By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Such a Deal
The heartland of America grows its rockers big and brawny, so it's no surprise that the Deal sisters--Kelley and Kim--hail from Ohio. They've both made names for themselves--Kim as a founding Pixie, the pair as the Breeders--but it was Kelley who stood out as the woman who rocked it like a man, partying hardy, stumbling slit-eyed through interviews, and generally wreaking havoc.
Her music followed suit, full of off-center chop and dreamy reverie, just like the ebb and flow of a life lived hard and fast. A heroin arrest and then a family intervention brought all that to an end, and although a now-clean Kelly went through treatment, it's hard to imagine her slipping into the sanctimony (or sleep) that's plagued many 12-steppers.
Happily, she hasn't. Her new project, the Kelley Deal 6000, came out of feeling her way back into rock 'n' roll with fellow rehab grad Jesse Roff, the two of them wondering if music would still be cool with a clear head. The pair worked on songs together, dividing instrumental chores between them, and found out that you didn't have to be a mess to make good music. The Kelley Deal 6000 and Sugar Altar, their 11-song debut, are the first results of that discovery.
A new band, a new album, and a new Kelley: Deal has emerged from rehab transformed, from loudmouthed party tart--sometimes fun, sometimes frightening, always unpredictable--to real-live human being. Sugar sounds like the Breeders, yes, but with differences unique to Kelley. Clear eyes can still shine with the same gleam, she seems to be saying, and the music backs her up.
The Kelley Deal 6000 plays the Orbit Room July 10.