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In many ways, Kim Deal is an anti-hero. As the bassist and backing vocalist for influential alternative rock band the Pixies and the frontwoman of The Breeders, her talent and authenticity are undeniable. Eschewing fashion and make-up trends, she became a role model for many girls in the '80s and '90s who wanted to be taken seriously as musicians.
Now in her 50s, Deal announced her departure from the Pixies last year, just before they released their first new body of work since 1991's "Trompe le Monde." She has remained tight-lipped about the reasons for the split, instead focusing on her solo work and future projects. To that end, Deal just announced details of the fourth installment of her 7" solo series, with two new tunes "The Root" and "Range on Castle" to be released on April 1.
"The whole thing with the solo series started in Portland," Deal says from her home in Dayton, Ohio, where she moved to care for her ailing parents. "I recorded in a couple of studios out there and then went down to Los Angeles and I was there for half of 2011 and half of 2012 and did some recording down there.
"It's actually been really fluid," she says of the creative process behind her solo work. "I did a song in Melbourne around 2010 – I just got some musicians and played. That was the first time I went into the studio doing stuff that I knew would be just me." Deal said that she didn't end up releasing music from that session, but it was the beginning of her solo adventure.
Although it's being billed as a solo project, Deal points out that she's collaborated with several different musicians on the new songs. The latest release features Morgan Nagler of Whispertown, who opened for the Breeders in 2009.
"I really liked them, they have a great song called 'Restless,'" Deal recalls. "(Morgan) was so cute. Then (a couple of years later) we ran into each other in a parking lot of a studio when I was out there in LA. I was getting in my car…she gave me this demo, and I loved her voice so much. And I had the little studio in the cellar of my house and I said, 'Hey Morgan, do you want to play together?'"
Their collaboration resulted in two very distinct tracks. "The Root" is a catchy tune featuring a driving bass line, simple harmonies and a garage rock aesthetic, while "Range on Castle" is a slow-burner that showcases Nagler's vocals and subtle guitars.
Deal's previous singles feature the likes of M. Ward on guitar ("Are You Mine") and Jeff Cairns of Wiskey Biscuit ("Walking With a Killer"). She's already got a fifth 7" single release planned, featuring Slint drummer Britt Walford, who used to play in the Breeders.
"I asked if he'd want to drive up to Dayton and play," Deal says, adding that it wasn't a huge trek since he was a two-hour drive away in Louisville, Kentucky. "He did and it sounds really good."
As for more solo releases, Deal says that's all she has in the pipeline for the moment. "Right now that's about all I'm looking at," she says.
That said, she has another exciting project in the works – a new Breeders album, which will be their first new full-length since 2008's "Mountain Battles." "(Bassist) Josephine (Wiggs) is in town," Deal says excitedly. "She got here two days ago. Right now we're in the basement recording. We've got three songs – hopefully for a new Breeders album."
Check out Deal's video for "The Root," which was shot guerilla-style on a car's backup camera.