In the middle of a busy street in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, The Breeders took a brief break from touring to shoot a homemade video for ‘Nervous Mary’, from their 2018 album, All Nerve. Puppet versions of Kim and Kelley Deal – dressed in custom-knitted outfits made by Finnish fan and professional puppet-maker Milla Risku – go wild performing the song as their real-life counterparts sing live vocals off camera.
“Nervous Mary” is the story of an escaped farm animal.
Run but she never got away
Nervous Mary had a nervous day
Have you ever seen a wild animal running down a busy freeway? They look so terrified. These puppets, on the other hand, do not look scared at all.
The Breeders - Joanne (Filmed at Electrical Audio, Chicago)
All Nerve is out March 2 on 4AD. “Joanne” is not on the album.
“Joanne” is one of my favorite songs of all time. I first heard it back in college when Leppotone supergroup Twister covered it live at Club Soda in Kalamazoo. I was already a huge Monkees fan but had not yet discovered the solo work of Mike Nesmith. It quickly became an obsession as I gathered up as many Nez albums as I could find in the used record bins.
Just recently, Nesmith reformed his “First National Band” and played some shows in California. Nez is the only original member since pedal steel virtuoso Red Rhodes and bassist John London are dead and drummer John Ware was not interested. But it’s still awesome that Nesmith is back into playing the style of country rock that he helped create years before Glenn Frey ever met Don Henley. (Just listen to “Papa Gene’s Blues,” which Nez wrote and produced for the first Monkees album in 1966.)
Anyway, Kim Deal does a fine acoustic cover, recorded — and apparently filmed — by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago. And while “Joanne” is not included on the upcoming Breeders album, it does appear as the b-side of the “Wait in the Car” single that is included in the vinyl bundle from 4AD.
The Breeders are back with their Last Splash lineup (the Deal twins, Jim Macpherson, and Josephine Wiggs). Pretty exciting. Last Splash is still a great album and its production is so weird and trippy. Not much evidence that any new stuff is going to be that freaky sounding, judging by the new single, but “Wait in the Car” rocks and still has that classic Breeders vibe of fun mayhem.
I’ve seen a lot of criticism of big music festivals lately. Some of it is valid: the radius clauses imposed by organizers can clearly hurt local venues and the local music scene. And I can’t think of a single band I’ve seen outside that wouldn’t have been better inside a dark club or theater. That said, fests offer a lot of things that you’re just not going to get when you go to a regular show.
I went to the Pitchfork Music Festival on Saturday and had a great time. There were three bands that I really wanted to see and several others that I was curious about. That’s enough for a solid day of music. You don’t need to love every single band. It’s good to have holes in your schedule so you can get some food, reapply sunscreen, and sit on a blanket in the shade. Downtime is essential if you don’t want to burn yourself out.
If you don’t have to travel too far, there’s no shame in getting a single day ticket. It’s important to realize that you don’t need to see everything. Don’t stress out about getting inside much before the start time of the first band you care about. On Saturday Phosphorescent was one of my three must-see bands and they started at 2:30. Sure, it might have been cool to see White Lung and Pissed Jeans, but you know what’s even cooler? A leisurely brunch at Wishbone.
We rolled in and found a good spot just in time to see Matthew Houck and his crew take the stage. The sun was beating down on us pretty hard, which made me happy we hadn’t arrived any earlier. Union Park is small enough that I could slip away for beer and be back before the end of the song.
After that, we threw down the blanket in a shady spot close enough to Trail of Dead’s stage so my pals could move up close for a while. During this chill time we met up with some other folks and spent some time critiquing the fashion choices of our fellow attendees. Happy to see nobody’s wearing corduroys in the summer anymore, but man, what’s up with all the half shirts?
We left the shade to check out Savages for a bit but got hungry after a few songs and left to eat some felafel under a tree.
At this point you might be wondering why I would spend $50 to sit on a blanket with my friends. And I would answer that sitting on a blanket with my friends is one of my favorite things to do at music festivals and something I never do anywhere other than at music festivals. I like drinking beer and eating felafels and watching people and listening to music. When something piques my interest I can get up and walk over and check it out.
I haven’t attended the Forkfest since 2010 but in past years I remember feeling old. Maybe it’s the fact that all the guys have geezer beards now, or maybe the Breeders and Belle and Sebastian appeal more to my demographic, but the crowd didn’t seem that young to me this year. But it’s still fun to see a bunch of weirdos baking in the sun while Swans pummel everyone.
