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The Breeders

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The Breeders
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Perhaps the first alternative rock supergroup, The Breeders’ genesis came during the Pixies’ 1988 European tour alongside 4AD labelmates Throwing Muses – when Pixies bassist Kim Deal and Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly opted to team up for an extracurricular side project. Dubbing the new band “The Breeders” – after the mid-1970s folk-rock group that Dayton-based Deal had earlier formed with her sister Kelley – they recorded a demo that promptly got them signed by 4AD chief Ivo Watts-Russell. The Breeders – now including The Perfect Disaster’s Josephine Wiggs on bass – spent December 1989 in Edinburgh, Scotland, recording their debut album, Pod, with renowned recording engineer Steve Albini behind the board. Released initially on 4AD/Rough Trade, Pod was a critically acclaimed college-rock milestone famously namechecked by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain as among his very favorites.
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Deal, increasingly frustrated by her inability to have her songs included on Pixies albums, restarted The Breeders in late 1991, enlisting her sister Kelley as third guitarist. The band made its 4AD/Elektra debut with 1992’s four-song Safari EP, though Donelly had by that point left the line-up to start her own successful alt-pop band, Belly. Upon the Pixies’ dissolution later that same year, Deal recruited drummer Jim MacPherson and The Breeders became a full-fledged musical concern, kicking things off with a bang by supporting Nirvana on their 1992 European tour. The Breeders’ second 4AD/Elektra release, Last Splash, arrived in 1993 to universal praise and seemingly constant college-rock radio airplay. “Cannonball,” the album’s first single, proved a surprise Top 40 hit while also reaching #2 at Modern Rock radio. What’s more, the song’s rollicking video – directed by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and award-winning filmmaker Spike Jonze – virtually defined MTV’s alternative programming of the period. As a result, Last Splash received RIAA platinum certification for sales in excess of 1 million. The Breeders and Elektra ultimately parted ways in 2004, but the band remains a potent and productive force, with additional albums and EPs released though the 2000’s.
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