T. Cole Rachel
It is not possible to overstate the importance of Kim Deal. As a member of the Pixies and a founding member of the Breeders, she has made some of the most deeply compelling — not to mention some of the most compellingly influential — music of the past three decades. Though she is not currently playing in the Pixies (a subject that she is very happy not to talk about), she is no less busy than she has ever been. The Breeders recently wrapped up a lengthy tour in celebration of the 20th anniversary their seminal 1993 album, Last Splash. The tour proved to be such a success (and apparently such a good time) that the band — featuring the Last Splash-era lineup of Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim Macpherson — are currently working on music together for an all-new Breeders record. In addition, Kim continues to release music in her ongoing 7″ solo series. The fourth installment in that series — two songs recorded with LA musician Morgan Nagler (“The Root” and “Range On Castle”) — was released on April 1. Much like the other singles in the series, Deal’s latest release is a decidedly lo-fi and somewhat scrappy affair — a kind of playful, somewhat insouciant version of what Deal does so well on her full-length endeavors. Still, it would be wrong to think of her singles as somehow less serious or mindfully conceived. Taken as a whole, the eight songs Deal has released so far via the singles represent some of her most sublime and most Kim Deal-iest music to date, not to mention some of the loveliest. After speaking to Deal about her work, it’s easy to see why so many legions of music fans remain obsessed with her. She has an almost workmanlike devotion to music-making and clearly doesn’t give too much of a fuck about the rest of the music business. While so many of her contemporaries have burned out, retired, or simply given in to the easy lure of becoming a nostalgia act, Kim Deal — one of rock music’s most fantastically individual talents — just becomes more and more herself.
Next week Slasher Flicks — the cosmic power trio comprised of Animal Collective’s Avey Tare, Angel Deradoorian (formerly of Dirty Projectors), and Jeremy Hyman (formerly of Ponytail) — will release their first proper full-length album, Enter The Slasher House. The band makes music that could almost serve as a tripped-out (and slightly more accessible) cousin to Animal Collective — like a prog-rock trio that has eaten too many mushrooms and wandered into a kind of murder-filled woods as imagined in some long-lost ’70s horror movie. For Avey Tare, Slasher Flicks offers a kind of creative respite from the rigors of Animal Collective while still allowing him to stretch his psych-loving legs in a band setting. The record — which is densely layered with guitars, kaleidoscopic percussion, and a variety of modular synths — was actually recorded mostly live with a minimum of overdubs. The press materials for Enter The Slasher House describe the band’s desire to create music that conjures up a “pure emotional space” and that comes from “a place that’s not human,” which is an admirably Altered States kind of goal for any record that lifts its visual aesthetic from old scary movies. Those eager to get their minds slashed early can now hear the entire record in the form of a “visual stream” that was created by Avey’s sister, Abby Portner. Otherwise, you can (and should) buy the record next week.
Anyone who has ever listened closely to Kevin Drew’s songs — or logged any interview time with him — will tell you that Drew is quite unabashedly a lover, not a fighter. A self-described “failed romantic,” Drew’s songwriting oeuvre — both as a member of Broken Social Scene and as a solo artist — is filled with tunes that explore the various ways, both physical and emotional, that people attempt to connect with each other. At a time when so many dudes in indie rock seem to conflate sensitivity and sexlessness, Drew stands out for having never shied away from digging into the nuts-and-bolts and bodily fluids of human intimacy. Given that the first single from his forthcoming solo album, Darlings, is called “Good Sex” — the sorta-NSFW video for which we are premiering below — it would stand to reason that the album might easily be the most forcefully lascivious thing Drew has ever created. And in some ways it is. That being said, Darlings is also arguably the most swooningly romantic and perhaps the most wonderfully humane thing Drew has ever dreamt up. Much of the record was written at the same time Drew was also working on songs with famed Canadian songwriter Andy Kim (the man responsible for classic megahits like “Sugar Sugar” and “Rock Me Slowly”), and that experience seems to have provided a much-needed shot in the arm. The unfussy, sanguine nature of many of Darlings’ best tracks (“It’s Cool,” “You Gotta Feel It”) signals a quiet shift in perspective. While so much of the energy in Broken Social Scene often felt decidedly fraught — the resulting collision of so many personalities and points of view — Drew’s solo work on Darlings sounds remarkably relaxed. Though Drew says that the record is about “the rise and fall of love and sex,” the album feels less like a hook-up or a make-out session and more like a nice hug — a warm embrace and a pat on the back from someone who loves you… and may or may not try to sleep with you later. I called up Kevin Drew at his home in Canada, where he was simultaneously nursing a beer and taking a bath. We talked for over an hour, mostly about — surprise! — sex, love, and making music.
I approve of this cat-oriented artwork. And the song.
With all due respect, I can only WISH that my name was Z. Cole Rachel Smith.
Thanks for your comments.
I generally enjoy that my Stereogum interviews are casual and conversational, but maybe you’re right–I probably could have cut some of our initial chatter. In any case, I hope there was at least something in the interview you enjoyed. I don’t want anyone to feel like their time is being wasted.
I wish. I would love to be able to take credit for writing “How Long Have You Known?”
Yes, total spellcheck malfunction. I could die a thousand deaths for not spotting that, as Icky Mettle truly is one of my favorite albums of all time. SORRY, FOLKS.
Yes, “When The President Talks to God” is a stand-alone single that Bright Eyes released in 2005. I didn’t necessarily mean to imply that it was included on “Wide Awake.”
I stand totally–and accurately–corrected. For some reason The Feelies have always felt like a predecessor to those bands, but clearly that is only a reality in my overcluttered brain. Thanks for setting me straight.