Here’s one I’ve been saving because … well, I’ve been too lazy to break out the USB turntable.
1994 was a great year for the Breeders. Last Splash had just turned platinum and “Cannonball” was crossing over from Alternative Nation to Top 40 radio, something completely unthinkable today. Sadly, it would also be the final year of the group in its most popular form, as success screwed with the band’s heads. But for a time, the Breeders could do no wrong. So if the band wanted to release a single available only on 7″ vinyl, then heck, sure! And make sure the vinyl is lime green! Okey dokey, Deals! Oh, and we only want to put one new song on it and not one, but two covers. Genius! And we’ll make a video to promote the B-side, not the A-side. Um, sure!
[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/Esd8n6awI3w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
“Shocker in Gloomtown” (download) was one of the two covers on the Head to Toe single, a song originally by fellow Daytonians Guided By Voices, who also appear in the video, peering through the garage windows. It’s also the shortest and best track on the single, an under two-minute blast of punk hooks, raw production by Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis, and almost remedial guitar as Kelley Deal learns to play in front of all of us.
“Head to Toe” (download) was the A-side proper, and is pretty typical as Breeders songs go. It actually foreshadows the sound Kim Deal would explore more in the future with her Amps project and features another plucky (in the most literal sense) solo from sister Kelley.
A Sebadoh cover of “Freed Pig” (download) closes out the American version of the single, the joy of the Breeders riding high really coming through in the performance. Sadly, this would be the final appearance (to date) for the “classic” lineup of the band, as Josephine Wiggs would soon leave, Kelley would start getting into scrapes with the law (FedEx-ing smack to your house? Really?!?), and Kim would rejoin the Pixies for another go-round. The Head to Toe 45 is a neat little artifact of the time, and these songs haven’t been made available in any other format Stateside (the U.K. version is a CD single that features the J. Mascis mix of “Saints” as a bonus track).
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