I was excited to see the Breeders play Last Splash. It’s a meticulously produced album that is stranger sounding than almost any other alt-pop from the 90s. Live, though, they were perfectly shambolic. As my man JTL put it, they “brought the slacker cool epically.” I’ve seen the Pixies a few times since they reunited and I’ve never seen Kim Deal smile as much as she did on Saturday. They were scrappy and the mix wasn’t great, but whatever. The band was having fun and it was infectious.
After their set we jockeyed for a good position where we could still see Solange but be up close for Belle and Sebastian an hour later. B&S was the reason I bought tickets the day they went on sale. I saw them once before way back in 2006, and it was a great concert. If you think of them as wimpy and twee you really need to see them live. They rock harder than you’d think, and they put on a super entertaining show. There aren’t a ton of bands that I’d stand around in the rain to see, but Belle and Sebastian is one of them.
Once the rain got heavier, our densely packed spot opened up a little and we had enough room to put on ponchos and dance (gently). I kept looking up at the sky, nervous that the show would be stopped early as Bjork’s set had been the previous night. We were lucky and got a full set.
As we left the park my wet shoes squished through the grass and mud. Sure, there are things about fests that you can complain about, things that are less comfortable than they could be, things that are goofy or annoying, but like most things in life it’s about your attitude. If you go in with a good attitude you can have a good time. Realistic expectations and a flexible plan will help too.
A friend’s dad ran for state government back in the day with the slogan: Aim high, hang loose, keep moving. I’m not sure if he won or lost the election, but that’s my motto when I head into a fest. See you at Lollapalooza!
Shame on me for not keeping up to speed on Kim Deal. Like many people, I just plain stopped paying attention. It’s not that I dislike her; in fact, I regard the first two Breeders records very highly and think that they hold up well today. But there are dozens of albums, artists, memories, whatever, from the 90s that I’ve left behind to collect dust. The Breeders just happened to fall into that category, right next to Belly, Veruca Salt, Boss Hogg, et all.
Thanks to a Pixies reunion, the new Breeders album is receiving a lot more press than the band’s true reunion album, Title TK, which I completely overlooked when it was released.
So here I am, proving that the additional hype courtesy of that aforementioned reunion must have worked, because I’m suddenly catching up with Kim, reading all about her and her sister’s addictions, and noticing in the process that The Breeders circa ’08 are missing half of the members that helped Last Splash sell over a million copies.
Nitpicking aside, this new version the band itself all about Kim who returns with a wonderfully brief and curiously subdued effort that totally ignores any attempt at commercial appeal. It opts to bypass those infectious songs and focus instead on delivering a low-key effort intent on creative progression.
You know, [Stephen] Malkmus is being a bit of a bitch in interviews recently. One thing he said last summer referred to me as “trashy mouth.” And he just did this article in Spin where he alluded to me unpleasantly, saying [something like], “You know, I always thought that Pavement could have had one of those big hits in the early ’90s with ‘Cut Your Hair,’ but I guess people preferred ‘Cannonball.'” […] I liked Pavement. But if he keeps fucking smacking his mouth off about me, I’m going to end up not being able to listen to any of their fucking records again. Anyway, I thought, God, man, “Cut Your Hair” isn’t as good of a song as “Cannonball,” so fuck you. How’s that? Your song was just a’ight, dawg.
Awwwwww shit. This is going to make Biggie vs. Tupac look like a couple kittens fighting over a ball of yarn. We’re all gonna have to choose sides in this war. Better get strapped.
The new Breeders record is scheduled to be released in April 2008. There are 13 songs. Mando Lopez is still on bass, Jose Medeles on drums, Kelley Deal, my evil twin, on guitar and vocals, and I’m playing guitar and vocals.
The songs are just songs. But for instance, one song Kelley and I did live. She played stand-up bass and I played acoustic guitar while we sang. Steve Albini taped it live like that. Yet another song has Kelley playing bass and Mando playing rhythm guitar. I’m playing the lead and Kelley and I are singing throughout. One song has Mando playing a lead guitar which Albini then backward masked. One song has three, count ’em, three basses on it….
Exciting stuff for those of us in the alternative nation, ha ha. Just like VH1, we love the 90s.
Update: Stream a new song, “We’re Gonna Rise,” on myspace. How about that!
These demos were “originally meant to be the second Breeders album,” and Kim Deal plays the counter-lead stuff on this track. Of course, Tanya ended up forming Belly and a new version of “Feed the Tree” was their first single (reaching #1 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock Tracks) and appeared on their 1993 debut, Star. “Take your hat off, boy, when you’re talking to me…”