Archive for the ‘The Breeders’ Category


I’ve wanted to listen to more from The Roots ever since I was exposed to them on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  But as typically happens, I’m listening to other things instead.  So this seemed like a good opportunity to check them out (based on Samantha Irby’s rave below).

One of the best things about this recording (and The Roots in general) is Questlove’s drumming.  In addition to his being a terrific drummer, his drums sound amazing in this live setting.

Erykah Badu sings on the album but Jill Scott (Jilly from Philly) who wrote the part, sings here.

It starts out quietly with just a twinkling keyboard and Scott’s rough but pretty voice.  Then comes the main rapping verses from Black Thought.  I love the way Scott sings backing vocals on the verses and Black Thought adds backing vocals to the chorus.

Midway through the song, it shifts gears and gets a little more funky.  Around five minutes, the band does some serious jamming.  Jill Scott does some vocal bits, the turntablist goes a little wild with the scratching and Questlove is on fire.

Then things slow down for Scott to show off her amazing voice in a quiet solo-ish section.  This song shows off how great both The Roots and Jill Scott are.  Time to dig deeper.

[READ: November 1, 2020] Wow, no thank you.

This book kept popping up on various recommended lists.  The bunny on the cover was pretty adorable, so I thought I’d check it out. I’d never heard of Samantha Irby before this, but the title and the blurbs made this sound really funny.

And some of it is really funny. Irby is self-deprecating and seems to be full of self-loathing, but she puts a humorous spin on it all.  She also has Crohn’s disease and terribly irritable bowels–there’s lots of talk about poo in this book.

Irby had a pretty miserable upbringing.  Many of the essays detail this upbringing.  She also has low self-esteem and many of the essays detail that.  She also doesn’t take care of herself at all and she writes about that.  She also doesn’t really want much to do with children or dogs.  And yet somehow she is married to a woman with children.

From what some of these essays say, it sounds like she is married to this woman yet somehow lives an entirely separate life from the rest of the house.  It’s all rather puzzling, although I suppose if you are already a fan, you may know many of the details already. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE BREEDERS-Tiny Desk Concert #731 (April 16, 2018).

Gah!  The Breeders do a Tiny Desk Concert and you only get 3 songs in 11 minutes?

I understand that three songs is accepted for the Tiny Desk, but come on!  Other bands have been eking out nearly 20 minutes, you’ve got Kim Deal and the original line up in front of recording devices having a grand old time and you don’t ask for a fourth song. Well, perhaps they just didn’t want to.

The Breeders play three songs. Two new ones and one old one (which comes not from one of the albums with this original line up, but from Title TK).

What’s most notable about this Tiny Desk is just how goofy they all (especially Kim who is laughing almost throughout the whole show), it seems.

“MetaGoth” seems to open in the middle of the song, like they just started recording while they were jamming.  Josephine Wiggs is on lead guitar, Kim Deal is on bass and Kelley Deal is making some fascinating noises on her guitar (this is especially true later in the song when she seem to be simply scratching up and down the strings with her blue gloves).  Kim and Josephine are duetting lead vocals with Josephine speaking and Kim delicately singing over her.  About midway through the song we cam see that drummer Jim MacPherson is hitting heir roadie in the head with his brushes and the roadie is going “chhhh” to be a cymbal.  The song is weird and cool and very Breeders.

As they set up for “All Nerve” Josephine switches to bass, Kim takes acoustic guitar. Kelley stays on electric guitar but takes over as the spoken vocal  underneath Kim’s quiet leads.   Kelley’s voice is echoed pretty heavily and almost creepily.  It’s got a very cool sound, but is quite short.

“Off You” is a nearly 6 minute delicate, surf rock-feeling song.  The song begins with “Kim Deal’s faux-exasperation at Josephine Wiggs for starting a wind-up toy just before a song.”  Kelley says “you guys can sing along if you know the words.”  Kim chides, “no they’ll be out of pitch, Shut up Kelley.”  They start the song, “1, 2, here we go. fuck, shit, 1, 2, here we go” (Kim apparently messed up but it’s unclear to me what she did.  For this song Kelley switches to bass (and is apparently reading the sheet music).  She has taken off the blue wrist guards she had on.  Kim is on electric guitar and is playing it in a fascinating way–holding it almost vertically and strumming gently on the neck–laughing as she sings the vocals.  Jim doesn;t have anything to do and Josephine isn’t doing much for the first minute or so.  She is sitting up front on a desk but when the time comes she plays bass as well–doing some lead bass lines.  The roadie who was the cymbal is now playing the more lead guitar parts while Kim strums.  There’s a lot going on for such a quiet song.

