You’re the rod I’m water: Best of Kim Deal

Charles Thompson/Black Francis/Frank Black and Kim Deal each wrote sex songs. A couple decades removed from the period, I’d rather listen to Deal’s. She sounds pleased, self-sufficient, almost diffident — if she gets some, she’s cool; if not, she’ll light a joint, crack open a beer, and watch The Terminator again. Black, on the other hand, poses as the sloppy dude who can’t stop babbling about his good fortune. In my list of the Pixies’ best last month, I valued their barbaric yawp and fealty to the racket. As bassist Deal played like she sang: laconically, as if had just occurred to her that the song needed a run. My favorite Deal moment in the Pixies isn’t her self-written “Gigantic” but her Peppermint Patty-dry harmonies on “Debaser.”

Adrift in the bong haze of the Breeders, the band she formed with erstwhile Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donnelly, Deal realized a beautiful fusion: combining riffs as sharp as collared shirts with her terse, gnomic double talk. And who says they’re not pros? The band sounded no different when Deal’s sister Kelley replaced Donnelly. Besides, getting Deal to crack her voice at the same time as the violin does in “Oh!” adduces their tacit affinity for the studio (shh don’t tell Steve Albini). Re-listening to the Breeders around deep draughts of the new Kehlani album, I admired Kim’s feel for the slow build. Take the debut Pod — it opens with “Glorious,” which until the reassurance of its guitar peal yields to the thud of its rhythm section, like a garage band feeling its oats. Pretend offhandedness has its limits too, as they proved during a shambolic performance touring Last Splash at Pitchfork Festival in 2015. It’s been nine years since Mountain Battles. I can wait nine more.

1. Cannonball
2. Burn On a Side
3. Do You Love Me Now?
4. Off You
5. Overglazed
6. I Just Wanna Get Along
7. German Studies
8. Hell Bound
9. T and T
10. No Aloha
11. Little Fury
12. When I Was a Painter
13. Flipside
14. The She
15. Doe
16. Divine Hammer
17. Happiness is a Warm Gun
18. S.O.S.
19. Roi
20. London Song
21. Gigantic
22. We’re Gonna Rise
23. Huffer
24. Full on Idle (Amps version)
25. Mom’s Drunk

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