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The Breeders are an American rock band, formed in 1977 as a folk rock duo featuring twin sisters Kim and Kelley Deal of Dayton, Ohio which played country covers at truck stops and bars and dissipated in the early 80's, only to be revived as a side project in 1988 for Kim, who by then was playing bass for Pixies, and Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses. After those original bands became less active, The Breeders became more important to both artists. A tape recording of their original demos with drummer Mickey Bones and violinist Carrie Bradley was sent to Ivo Watts-Russell, who immediately signed the band to his 4AD label in 1989. Their debut album, Pod, was recorded by Steve Albini in Edinburgh, and was released on 4AD in 1990. Albini has stated that it is the one album on which he felt he got both the best sound for a band, and the best performance from a band. Deal's influence on the album is obvious, but bassist Josephine Wiggs and Slint drummer Britt Walford (credited here as "Shannon Doughton") add to the ensemble sound.
By the release of the four-song EP Safari in 1992, Pixies had disbanded, and Kim Deal enlisted her twin sister Kelley to play guitar for the Breeders. Donelly exited the band to form Belly, and drummer Jim MacPherson joined in time for Last Splash in 1993. The album spawned the hit "Cannonball". "Cannonball" made it to #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts, and the album "Last Splash" was certified Platinum thereafter. The band opened for Nirvana on what would turn out to be its last US tour in 1993.
In 1995, Kelley Deal was involved in a drug bust, so sister Kim formed the side project The Amps with MacPherson, bassist Luis Lerma (member of the Dayton, Ohio band The Tasties) and guitarist Nate Farley, who later joined Guided by Voices. The Amps released the album Pacer in October 1995. Following drug rehab, Kelley started the Kelley Deal 6000 and also formed the unlikely Last Hard Men with Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, and Jimmy Flemion of The Frogs.
Rumors of Kim Deal reuniting with the original band continued to circulate in the 90s, although the only material to surface was a cover of "Collage," recorded for The Mod Squad soundtrack in 1999. The Deal sisters recruited new personnel to play several live shows in 2001, and returned to the studio with guitarist Richard Presley, bass player Mando Lopez and drummer Jose Medeles to record the third Breeders studio album Title TK with Steve Albini.
The Breeders were also recruited, in early 2002, to perform in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They were approached by the production staff, after they had been performing the show's theme, originally written by Nerf Herder, as a regular part of their concert set. The episode is entitled Him, and aired November 5, 2002.
The Breeders contributed the track "Wicked Little Town: Hedwig Version" to the 2003 Hedwig and the Angry Inch tribute album, "Wig in a Box".
In 2004, Warner Music Group announced plans to drop the Breeders from their label following low album sales of Title TK. The decision came with Warner's plans to drop several other artists as well.
As of May, 2006, Kim Deal was known to be working on new material with The Breeders. The working lineup at that point included Kim and Kelley Deal, Jose Medeles and Carrie Bradley. It was reported on Jose Medeles' blog that the band will be working with Steve Albini on a number of songs on the upcoming album.
The Breeders remain influential in alternative rock. In 2006 French indie-rocker Julie Peel honored The Breeders by covering "Divine Hammer" on a limited edition 7", "Blue Vinyl Split", released exclusively by American Laundromat Records. The Flaming Lips have also covered "Divine Hammer" on tour.