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 Post subject: The Breeders
PostPosted: Fri March 16, 2018 5:26 pm 
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The Breeders just released their best record ever, so they deserve their own thread. I'll touch briefly on their albums to this point and then try to sell you all on the marvelous All Nerve.

Pod (1990): "Can the gal from The Pixies make a great record on her own?" Yep, turns out she can. Their core sound was fully formed on their debut, with short songs, stripped down arrangements, the Deal sisters' unique voices lilting through oddball lyrics, and a comical flirtation with hooks and melody. Just when a song threatens to turn into a potential radio hit, they avoid the easy hook, insert an ugly guitar solo, or just end the song altogether.

Last Splash (1993): Considered by most to be their strongest work, and for good reason. Their production and songwriting take a big step forward from Pod, with a fuller sound and more confident embrace of hooks. The 1-2 punch of "New Year" and "Cannonball" tells you everything you need to know about this record: Playful grunge-rock experimentation, middle-finger hooks, and some serious shredding can all be found. Years later, I still think it's a very strong album, but the under-hyped production keeps some of its best compositional moments from really taking off, and the decision to keep the Deals's voices lower in the mix comes off as an intentional avoidance at greater popularity.

(Hiatus): In which the Deal sisters wrestle with drug and alcohol addiction for about eight years.

Title TK (2002): Their return was both another step forward for their songwriting and production, and a frustrating exercise in being a Breeders fan. Drums are fuller, the aural space is again more stretched out and colored, and the Deals's voices are more front-and-center. But unless I've listened to this one recently, I always struggle to remember about half of what appears on the album, because a lot of it is fairly forgettable. The whole thing plays like a well-produced collection of demos.

Mountain Battles (2008): Talk about frustrating! This record offers a broad embrace of more diverse sounds -- the almost-epic bombast of "Overglazed," the minimalist and playful "Bang On" and "Istanbul," the more somber and measured "Night of Joy" and "We're Gonna Rise," and even the ridiculous Spanish-language "Regalame Esta Noche" all sit comfortably next to more mature takes on their standard-issue scuzz-pop of "German Studies" and "No Way." Too bad this record has one of the all-time worst mastering jobs I've ever heard. Imagine that The Breeders made their most mature record to date, and then the mastering engineer threw a sleeping bag over the speakers before you hit play.

Which brings us to...

All Nerve (2018): They finally make the record they've been threatening to make since 1990! With short songs, trademark spiky vocal tics, and a return to the pre-Mountain Battles sound of four people playing together in a room, it's very much a classic Breeders album. BUT! With their fullest, clearest production to date, lyrics that often paint heartbreaking pictures beneath their playful surfaces, actual guitar heroics, and most importantly, a grand embrace of big, epic choruses, they've made an album that combines the subversive, tiny garage-pop sensibilities of their first two records with the raw emotion of peak Pixies, Weezer (lots of choruses here remind me of Pinkerton), Hum, and every other band that knew how to execute the Nirvana-approved quiet/loud dynamics of mid-90s radio rock. The best part? Unlike Title TK and Mountain Battles, this plays as a cohesive album rather than a collection of songs. I'd say continued sobriety and that certain comfort in getting older have served this band very well, and I don't know what they offered Steve Albini and/or Greg Calbi to deliver an album that didn't have the trademark flatness of their usual collaborations, but holy cow, that little bump on the top end of the frequency spectrum compliments this record perfectly.

"Nervous Mary" is cut from the same DNA as Pearl Jam's "Breakerfall," with a frantic back-beat to this brief story of a girl trying to escape a bad situation:
Spoiler: show


"Wait In the Car" is a classic Breeders song, all bubblegum and knives with the amazing lyric "Wait in the car! I got business..."
Spoiler: show


"All Nerve," "Spacewoman," and "Dawn: Making An Effort" are the true standouts, each one taking their time setting a mid-tempo scene before exploding into a chorus that fills your ears with color and your heart with real emotion, rather than that detached kind of emotion that has been their stock-in-trade for so long.

