vinyl and CD with numerous goodies, like the Safari and Head To Toe EPs is worth celebrating and making a fuss about.

So here’s what you need to know:

LSXX, the 20th anniversary reissue of the Breeders’ Platinum album, Last Splash, will be released on April 22nd on 4AD.

LSXX will be available as a limited-edition, seven-disc vinyl box set, and a three-CD package. Many of the recordings included in the set have never been released before, and for other tracks, it will be the first time they receive a worldwide release. Cover and individual sleeve artwork has been created by renowned British graphic designer Vaughan Oliver, who described it as “an irreverent conceptual and visual re-imagining,” of his original Last Splash artwork.

The vinyl box set includes:

a 12-inch vinyl pressing of Last Splash
four 10-inch EPs – ‘Safari’, ‘Cannonball’, ‘Divine Hammer’ and ‘Head To Toe’
a 12-inch vinyl live concert album, Stockholm Syndrome, recorded in Sweden in 1994, during the band’s last European tour. Seven tracks from this recording originally appeared on a fan-club-only CD; nine additional unreleased tracks from the concert are included here.
a 12-inch vinyl record comprised of a BBC radio session recorded July 24, 1993 and available here for the first time, and the original Last Splash demo recordings, made in November 1992.
a 24-page booklet featuring previously unpublished photographs taken during the recording of Last Splash, personal photos taken during two years of touring, and reminiscences written by band members and others, including Kim Gordon and J Mascis.

The CD release is comprised of the same material in a three-disc set.

LSXX will be available at retail stores as well as online. The release coincides with the Breeders’ “LSXX World Tour,” which marks the first time Kim Deal, Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson have performed together since 1994. With more dates to be announced, the confirmed European itinerary is as follows:

24 – BARCELONA, Primavera
27 – TOULOUSE, Le Bikini
28 – BORDEAUX, Le Rocher De Palmer
30 – PORTO, Primavera

01 – PARIS, Trianon
02 – BRUSSELS, Ancienne Belgique
03 – AMSTERDAM, Paradiso
14 – DUBLIN, Vicar Street [TICKETS]
19 – LONDON, Forum [TICKETS]
21 – CAMBER SANDS, All Tomorrow’s Parties curated by Deerhunter

** LSXX full tracklisting:
Disc 1 – Last Splash – 12-inch vinyl
New Year
Invisible Man
No Aloha
Do You Love Me Now?
I Just Wanna Get Along
Mad Lucas
Divine Hammer
Drivin’ On 9
Roi (Reprise)

Disc 2 – The Stockholm Syndrome (Live In Stockholm) – 12-inch vinyl
Shocker In Gloomtown
New Year
I Just Wanna Get Along
Head To Toe
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Invisible Man
Drivin’ On 9
Don’t Call Home
(seven of these tracks were previously released as a limited-edition, fan club only release via the Breeders’ Digest; the other nine are previously unreleased)

Disc 3 – Demos, rare tracks and session versions – 12-inch vinyl
No Aloha (BBC Session, previously unreleased)
Flipside (BBC Session, previously unreleased)
Divine Hammer (BBC Session, previously unreleased)
Hag (BBC Session, previously unreleased)
New Year (November 1992 demo, previously released as a bonus 7-inch with original vinyl pressing of Last Splash)
Grunggae (November 1992 demo, previously released as a bonus 7-inch with original vinyl pressing of Last Splash)
Invisible Man (previously released on 4AD label compilation, 13 Year Itch)
No Aloha (November 1992 demo, previously unreleased)
I Just Wanna Get Along (November 1992 demo, previously unreleased)
Mad Lucas (November 1992 demo, previously unreleased)
S.O.S. (November 1992 demo, previously unreleased)
Saints (November 1992 demo, previously unreleased)
900 (November 1992 demo, previously unreleased)
Iris (previously released on the No Alternative compilation album)

‘Safari’ EP – 10-inch vinyl
Do You Love Me Now?
Don’t Call Home
So Sad About Us

‘Cannonball’ EP – 10-inch vinyl
Lord Of The Thighs

‘Divine Hammer’ EP – 10-inch vinyl
Divine Hammer (single version)
I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)
Do You Love Me Now?

‘Head To Toe’ EP – 10-inch vinyl
Head To Toe
Shocker In Gloomtown
Freed Pig

Which gives me the perfect reason to post the following!

Some covers for Saturday


Last Friday’s covers seeemd to go down well, so I thought I’d post some more.

First up, two from The Breeders. ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ is taken from their debut album Pod, and originally appeared on The Beatles’ The Beatles (AKA The White Album). The second was by the Who, and appeared on the Breeders’ Safari EP. Some people have wondered if this was in reference to the fact that Kim Deal’s then other band The Pixies were about to call it a day.

The Breeders -‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun (The Beatles cover).’ mp3

The Breeders -‘So Sad About Us (The Who cover).’ mp3

Sticking with a 4AD related act, Belly’s cover of ‘Trust In Me’ appeared on the single of ‘Feed The Tree.’ The song originally appeared in The Jungle Book, and Siouxsie and the Banshees also did a version on their cover versions album Through The Looking Glass.

