The Breeders The Band, It's A Band

The Breeders The Band, It's A Band
Kim Deal has always been in bands — as a bassist in the pioneering indie rockers the Pixies, as the leader of the Breeders (first with Throwing Muses' Tanya Donelly, then with her twin sister Kelley), then in a side-project as the Amps. But as band members went more than they came, the indie rock DIY environment in which Kim had flourished evolved into the bedroom-recording beats of pulsing dance and Kim realised "No one wanted to be in a band; no one wanted to be in a room with five people working on a part — you could do that at home in front of your computer." It's her primary rant for our entire hour-long conversation.

Kim and Kelley Deal are old school — in their recording approach, in their rock'n'roll lifestyle (Bud and endless cigarettes on a sunny spring afternoon in Toronto), and in their stubborn denial to give up on the magic of musicians playing together. It's this last obsession that has kept Kim Deal from finishing a follow-up to the Breeders 1993 smash Last Splash, which arrives this month in the form of Title TK (tk is journalism shorthand for "to come" — for years it applied to the Breeders album itself). Her insistence on avoiding anything digital — she's easily imagined as a crotchety coot declaring it "newfangled" — meant endless lost time in countless studios: there was the one that didn't have an analog metronome "click" track for her to play drums to; there was the one that humoured her by spinning a tape machine for her to see while triggering the recording digitally; there were three successful tracks recorded with old-school engineer Steve Albini before she decided that even with a successful completed album, she still needed a band.

In the time (and lots of money) spent in and out of recording studios since 1997, Kim Deal found few musicians she could jam with, who would be willing to tour a record. Once the pieces were assembled — from members of reincarnated L.A. punks Fear and the drummer from pop-punkers 22 Jacks — the album was done six months later, again with "just do what you do" Albini getting sounds to tape. Real tape.

Most surprising is that the result is an excellent album that sounds, at its best, tossed off. Title TK is loose, sloppy, catchy, full of endearing mistakes, and not at all the obsessively pored-over piece of perfection one might expect. "I think it might be a little refreshing," chimes in drummer Jose Medeles, "to not hear a wiggety wack, a rap thrown in there. It's genuine — it's just rock." It just remains to be seen if Kim and Kelley Deal have finally found comrades in it for the long haul; they both want to finish another record within a year. "I want to be the first drummer to play on two Breeders records," Medeles quips. "I'm gonna squash the myth that Kim has ex-drummers heads mounted in her room. Tell the next guy, that was my goal."