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Critic's Choice

In 1993, the Breeders surprised everyone by going platinum overnight and then imploding almost as suddenly. Nearly ten years later, it's good to know that Kim Deal -- former Pixies bassist, current multi-instrumentalist and perennial patron saint of smart indie pop -- still believes in the band as much as the cult of devotees who mourned its premature death. Last month, the Breeders launched a small-scale attack on clubs in the U.S. and abroad, a tour that brings them to the Bluebird on Friday, February 22, with the Apples in Stereo. The current jaunt is a preview of Title TK, an album Kim and sister Kelley recorded with Steve Albini last fall that's slated for a spring release. So, sure, some things have happened between the Deal sisters since we last saw them flailing about as unlikely stars of MTV: There's been a whirlwind of new projects (the Amps, Kim's Breeders-lite outfit with drummer Jim Macpherson, and the Kelley Deal 6000 among them), personal reckonings in rehab clinics, displaced former bandmembers and a couple of faux-reunion shows. Fortunately, Kim has never lost her ear or her knack for crafting the kind of distortion-laden, hook-heavy, sweetly subversive songs that the Breeders first perfected on 1991's Pod. Does love ever end? Maybe not in this case.