After eight years of rest, rehab and whirlwind recording sessions, the Breeders are finally ready to make another splash in the music world.
Former Pixies bassist Kim Deal and her side-project-turned-chart-topping-power-pop-band are just a few days away from completing their first album since 1993’s Last Splash.
Tentatively titled Title TK, a clever reference to the journalism symbol meaning “to come,” the album was produced by Ã¼ber-producer Steve Albini in his Electric Audio Recording Studio in Chicago.
“The record as a collection covers a lot of territory,” said Albini, who produced and engineered records for both the Pixies and Breeders, as well as Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Bush, PJ Harvey and Helmet. “There’s some sort of classically sweet melodic songs. And there are some really strange mood pieces.”
Deal set out to record the third Breeders full-length with a new band in New York City three years ago. At the time, Kim’s twin sister, Kelley Deal, was in rehab, so the second incarnation of the Breeders, which featured Kelley on guitar, was on permanent hiatus (the first incarnation included Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly).
“The band disintegrated under her while she was in New York, and she didn’t get anything of merit recorded,” Albini explained. “She got burned by that experience, so she decided, ‘Screw it. I’ll take a year or two and I’ll learn to play drums and I’ll play everything myself.’ ”
Kim entered Albini’s studio in 1999 and recorded a handful of songs mostly on her own, though Kelley added guitar parts to a few tracks. “Then Kim met the guys in her current band and thought she might be able to realize her dream of having a permanent band that would record and tour and be committed,” Albini said.
That line-up – guitarist Richard Presley and bassist Mondo Lopez of the Los Angeles punk band Fear, drummer Jose Medeles of 22 Jacks along with sister Kelley – spent nearly a year of rehearsing and played an unannounced club show in L.A. before recording the album with Albini this year.
“I’m really, really thrilled that [Kim] got hooked up with these guys, because they are really first-rate musicians and total sweethearts,” Albini said. “They’re dead reliable.”
Although Albini said the basic idea for Title TK was to structure it around a band and not a lead performer, three songs from Kim’s solo sessions made the cut.
“Those sound a bit more piecemeal,” Albini said. “They’re a bunch of interesting sounds layered together in almost a collage manner. But they fit together well, it’s not like one of those records where people record a million things and sort it out later.”
The rest of the material is more straightforward rock band stuff, but with oblique, sometimes spooky lyrics, Albini added. “Kim’s got an atypical taste on music and the things that excite her about her songs are the strange little moments of interest rather than say, a great chord progression or cool riff.”
Title TK will include a track called “Little Fury,” named after “those little switch blades that you can buy at truck stops that say Fury on them,” according to Albini. It features call and response vocals between Kim and Kelley. “You can really hear the character differences between their two voices,” he added.
Another song slated for the album is “The She,” which Albini called “a creepy, moody song that, if I understand correctly, is about a discotheque her brother used to go to in the ’70s.”
Kim Deal declined to be interviewed for this story.
Title TK will be released by the Breeders’ and Pixies’ longtime label, 4AD. The album is on pace for a fall release, Albini said.
The Breeders will perform several new tunes, along with material from 1990’s Pod, “Cannonball” and other hits from Last Splash and maybe a song or two from Deal’s short-lived other side project, the Amps, at their first announced show in five years Saturday at Chicago’s 3,000-capacity Congress Theater.
Albini, whose music career started in the ’80s cult band Big Black, will make an appearance with his band, Shellac, August 17 and 18 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco with Neurosis and Japan’s Zeni Geva.