Title TK

the Breeders: Title TK

Title TK
Genre: Alt Rock
Label: Elektra
Producer: Steve Albini
Release Year: 2002
Listen: Spotify / Apple Music

I’ll be honest, this Breeders album totally passed from my memory. Or perhaps I never really heard it to begin with. That’s more likely, truth be told. But fuck if I don’t love opener “Little Fury” and the Albini of it all more than anything I was probably listening to back in 2002 when this album came out. It makes me wonder how many other intriguing records I missed sitting in my apartment getting over 9/11 and planning my escape to the wilds of urban-suburban New Jersey with Ms. Hipster.

And maybe I’m into this album because it’s not really a 2002 album, but a 1997 one. Because of Kim Deal’s substance dabblings, perfectionism, unprofessionalism and apparent assholishness, it took several stalled recording attempts, a bunch of lineup and producer changes and five years to get to a record they couldn’t help but name Title TK. As a joke, or out of laziness or exhaustion I’m not sure. But whatever the case, this thing sounds super-cool and has that tossed-off Gen X feel that is reminiscent of everything we love in our slacker bands.

The sparse, live-sounding recording and Deal’s kind of slurred, breathless singing makes for a very intimate and unique experience. Add in her twin sister, Kelley, on sporadic harmonies and they form this almost haunting siren thing. It’s certainly not operatic or classic in any sense. Everything is slightly off-kilter and kind of glitchy in the best possible way. Kind of under and over-produced at the same time. With absolutely everything pushed to the front and surprising sounds coming at you from nowhere. The imperfections of Deal’s playing of almost all of the instruments turned into an absolute plus. Albini, you genius.

All that said, there are some cool-as-shit songs on this record. Which sound even better in headphones, so you can enjoy the air sounds coming off everything — especially her thumping bass and the bass drum. After all speakers/amps push air. And because of the production and the stripped down instrumentation you can actually hear the air moving around. It’s gnarly and impressive. You could throw this little know (in my mind at least) record on at a party and I think turn some heads.

I was never a huge Breeders guy. Loved Pixies, but Pod, for instance, was a little too out there for me. The slow stuff, the kind of free-form stuff. This album is much tighter, though retains enough roughness around the edges to make it feel rock ‘n’ roll. If I’m honest, I own Pod on CD, on which I listened to maybe a couple tracks here and there, but skipped over their Last Splash era stuff, save the ubiquitous “Cannonball.” So it was one and done for me until I rediscovered this gem. The streaming era leaves a lot to be desired, but as a discovery engine of overlooked music from your past, this made me a believer.