Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.
My three favorite kinds of Review Revue posts, in descending order of rarity, are albums with some kind of relevance to the present day; albums to which I have some personal connection; and albums with a whole bunch of long, interesting comments. Well this must be my lucky week, as the Breeders' debut album happens to tick every one of those boxes delightfully. Pod was a mainstay of my high school music-listening (I just listened to it for the first time in maybe 20 years and it was like meeting a beloved old friend in the street); the Breeders have a (kickass) brand new album out (and they're playing the Showbox Sodo April 13th!); and . . . well, the cover speaks for itself - or I guess I should say the 1990 KCMU DJs speak for themselves. Which I will now step aside and let them do.
"Kim! Try 'Smoke Enders.'" [I'm confused; this doesn't appear to be a song on this album, or a Breeders song?]
"'Opened' is cool also."
"Subtle from start to finish - just like the Pixies - but more like their [illegible] stuff. Lovely!"
"I work in a record store where I've gotten to hear the Pixies EVERY FUCKING DAY for 2 yrs now. I'm sick of them! So I can't help but prefer this to them. As good as I'd hoped it would be . . . like Kim Gordon, Kim Deal is one of the unsung heroines of rock. 'Do' is heartbreakingly beautiful. Kim's voice makes me happy. This band also includes Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses), Josephine Wiggs (ex-Perfect Disaster), & Shannon Dougton (?). Produced [ahem, 'recorded'] by Steve Albini (very well, too!). 'Happiness . . .' is an excellent cover. 'Hellbound' rocks. A lot of this sounds very Velvet Undergroundish, esp. because of the addition of cello. 'Fortunately Gone' is a sweet & pretty pop song . . . those are my faves, but all are swell, excellent cover art, too! 1 of my favorite LPs of '90 - easy!"
"Shannon Doughton is Steve Albini's girlfriend." [this comment crossed out]
"Actually, Shannon Doughton is a man [Britt Walford, in fact] and is thus not Steve Albini's girlfriend. I was given false info."
"Way cool. 'Kim is a cheerleader who got kicked off the squad in high school for smoking cigarettes.' Someone said that + it fits. Was it Dave Ehrich?"
"I wish I'd said that! -DE"
"'Lime House' is nice, too .. . . the last interview w/the Pixies I read quoted their guitarist as saying 'Women can't play guitar,' and Kim Deal told him to 'fuck off,' [Is there anything out there to corroborate this???] so maybe this record (8 months after the interview) is her answer, + a good one to boot." [If you've ever made or released a record before, that timeline will be incredibly dubious at best, but whatever.]
"Been waiting for this one for a long time and it's worth it. Allegedly a 4AD 'all star' project, it sounds more like a Kim Deal solo project. She wrote 9 of the songs (she co-wrote 2 and there's a Beatles cover) and sings lead on all of them. Not as Pixiesish (or pixyish) as you might think, but it has that definite familiar undertow. I think they took their name from Margaret Atwood's book, The Handmaid's Tale. I don't think there's any question where this belongs . . ." [I.e., in heavy rotation]
"'Breeder' is also gay slang. It refers to heterosexuals. 'The Breeders/Pod' reminds me of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Anyhow, I like everything I've heard. But it's always at the back of the damn bin!" [Meaning another DJ has just played it.]
This week we're looking at the second album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who now need no introduction, but in 1985 were far from a household name.