Other tracks like "MetaGoth" and "Skinhead #2" continue to advance the core Breeders sound with newfound clarity, and the stunning closer "Blues at the Acropolis" is the perfect reminder that this is a Breeders album, after all: Just as the song finally leaps into the abyss it's been leaning over for 2:30, the listener is gifted the brief release of a massive crescendo, that gets immediately cut short.

With this album, The Breeders have embraced both clarity of thought and clarity of production, to offer something that is cohesive, focused, fully-formed, and not afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. Easily the best record of their career, and it boggles my mind that all the blogs are giving this album their version of a B. This is an A+ record by a band that has purposefully avoided swinging for the fences until now.


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Fri March 16, 2018 7:04 pm 
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Thanks for this- Love The Breeders and forgot they were releasing a new album this year. Will be listening this weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Fri March 16, 2018 8:14 pm 
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I've been meaning to give this a listen. Thanks for the reminder.


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Fri March 16, 2018 8:33 pm 
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yeah, i'm really loving this album. i listened to it last week in the background while working, but didn't really pay too close attention. about halfway through so far.


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Fri March 16, 2018 8:56 pm 
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:hooray: I've listened to it probably 30 times now, and it took a few spins to grow on me. At first I was like, "Oh, this new Breeders record is much better than the last couple." Then these little earworms starts finding their way into my psyche, and I'd be singing parts throughout the day. At 35 minutes long, it's easy to spin it a few times in a single day!


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Fri March 16, 2018 8:59 pm 
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Their new songs are probably a hell of a lot better than those awful new Pixies records.


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Sat March 17, 2018 6:34 pm 
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Skinhead #2 is the gem for me


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Sat March 17, 2018 9:35 pm 
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yeah that's a great one. one of the best bass guitar sounds in recent memory. the only track i think is a little weak is Archangel's Thunderbird, but the breakdown at the end earns it some goodwill.


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Mon March 19, 2018 9:30 pm 
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I havent finished yet, but i liked what i heard so far.

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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Mon March 19, 2018 9:39 pm 
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I really liked the first few songs and then my interest dropped off rapidly as the album went on. I'll try again at some point.


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Tue March 20, 2018 8:25 pm 
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Its good yeah. I like it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Tue March 20, 2018 8:25 pm 
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thought about picking this up at the store last night, but gonna wait for the price to inevitably come down. it's good.


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Wed March 21, 2018 12:57 pm 
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bodysnatcher wrote:
thought about picking this up at the store last night, but gonna wait for the price to inevitably come down. it's good.

wait too long and McCready will snatch out from under you.

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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Wed March 21, 2018 5:39 pm 
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E.H. Ruddock wrote:
bodysnatcher wrote:
thought about picking this up at the store last night, but gonna wait for the price to inevitably come down. it's good.

wait too long and McCready will snatch out from under you.


Mike McGreedy


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Thu March 22, 2018 5:58 pm 
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Lots of people claiming to "like" this album. I'm sorry, that's not the correct response. I'm going to tackle each song individually in the coming days, starting with the stellar opener "Nervous Mary."

Amazon Music:
Spoiler: show
https://music.amazon.com/albums/B078758L2Y?trackAsin=B07879SW5D&ref=dm_sh_4b7f-839f-dmcp-84f9-18c66&musicTerritory=US&marketplaceId=ATVPDKIKX0DER


Spotify:
Spoiler: show
https://open.spotify.com/track/41GUOZ5SuzCinHFirNUow7


Youtube:
Spoiler: show


Lyrics:
Spoiler: show
Madrid (my dread?) in my nose
Black lung in my hand
West, by God, Virginia in my head
Heartbeat, hustle and pound
She's running down the wrong street
Long beat, faster boy
Nervous Mary had a nervous day
Oxbow, strange glow
She runs for the exit but she never got away
Rogue goat
Run but she never got away
Hot road, run for it
Nervous Mary had a nervous day
Boss better than stolen
I'll scream in the meadow 'til you're bold then
Aheeyah, Aheeyah
Run for your life, they're coming upon us
Oxbow, strange glow
She runs for the exit but she never got away
Rogue goat
Run but she's never far away
Hot road, run for it
Nervous Mary had a nervous day


I mentioned in my original post that this song reminded me of Breakerfall, and I wonder if anyone else can hear it? It's a sharp, spunky little number, equal parts tension and joy. I love the "Rogue goat" hook, which, when the other lyrics are taken into consideration, raises the possibility that this song is not about a woman trying to escape a situation, but perhaps it's about a goat running away from a farm.

