Friday, July 28, 2006

Another Indie Rock Pioneer

What can be said about the Pixies that thousands of musicians, radio personalities and rock critics haven't already said. Legend has it that all Kurt Cobain wanted to do was write a really good Pixies Cover when he came up with "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Rivers Cuomo openly copied part of "I Bleed" for a Weezer song. The band's fingerprints are all over most of what is indie rock today.

Formed in 1986 in Boston the four members of the Pixies, Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis), Joey Santiago, David Lovering and Kim Deal didn't set out to change the face of music. Mixing punk rock with Dick Dale style guitar lines and lyrics about such randon things as aliens, mathmatical equations and the glories of higer education, the Pixies quickly became a staple of most of college radio. By the time their second record, DOOLITTLE, came out, the Pixies were already being hailed as the next great American Rock Band. All that pressure seemed to change them as the next two records, BOSSANOVA and TROMPE LE MONDE, were very different from the earlier, edgier material.

Trying to pick out a representative sample of Pixies songs is damn near impossible. Each album has five or six songs that are unique to their sound but also completly original in their orientation. Most people I have spoke with agree that the best place to start with is "Debaser". It has all the trademarks of a Pixies song. Great bass line (by the one and only Kim Deal, who just about everyone at my college radio station had a crush on), that perfect guitar hook and Francis screaming over the top just on the edge of madness. Two other tracks from DOOLITTLE are here; "Wave of Mutilation", which is a concert fave and "Monkey Gone To Heaven", one of the most well known songs.

Also here are two songs from BOSSANOVA. A lot of people didn't take to this record when it first came out. They felt it was to great a departure from the earlier stuff, but I have to admit it has grown on me over time. The first single from here was "Velouria" which although similar to early material shows just enough maturity to sound original and "Cecelia Ann", a cover of a Surftones instrumental that highlights just how amazing Santiago and Francis were at the dueling guitars thing.

The final track here is from TROMPE LE MONDE. There were a lot of tracks I could have picked here but I chose "UMass" because I remember hearing this in college and wondering just what the hell went on at that school that wasn't happening at mine. Not to mention that it has a great ending where Francis is just screaming, "It's Educational" over and over. Great song to study by.

Again, there are about 20 other songs I could have gone with and been just as happy. If you have any suggestions please let me know. Enjoy. (sorry for the m4a format I was just updating my IPOD and didn't have time to convert to mp3. If you need them in mp3 let me know and I will repost them)

(m4a) The Pixies -- Debaser
(m4a) The Pixies -- Wave of Mutilation
(m4a) The Pixies -- Velouria
(m4a) The Pixies -- Cecelia Ann
(m4a) The Pixies -- UMass

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