The Breeders’ Last Splash was such an exciting release when I was navigating first love and first curiosities about local music in my slice of Ohio in the 90s. Being a teenager in Dayton, with a soundtrack emanating from a landscape shared with bands like Guided By Voices and Brainiac, there was such a wild shine on our city when The Breeders’ “Cannonball” wound up in the spotlight.
I dipped into Pod at the time then followed the band despite lineup changes. Saw them live a few times, enjoyed related projects like The Kelley Deal 6000 and The Amps. Nothing was ever quite as affecting to me as Last Splash, though.
A friend sent me a link to “Walking with a Killer” recently. How I missed the 2018 release by a band from my town featuring the Last Splash personnel for the first time since 1993 is a testament to how I am on a near 11-year delay with new music. Hearing bits from All Nerve, I was instantly transported to that unusual, dream-like quality that only Last Splash-era Breeders possessed.
“Walking with a Killer” sets off many evocative flares; the mysterious lyrics, the woozy daze of the song’s pacing and those moments where the guitar sounds like a delicious throwback to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance send the same chill that I first shivered through during “Mad Lucas” in 1993. Every time the song lyric about East 35 is sung I hold my breath a bit. I have taken East 35 to see someone I really like for the past 7 years. There’s highway hypnosis in this track. There’s chaos. It reminds me of how exciting it was at 16 to get a ride from my parents to my boyfriend’s house where “Driving on 9” or “New Year” inevitably played. The line “I’m a dark star” reminds me of the dusty Dark Star Comics, just outside of Dayton.
This song reminds me of place and love and even fear. It is a sound I will always crave… like place and love and even fear.
(Song recommendation by K Weber)