The Breeders was the name of the occasional duo act Kim and Kelley Deal performed in Dayton, Ohio in the early 1980s. In 1989, while a member of the Pixies, Kim resurrected the name for a project she intended to record with her friends Tanya Donelly (then of Throwing Muses, later of Belly), Josephine Wiggs, bassist for the British band the Perfect Disaster, and violinist Carrie Bradley. While recording a song with the Pixies in Chicago, Kim met drummer Britt Walford of the later-legendary Slint, and he agreed to play drums for the project, provided he could use an assumed name. The Breeders retreated to Edinburgh, Scotland, and recorded the album Pod (released in May 1990, with Britt Walford credited as "Shannon Doughton") with Steve Albini. Pod was completed well ahead of schedule, and with studio time already booked, The Breeders recorded a Peel Session.
Following the success of their debut and a number of line-up changes, The Breeders (now comprising Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim MacPherson) recorded Last Splash in San Francisco while living on houseboats. After its release in August of 1993, the band toured with Nirvana, sold a few million records and scored a big hit with the song âCannonballâ, with the video for that song directed by Kim Gordon and filmmaker Spike Jonze.
The raucous lifestyle of touring, however, was to take its toll in several ways. Kelley developed a drug problem, which caused much-documented disruption, while Josephine wanted time to live a more stationary life in her adopted home, New York. As Kim was still anxious to make more records and play more shows, she formed a new interim band, The Amps with Jim MacPherson, but during all this activity, Jim managed to father a couple of children, and began to feel the pull of a normal family life. Kim would have to start again.
In the summer of 1999, Kim and Kelley recorded a session at a studio in Austin, Texas, and another session at Electrical Audio in Chicago, beginning the first batch of songs to be completed for a new album. As a practical matter, Kim recorded most of the instruments on these sessions herself, because she had trouble finding people with the mettle to play in a band. Some time during the winter of 1999-2000, Kim met the members of the indestructible veteran Los Angeles punk band Fear at a bar in New York. Sensing instantly that these were brilliant and confident men capable of anything, she invited them to play informally with her that evening. In a move that makes âleap of faithâ sound timid, she decided that night that she would move to East Los Angeles, where the band resides, and begin playing in earnest with them as a new incarnation of the Breeders. These men, guitarist Richard Presley (distant relative of Elvis Presley and nephew of Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star), bassist Mando Lopez and drummer Andrew Jaimez rehearsed and wrote songs together for most of the year 2000.
Andrew was sharing his time between The Breeders, Fear and several other projects, and eventually decided he couldn't dedicate sufficient time to The Breeders and the band recruited another East Los Angeles friend, Jose Medeles to complete the lineup. These four, augmented by Kelley Deal, constitute The Breeders, and this group completed the album with another series of sessions at Electrical Audio, and Grand Master (in Hollywood, California). Steve Albini was the principal engineer for the Electrical Audio sessions, though âproductionâ was the exclusive domain of Kim and the band in collaboration. Title TK was released in May 2002, a month after The Breeders headlined both weekends of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Camber Sands in southern England.
It would be six years before The Breeders released another album â a period in which Kim entered rehab and re-entered the Pixies â but it was well worth the wait. Recorded (separately) by Steve Albini, Erika Larson, Manny Nieto and Ben Mumphrey, and featuring both Deal sisters plus Title TK vets Jose Mendeles and Mando Lopez, Mountain Battles cemented Kimâs status as âone of the foremost pop technicians of her generationâ. It is by turns goofy, groovy, melancholic, strung-out, catchy, atmospheric and, at times, impossibly lovely, the songs moving from offhand charm to emotional truth with casual grace. Scuffed-up noise balances against fraught silence; timeless structures rub against strange new shapes. And throughout, of course, there's Kim's unique voice - languid, urgent, bruised and beautiful. Mountain Battles captured all the bittersweet electricity of The Breedersâ classics â Pod and Last Splash â whilst managing to break fresh ground.
The deluxe, vinyl edition of LSXX by The Breeders will finally be available to buy from September 2nd.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Last Splash, this long-awaited, deluxe edition will include three LPs (Last Splash, live album The Stockholm Syndrome and an LP of demos, rare tracks and session takes) and four 10" EPs (Safari, Cannonball, Divine Hammer and Head to Toe), all housed in a beautiful box with the artwork having been reimagined by the original sleeve's designer, Vaughan Oliver. It also comes with an extensive booklet, charting the recording of the album and it's legacy twenty years on.
This set is being pressed only once and is likely to sell out quickly. This is your final chance to pre-order it before it goes on general sale.
LSXX, the 20th anniversary edition of Last Splash by The Breeders is released today as a deluxe 3CD boxset.
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. Full tracklisting available here.