The Breeders. Last Splash, 1993. I cannot even begin to explain how important this album is for me. There are three albums that I credit for shifting my perception of what music is and what music should be. Last Splash couldn’t have come in at such an important time. In 1993, I was in fifth grade. I occasionally took the bus to school and the kids on that bus would request Power 96. That station was, at that time, full of freestyle, hip hop, Top 40… and it still is. When I didn’t take the school, my parents, mostly my mom, would take me to school and that ride was nothing but Spanish music.
My ears were adjusted to that, and don’t get me wrong, some songs are forever embedded into my musical psyche. But it was soulless and non influential, I didn’t care about it. We weren’t poor but we didn’t have cable TV, we didn’t get that until I was in eighth grade. My brother and I relied on going to my cousins house, or a friends house, to watch MTV. And even though I was completely fascinated with it, others were bored. This was when MTV had shows like Alternative Nation, 120 Minutes, and Head Bangers Ball. We also relied on borrowing tapes and CDs from our friends, making mix tapes for each other and buying magazines like Spin, Rolling Stone and Metal Hammer. This is how we learned, and this is how I encountered The Breeders.
Walter, my brother, borrowed a few tapes from his friends. And in return, he would lend out his tapes, singles, albums, copies of a copy… didn’t matter. During those swaps, he ended up borrowing Last Splash from our neighbor. That was around the time that Cannonball was on MTV, and so he bought the tape. My brother would always show me what he would borrow but wouldn’t let me actually borrow it from him because he was worried that I would break it, damage it, or whatever he thought I would do with it. What a dick, right? Until one day, he wasn’t home.
Listening to the opening notes from New Year blast out of my stereo gave me chills. And not in a “holy shit, what am I listening to?” type of reaction, but in a “holy shit, I fucking love this!” reaction. The tape kept on playing, moving onto the next track, and then the next, and so on. Each track blew me away because it was something I have never heard before. It was different, it was current, it spoke to me. Last Splash introduced simplicity in music, a tight band jamming through, it made me want to learn the drums. It guided me towards the right direction.
I became obsessed. I would give the Cannonball single as birthday gifts. Around this time, singles were still around and I loved them. Besides having the album, how awesome is it to have bonus tracks, demos, covers, live tracks… all of that helped this one album continue. My family and I went to a now defunct electronics store called Incredible Universe. Our parents told us that we could each pick out a CD and, of course, I went straight to the B section and starting flipping through The Breeders category. In there I stumbled upon Safari. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to get back to the car, pop that CD into my portable CD player and jam out to my favorite band. Once we got to the car, I ripped the plastic wrap off like a psychotic maniac. I stared at the cover, studying the painting and the elephants. Flipped the cover open, it was a digipak, and literally lost my shit. My mom turns around to see what is going on, and I’m pissed off. The teeth that holds the CD in place were broken. I was pissed. Walter tries to reassure me that it doesn’t matter, the CD is fine and I would not have any of it. My poor mother… gets out of the car, walks back into the store, a few minutes later returns with the same open CD but with an empty jewel case. Once we got home, she brought out some scissors and began working. She altered the digipak to make it fit into the jewel case. I still have that CD, altered case and all.
This box set brings back so much joy of when I tried to collect everything from the Last Splash period. The album is complimented with 10″ copies of the Cannonball and Divine Hammer singles, and Safari and Head to Toe EPs. Also included is a 12″ that collects the albums demos (the Saints single is included because it’s solely comprised of demos) and live BBC recordings. The added bonus, in my opinion, is the completed version of Live in Stockholm 1994, titled The Stockholm Syndrome. Live in Stockholm 1994 was an eight track EP that was exclusively released through the fanclub and some copies were released to stores, along with a logo button and a fanclub newsletter. This reissue now has the complete 16 song set.
LSXX comes with a 10″ sized booklet, that has pictures and testimonials from the recording sessions. Among the photos is a large collection of behind the scenes from Josephine, as well as recording studio photos from Andy Taub and a few shots from Kate Schellenbach, former drummer of Luscious Jackson. The essays come from the band, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and director of the Cannonball and Divine Hammer videos, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. who co-produced and sang on Do You Love Me Now Jr?, long time collaborator Carrie Bradley, studio engineer Mark Freegard, and journalist Michael Azerrad. All of which work together in showing and explaining the process of working on the album, and it’s a great insight for those who want to get one step closer.
The packaging is impressive! All seven records and its book comes in a box. Two thirds of the box is a green fuzzy material, with an isolated heart on the front side and an isolated gorilla from the Safari EP on the other. The remaining one third gives you a peak at what is waiting on the inside. A collage of images from layered pictures to altered images, which reinterprets the originals. I love this idea because it is a new representation of what was previously released, but it gives the visuals more character. One cover that stands out is the Stockholm Syndrome because there are pictures of tour agendas, backstage passes, flyers and posters, and a few Instagram photos taken from and by Josephine Wiggs. My favorite from the 10″ records is the Divine Hammer sleeve, it has the proofs of the CD single on one side and the proofs of the cassette single on the other. It’s done by longtime artistic collaborator Vaugh Oliver with assistance by Philip Laslett, and with original photos by Jason Love.
There’s nothing bad I can say about this set. Anything and everything from this era is beautifully collected and displayed. Any review is going to be completely biased because this box means so much to me. So I think the only thing I can say is that this is solely for a completest who is also an audiophile. Perfect for anyone’s collection? Probably not. I don’t think a casual listener would spend the amount of money, but if you know someone who is a fan of the band then it would be a great gift. LSXX will be one of my prized items in my collection and hopefully it will be in yours.
PAIR THIS ALBUM WITH
Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon [Napa & Sonoma County, California 2010]
This wine is an overall pleasure! It is from the Louis M. Martini Winery family, which we know produce exquisite wines overall. This Cabernet Sauvignon is 70% Napa County and 30% Sonoma County, consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes respectfully. You can say it has Bordeaux qualities but is an American product. It has a nice smooth body, very heavy on the cassis tone but without it killing your palette. So for beginners, this is a great introduction but is easily pleasurable for wine enthusiasts.
I would recommend this wine for anyone who wants to find an easily affordable, big tasting wine that doesn’t disappoint in any setting. That being said, any food pairing that requires red wine is perfect. From pizza to steak, even meals heavy on lentils, chick peas… it is flexible and satisfactory to any palette.
Vinyl & Vino rating: 5 out of 5
TOP FAVORITE TRACKS
I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You
Don’t Call Home
Drivin’ on 9