The girls sound awesome, the little guitar fills are great fun, and that back beat is played with great restraint. I love the descending chords just prior to the first "Rogue goat," and the bass slide that follows provides a nice little release from that tension.

More than anything, I love how this song sets the tone for the album that follows. It sounds very much like a band in a room, and the immediate sense of dread mixed with playfulness continues throughout the entire record. It's a doom-laden song that's catchy as fuck.

5/5


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Thu March 22, 2018 6:44 pm 
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:thumbsup:

man, i fucking love that song. it's my fave song of 2018 so far


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Thu March 22, 2018 6:45 pm 
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bodysnatcher wrote:
:thumbsup:

man, i fucking love that song. it's my fave song of 2018 so far

Marry me.


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Thu March 22, 2018 8:07 pm 
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I only listened to it once but plan on giving it more listens.
I enjoy your write-ups, trag.

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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Thu March 22, 2018 8:47 pm 
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chewm wrote:
I only listened to it once but plan on giving it more listens.
I enjoy your write-ups, trag.

Thanks chewm. The Deal sisters deserve all the credit today. 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: The Breeders
PostPosted: Fri March 23, 2018 3:46 pm 
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"Wait In The Car"

Youtube:
Spoiler: show


Amazon:
Spoiler: show
https://music.amazon.com/albums/B078758L2Y?trackAsin=B07873W8R3&ref=dm_sh_4f51-79a2-dmcp-28b4-4963c&musicTerritory=US&marketplaceId=ATVPDKIKX0DER


Spotify:
Spoiler: show
https://open.spotify.com/track/2BmE0lAasjanrH1osnszvK


Lyrics:

Spoiler: show
Good morning!
Consider I
Always struggle with the right word
Meow meow meow meow meow
As a sinner I unlock
Nothing but me
Sinner I
Sinner I
Sinner I
Oh oh, oh oh
Mother wants to hold me down
Oh oh, oh oh
Wait in the car
I got business
Forget the sun
Time to get off, taking a nap
'Cause strategies are for punks
Mother wants to hold me down
Mother wants to hold me down
Gonna chase the stars
Making a map
Scraping off the sky
Just to fall back
Sinner I
Sinner I
Sinner I
Oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh, oh oh


The album's second track is the most familiar Breeders song on the album. They've written songs just like this several times before, but that doesn't diminish it's fun in the slightest.

Perhaps more than any other song on the album, this track is a great example of Kim Deal's powers as a vocalist. Many singers will spend the entire length of a song (or sometimes longer) trying to develop a character that the listener can connect with. But Kim is able to offer a range of characters in a single 2-minute song, by coupling some short, clever lyrics with her unique singing style:

I can't help but think of Kim's continued sobriety when she opens with a clear-eyed "Good morning!" Seconds later she's someone more playful and irreverent, with that great "meow meow meow meow meow" bit. Next she embodies a pissed off teenager, with her teeth clenched, hissing her delivery of "Mother wants to hold me down." And the song's high point comes when, in just eight syllables, she creates a fully-fleshed out character with the amazing line "Wait in the car! I got biz-ness!" With those few words, I can picture some sassy broad telling her keep to stay put while she takes care of shit.

I have no idea what this song is about; my best guess is that it's painting a pastiche sort of power struggle between a teenager and her guardian -- or perhaps it's about a pet and her guardian? -- but I really have no clue. What blows my mind is that despite the oblique approach the song takes to its storytelling, it's still remarkably fun, super catchy, and the lyrics all hit their mark despite their apparent disconnect (Kim even seems to acknowledge this disconnect with the line "Strategy's for punks!"). I can't think of any other band that could deliver this song with such panache.

5/5


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