In Kim’s living room, in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, the Last Splash lineup – Kim, twin sister Kelley, Jim and Josephine – are sitting around, discussing texts and calls and emails and shows, working out a timeline of how it all snapped back into place. “There’s something about this sound that really feels like home,” says Kelley, warmly. Spending time in their company is like being at a family get-together. They tease each other, they bicker over song titles. They chat effusively about current affairs and why it might be that so many serial killers are from Ohio. Kim has always lived here, on and off, but moved back permanently in 2003 to help take care of their mother, who has Alzheimer’s. She and Kelley’s parents live at the end of the road.
With a new Breeders album and tour on the way, Josephine gave up her apartment in Brooklyn and moved into Kim’s attic. Kelley lives a couple of streets away; the sisters have an older brother, who is just around the corner with his family. Jim cycles over to rehearse in the basement, when he has time off from his carpentry job; his wife helps take care of Kim and Kelley’s mum. Kim gives me a tour of their rehearsal space in the cellar, where the band have been practising since she first moved in, in 1990. Brilliantly, they sometimes get noise complaints from the neighbours, particularly if the bass is too loud. They play me some new Breeders songs, the first with this lineup since 1993. As we’re listening, the Deals move to sit right in front of my face and stare at me, closely, with jokey intensity. “It’s really comfortable, isn’t it, listening to someone’s music while they’re there,” teases Kelley.
I have followed Kim Deal for decades. I saw her and Pixies play live in 1989 and she was unbelievable. Her voice carried through the room like nothing I have ever heard. 2017 is turning out to be a terrible year for everything except music.