Belly -‘Trust In Me.’ mp3

A final 4AD track for today; both the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Automatic and the Pixies’ Trompe Le Monde are underrated albums in those bands’ respective and highly respectable back catalogues. ‘Head On’ by the Mary Chain was covered by the Pixies on their final (so far) studio album in 1991:

Pixies -‘Head On (Jesus and Mary Chain cover).’ mp3

Speaking of underrated albums…I still have a soft spot for Neil Young’s underrated 1982 synthesizer opus Trans. So do Sonic Youth, it would appear…

Sonic Youth -‘Computer Age (Neil Young cover).’ mp3

The Cardigans covered a number of Black Sabbath songs in their own style. Here they take on an Ozzy Osbourne solo track:

Cardigans -‘Mr. Crowley (live).’ mp3

Speaking of bands covering bands that seem to be polar opposites…

Shop Assistants -‘Ace Of Spades (Motorhead cover, John Peel session).’ mp3

Dinosaur Jr’s take on the Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’ has a very sudden ending; to the extent that for years I was convinced I had only ever heard incomplete versions…Duh!!

Dinosaur Jr -‘Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover).’ mp3

I’ve not posted a lot of Elton John or the Beastie Boys in five years of doing this blog, so why not kill two birds with one stone?

Beastie Boys -‘Benny and the jets (Elton John cover).’ mp3

…and finally, just for good measure:

X-Lion Tamer -‘Starsign (teenage fanclub cover).’ mp3

Keepingitpeel day, part 2


I know I’ve posted this before, but I thought I’d post this again in honour of Mr. Peel

Breeders -‘Hellbound (Peel session).’ mp3

Breeders -‘When I Was A Painter (Peel session).’ mp3

Breeders -‘Iris (Peel session).’ mp3

Breeders -‘Fortunately Gone (Peel session).’ mp3

For more info on the session, please see here. And if anyone knows who played bass or drums, I’d still like to know.


Two cover versions from The Breeders.

First up, this was taken from the Breeders first album Pod, which was recorded in Edinburgh (and is actually my favourite of their four albums):

Breeders -‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Breeders).’ mp3

…and this is from their Safari EP, which came out in 1992:

Breeders -‘So Sad About Us (Who cover).’ mp3

The Breeders – Kim Deal is still as cool as…


…Kim Deal.

And, like Susan Boyle, she sticks to her guns. This is the woman who credited herself as Mrs. John Murphy on the sleeve of Surfer Rosa, who used to dress as a secretary in sensible shoes at early Pixies gigs because it annoyed the punks, and who every so often gets The Breeders out for us.

Thier New EP, ‘Fate To Fatal’ is a four track release. there are limited versions around on vinyl to tie in with record Store day, but even my local indie store in Edinburgh couldn’t track it down. Whilst most of their stuff has come out on 4AD, this appears to be self-released, and they even appear to have changed their logo.

The Breeders -‘Fate To Fatal.’ mp3

and here’s the video…

The breeders -‘fate to fatal’

The Breeders website/The Breeders Myspace

The Breeders’ one and only Peel session

This is actually my 600th post, and I thought I would post this, the one and only Peel session by The Breeders.

The Breeders have been described as one of the most promising and frustrating bands to emerge in the last twenty years. They have prodcued some excellent stuff, but for what started as a ‘Supergroup’ (in the seventies sense of the word, where a band was formed out of a lot of people who were already in bands as a side project, see Crosby Stiils Nash & Young etc..) they soon started to become the main concern. However, in the time they have been around, they have produced four LPs.

When Kim Deal, then the bassist in the Pixies, got together with Tanya Donnelly, then in Throwing Muses, both must have been feeling that they were playing second fiddle in their own bands and that they also had a lot to offer the world.They did. The first album, Pod, was made in Edinburgh at Palladium Studios, and engineered by Steve Albini. This may be heresy in the blogger world (but I’ve already faced excommunication by some for not putting the Arcade Fire as my favourite band of all time, so what the hell), but Pod is actually my favourite of the four albums. This is the time that produced the only session they would record for John Peel, though the only song that made the Festive fifty, perhaps predictably, was ‘Cannonball.’

They recorded one Peel session for John Peel, in January 1990, which was broadcast the following month. All four tracks were written by Kim Deal

Breeders -‘Fortunately Gone (Peel session).’ mp3

Breeders -‘Hellbound (Peel session).’ mp3

Breeders -‘Iris (Peel session).’ mp3

Breeders -‘When I Was A Painter (Peel session).’ mp3

This lineup would change over time, Tanya Donnelly would leave both Throwing Muses and The Breeders, first two produce two albums as frontwoman of Belly, and then go solo; Kim Deal was joined by her sister Kelley later on, though they had other projects as well, including The Amps, The Kelley Deal 6000…a whole heap of other stories.

Maybe you should try here…
The Breeders’ website/The Breeders’ MySpace/An unofficial but utterly brilliant Breeders’ page