Kim Deal… what can be said about her that has not been said before. She was the bassist for The Pixies, alternative rock heroes who dominated college radio and became major influences to anyone within the late 80s early 90s rock scene. She is the mastermind behind The Breeders, a one off project that became her full time gig. The Amps, a one time, off kilter project which could have been the next album for The Breeders but showed off her multi-instrumental talents instead. And now, Kim Deal has started releasing solo music in a series of 45s. The woman has talent and Walking with a Killer/Dirty Hessians is a great example of her songwriting skills.
I first encountered Kim through The Breeder’s Last Splash back in 1993. That year opened my mind and ears to a different style that has since shaped everything that I listen to. My brother borrowed the cassette from his friend, who lived a few houses down from us. Around the same time, he picked up Nine Inch Nails Broken (1992) and Sonic Youth Dirty (1992). These bands were on heavy rotation on MTV and doing the Lollapalooza tour. So the constant exposure or mention really made me dig in to why they were so important. First listen to Last Splash gave me that feeling that this is something I need to be listening to and even influenced me to pick up the guitar. Even if it was to play a simple, repetitive three chord pattern. The Pixies were introduced to me in 6th grade by my friend Monica, whose cousins introduced her to them. Our friendship was based on her sharing that knowledge… remember, the internet wasn’t as accessible as it is now so word of mouth was the way to learn. And that’s how my love affair with anything Kim started.
The 45, released in a limited run through her own website, was the first of two records released in 2013 – with more scheduled to be released throughout the year. Walking with a Killer has the familiar guitar tones that one has become accustomed to. Acoustic guitar mixed with electric guitar, with just enough distortion to create a warm fuzz. Guitar duties go to Dan Elkan (Them Hills), Jeff Cairns, and Kim. Creating a wall of sound but with enough space that can be considered haunting and humble, instead of being bombarded from all sides. Kim picks up the bass on this track, giving it that simple yet melodic groove. A signature style that she developed during her time in The Pixies and found through out The Breeder’s Mountain Battles and The Amps Pacer. Drummer Lindsay Glover helps push the song along its nice and easy ride, keeping rhythm in a simple steady beat. Last but not least, Carrie Bradley, long time collaborator plays violin in a non traditional way. If you’ve been able to catch The Breeders on their LSXX tour, you’ll see Carrie add noise and atmospheric tones besides playing the violin in a traditional style.
The song is rather bluesy. It has the familiar garage grunge style but being a slow cut, it showcases the country influence that a lot of earlier The Breeders b-sides had. Walking with a Killer has a subdued vibe, making it sound more like a confessional song rather than a storytelling song. At first it’s uncomfortable to listen to because the direction of the song keeps you in the same spot, but upon listening closely to the lyrics and focusing on the different instruments, you can probably relate or understand that this is deeply from the heart.
Dirty Hessians is the 45s b-side. An instrumental cut with all instruments played by Kim. This isn’t a rare thing to find. She started playing full tracks back in The Amps period and ran them through onto The Breeder’s Title TK and Mountain Battles. Compared to Walking with a Killer, Dirty Hessians is quite upbeat with a lo-fi sound. A perfect song to dance around to and add to a mix of indie rock playlist. There’s a great low buzz coming out from both speakers, with a steady driving beat, a simple fun bass line which helps you move your feet. Half way through, you hear drum sounds from an old Casio type of keyboard which gives the song a touch of highs.
Believe it or not, the artwork is not done by Vaughn Oliver! Now this is a first… something that threw me off completely. Instead, package artwork goes to Chris Bigg, a Vaughn Oliver collaborator. So at least it’s done by someone who is within the Kim Deal realm, but is not a copy or an attempt to replicate Oliver’s work. Which has become quite iconic and an important piece to all of the projects. Chris Bigg does a fantastic job giving the sleeve its own identity. It also features a picture of Kim’s grandfather, taken in West Virginia. The only thing that I don’t like from the package is the Kim Deal logo. To me, it’s not as attractive as the front and back collages. Minimal to the whole thing really, but I don’t think it should’ve been so choppy.
Overall, I think that this 45 is aimed to the fans who follow Kim’s career. Although these songs are great, I don’t think that a new listener would pick this up right away and understand what’s going on. The songs are easy to listen and enjoy but it will strike up a WTF? vibe. If you enjoyed Pacer, Title TK, Mountain Battles, and Fate to Fatal, this 45 will register as a Deal piece. Dirty Hessians is probably the easier of the two songs to listen to, but Walking with a Killer needs a little more research and experience to be received. Check it out and make your own opinion.
PAIR THIS ALBUM WITH
Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignon [Napa Valley, 2010]
Stags’ Leap, an award winning wine maker that began in 1971, is a great pair for this 45. We’re going to be around the $40 range in celebration of this indie rock icon. This Cabernet Sauvignon is probably one of the smoothest yet flavorful wines out there. Providing just enough body and a hint of dryness that will please all types of red wine drinkers, amateurs to connoisseurs.
Its oak tone is present but not over powering. Leaving the mellow cassis flavor to be enjoyed throughout. However, this wine when aerated enough will mellow out nicely. Be careful not to over do it because it will change its balance. Use a decanter and pour the appropriate amount each time. While you’re waiting, grab all of your Kim Deal related records and set them up! Enjoy the wine with your playlist.
Vinyl & Vino rating: 3 out of 5
TOP FAVORITE TRACKS
Walking with a Killer