The Pixies

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Flack
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The Pixies

Post by Flack » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:54 pm

I should have discovered the Pixies back in 1994. That was the year I started working at Best Buy and met Bryan. Bryan was way cooler than I was, and under normal circumstances probably wouldn't have given me the time of day, but our shifts there were long and all of us in the computer department killed the time by chatting with one another. One afternoon Bryan and I got to talking about music, and struck up a friendship based on our common interests. Both of us preferred Nirvana's Bleach to Nevermind, for example, and Bryan was the only other person I had met who actually liked Faith No More's Angel Dust.

During one of our many conversations that year, Bryan suggested I listen to the Pixies. I said I would, but I didn't. I thought the band's name sounded stupid -- Pixies! -- and, between the onslaught of grunge and industrial bands I was discovering, the Pixies simply fell off my radar.

Fast forward twenty-four (Jesus Christ!) years. The flame I once carried for music has been extinguished. Everything new sounds like garbage, and not in a good way. Everything old is getting old. There's no denying that the classics are the classics, but there's only so many times you can spin Van Halen I or Zeppelin IV before you start skipping tracks.

At the beginning of the summer, I decided to try an experiment. Find a classic album I was unfamiliar with, put it on a USB stick, put the stick in my car stereo, and listen to it for a week, solid. None of this shuffle-on-random stuff I normally do. Actually force myself to listen to a known good album several times throughout a week, until I was familiar with all the songs.

I started my experiment in the beginning of June, around the same time ICJ updated his "top 100 songs" thread and added "Debaser" by the Pixies. I don't know that I had thought of the Pixies since Bryan had mentioned them to me in 1994, but that seemed as good a place as any to start. I hit Google for articles ranking Pixies albums, and [url=http://diffuser.fm/worst-to-first-every ... um-ranked/]the very first one[/i] put Doolittle at #1. The fact that "Debaser" (the song from ICJ's list) appears on that album was just icing on the cake.

It almost seems redundant to sing the praises of an album that people were already calling genre-defining in the late 1980s. While the Pixies do show a bit of east coast influence (I'm sure I heard some Violent Femmes in there), the stuff they were doing was literally amazing. So many bands consist of one great musician surrounded by a supporting cast, but the Pixies... wow. The drums, the bass, and the guitar are all pretty great. The dual vocals combined with Frank Black's lyrics push everything over the edge.

By the end of day one I had listened to the album front to back twice. By the end of the week, I'd heard it a dozen times and I still couldn't get enough of it. For two weeks, Doolittle has been the only thing playing in my car. And when the album began to feel familiar, I rolled it back a year and swapped out Doolittle with the band's previous album, Surfer Rosa. The sound is more raw and doesn't have the same level of studio polish, but it's every bit as good.

I could go through track-by-track and tell you how great some of these 30-year-old songs are, but chances are you either already know, or don't care. Suffice it to say, the impact the Pixies had on grunge music (and how heavily bands borrowed from them) is unmistakable. Take two parts Pixies and one part Melvins and the result is Nirvana.

After a couple days of searching, I tracked down a copy of loudQUIETloud, a documentary that covered the reunited Pixies in 2004. It didn't surprise me that ten years after originally breaking up, the band was still able to sell out shows. I wish I had known. I would have gone.

I wish I had listened to Bryan all those years ago.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: The Pixies

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:34 pm

Great to hear. I only got into Debaser because there was a poster here named Debaser once. (He picked his name after the song.)

I'll confess that I have not listened to the entire album in its entirety - time to do so, if it gets the Jack Flack seal of approval!
the dark and gritty...Ice Cream Jonsey!

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Flack
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Re: The Pixies

Post by Flack » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:59 pm

For sure -- Doolittle, the album "Debaser" is on, is my favorite so far.

BTW, after writing my original post I searched Google to see if the Pixies have every played in Oklahoma.

They played here on July 1.

Three days before I posted that.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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