The Breeders

Q&A: The Breeders’ Kelley Deal on the 20th anniversary of Last Splash

The Breeders: LSXXThe Breeders: LSXX (4AD, 4/23/13)

When The Breeders released the classic Last Splash in 1993, the band still was congealing into a new state. Begun as a side project by Pixies bassist Kim Deal in 1990, the rock quartet was transitioning to being a primary focus, and twin sister Kelley Deal had joined the band just a year prior, taking the place of guitarist Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses) despite limited six-string experience.

Together, however, the Deal sisters made something special that capitalized on their vocal-and-guitar interplay. Aided by their history, Last Splash was a minimal, quirky rock gem. (“Do You Love Me Now?” dates back to 1970s, when the teenage Kim and Kelley played cover songs in bars.)

Free Moral Agents

The Groove Seeker: Free Moral Agents’ Control This

On a weekly basis, The Groove Seeker goes in search of killer grooves across rock, funk, hip hop, soul, electronic music, jazz, fusion, and more.

Free Moral Agents: Control ThisFree Moral Agents: Control This (Chocolate Industries, 10/12/2010)

Free Moral Agents: “North Is Red”

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Mars Volta fans know Isaiah “Ikey” Owens as a master keyboardist, also lending his talents to the related experimental dub/reggae side project De Facto. But Owens’ own one-time side project, Free Moral Agents, has transformed into a full-time band with a second studio release, Control This.  Though his musical associations are enough to give him reputable standing as a versatile and adaptable session player, Free Moral Agents is far from sounding like a complex math-rock outfit.

The band’s music is, however, complex in its own way.  Control This is an omnivorous kind of record — as diverse as it is visionary — and is comfortable in taking on different musical personas at once.  Over a combination of ambient pop and trip hop, crunchy guitar riffs and avant-garde fusion motifs construct a critical foreground, and the esoteric vocals of Mendee Ichikawa make for a strong and fitting melodic element.