Friday, July 16, 2010

The Breeders - Pod


There was a time when Pod was never filed away because it was always the next choice to be played.  It was one of THE must have CDs if you wanted your collection to have any sort of indie credibility.  Mind you, this was 20 years ago when things like 'indie credibility' meant a lot more to me than it probably should have.  But then, acceptance from my peers was also very high on my list of 'must haves'.  The older we get, the less we give a shit about small stuff like this.

I'm really glad Pod has stayed in my collection for all those years, though.  Listening back to it reminds me of some fantastic days, particularly of making music and hanging out with a great bunch of creative, talented and generally awesome people.  The Steve Albini-produced track list includes quite possibly the best Beatles cover ever in 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun'.  And while the production could only be described as minimal, at best, it also served as a no-nonsense template for the great swathe of bands who took this ideal and ran with it.  Of the 12 tracks, 9 come in under the 3 minute mark and a third of these under the 2 minutes.

It was head Breeder Kim Deal's links to her day job as The Pixies bass player that got this side-project noticed.  This could have been a bit of a disaster if Deal's song writing hadn't stood up.  But thankfully it did and still does.  And while history will record their more commercial followup, the mega-selling Last Splash, as the best this band has to offer.  But for me, it will always be Pod.



I wonder how Steve Albini feels about having this on his CV now?  When I read those words - "Engineered by Steve Albini" - before listening to Pod I thought, well, it'll have to sound good at least.  How wrong I was.

Let me paint you a picture.  YourZ and I live in a small apartment building (four apartments, two up, two down) on a dual-carriageway road in a beachside suburb of Sydney.  We live on a hill, and therefore the garages are underneath the apartments - a good way underneath, in fact, dug into the hill.  The buildings on either side of us are the same, and that means a proliferation of garage bands.  YourZ has rocked the suburbs on many an occasion, there's a sort of heavy-metalish band next door and I think in the mansion a few doors down there's a bit of a vanity band (I've heard them do Roxanne by the Police and Madonna's Like A Virgin and both really not that well so you get my drift).

The sound produced by the Breeders on Pod reminds me of listening to a garage band through the doors.  The vocals are unintelligible, there's always someone off-key because there's no fold-back, and what you can mostly hear is the drums, which sound strangely flat.  I've read they recorded it in a week, and had money left over to do other stuff.  And it sounds like it, with the exception of their version of Happiness Is A Warm Gun which I don't think would have upset John Lennon too much.



  1. Pod did not come out 20 years ago. Not possible. Crap. That was 1990... zoicks. i'm old. i think it would hurt my brain if i listened to it again. might have to get liquored up over the weekend and try it...

  2. Daisy, how do you think I felt when I figured it out? I mean, I almost fell off my zimmer frame and nearly spilt my colostomy bag all over my slippers.