As the Concert ends, Kim apparently stands at attention just repeating thank you, thank you.  Maybe they didn’t want to do four songs after all.

[READ: April 12, 2018] “How Did We Come to Know You?”

This was a fascinating story that went more or less around the world to talk about family.

Arkady left the Soviet Union with his mother and brother when he was 4.  He now finds himself back in Moscow looking after his elderly grandmother, who is nearly ninety.  As the story opens, he has grown a little tired of “babysitting” her and has let her go out by herself–where she falls on the stairs and needs a hospital.  The ambulance takes her nearly an hour away to a national hospital.

When they left the Soviet Union, Arkady’s brother Dima was 16.  Dima remained Russian in outlook and when the Soviet Union collapsed, he returned to Moscow.  Dima lived with his grandmother and was involved in all kinds of businesses.  He called Arkady to look after their grandmother because he was going to London for (no doubt questionable) business and he didn’t want anything to happen to his grandmother (or her apartment) while he was gone.

As it turns out, Arkady was happy to get out of New York for a time as well. (more…)

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harp janSOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Live Bait 10 (2014).

bait 10The last time I checked, there hadn’t been a new Live Bait release for quite some time.  I wasn’t even sure if there were going to be any more.  And then, when I was browsing the Phish site I saw that this had come out a few months ago.  It’s so hard to keep up.

This is yet another great selection of live songs.  There’s eleven songs in over three hours with most of them clocking in around 20 minutes.

“What’s the Use” opens this set.  It’s an amazing instrumental and one I haven’t heard them play very often.  It comes from The Siket Disc and is really stellar in this live setting (from 1999).  One of the great things about the Bait discs is they way the songs jump around from different years  So, the “Stash” from 1994 with its wild raging solos butts up nicely to the 30 minute “Tweezer” from 1995.  The band seems to have been really fun back then with the jam section of the song being really wild.  Right after the “Uncle Ebeneezer” line, they go nuts banging on their instruments.  The jam proceeds along until it comes to an almost staggered halt which morphs into The Breeder’s “Last Splash” (sort of).  The jump to 2010’s “The Connection” is only jarring because I haven’t heard too many live shows with this new song on it.  But it sounds great.

Disc Two (if you burn this to disc) starts with a great 24 minute version of “Down with Disease” from 2011, and then jumps back to 1998’s “Bathtub Gin” which is also kind of wild and zany.  I gather that their shows may have mellowed some over the years.  I like the way the jam section of this song returns to the melody of “Gin” since most of the time the jams just kind of fade out.  1992’s “My Sweet One” is a lot of fun.  There’s a really long intro before the lyrics (almost 3 and a half minutes) during which they play the Simpsons theme and Fish shouts “oh fuck” but who knows why.  There’s also thirty seconds of silence as they try to find the “pitch, pitch, pitch” before the final “name.”  “The Mango Song” is 18 minutes long.  The jam section starts around 5 minutes in and the first five minutes still sound like the Mango Song (because of the piano) then the last 8 are really trippy with lots of echoes.

Disc 3 opens with “Fee” which I always love to hear and assume they don’t play much anymore (based on nothing, really).  There’s a 5 minute jam before the start of “The MOMA Dance” which you can kind of tell is “The Moma Dance” but not really.  The song merges into “Runaway Jim.”  And the final song is a great version of “Chalk Dust Torture” from 2012 (as the liner notes state: Fans of recent performances will also find the “Chalk Dust Torture” played during the iconic “Fuck Your Face” set at Denver’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.)

Glad to have the Bait back.

[READ: March 21, 2015] “In a Waxworks”

This piece was translated from the Romanian by Michael Henry Heim and comes from Blecher’s Adventures in Immediate Irreality.  I don’t know what the full book is about and I found this excerpt to be more than a little puzzling.  Perhaps most fascinating though is that Blecher was born in 1909 and died in 1938 from tuberculosis of the spine.

It is a series of thoughts about the infinite and how thinking about things in reality would impact his thoughts about the infinite shadow–of birds in flight, the shadow of our planet, or even the vertiginous mountain chasms of caves and grottoes.

As he was a youngish man, thoughts turn to sex, and there’s some connection to a wax model of the inner ear.

But primarily the story concerns the world as a stage–as if life was some kind of artificial performance. He felt that the only person who could possibly understand the world the way he did was the town idiot. (more…)

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