Friday on My Mind: Pixies!

photo by Michael Halsband

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

So there is this band that is going to be stopping by my show next Tuesday. Maybe you’ve heard of them - Pixies? Yeah. They are pretty cool. Pixies began in 1986 in Boston, when University of Massachusetts students Charles Thompson and Joey Santiago decided that they wanted to form a band. Pixies are easily one of the most significant and influential bands to emerge from the late 80’s/ early 90’s. They single handedly changed the way I listened to and discovered music. They showed me that you could be weird and original but catchy all at the same time. Nirvana said “Smells Like Teen Spirit” sounded like a Pixies rip off to them. Pixies themselves never gained popularity until they quit and decided to return. They reunited in 2004 and appeared at that year’s Coachella Music Festival. In the years following, they toured. During the years of 2009 and 2010, they went on tour in celebration of Doolittle’s 20th anniversary. Towards the end of 2013, the band surprised all of us with the release of new music, right after the departure of Kim Deal was announced. For the recording of the new songs on EP 1 and EP 2, the band reunited with producer Gil Norton who also produced Doolittle, Bossanova, and Trompe le Monde.

Another amazing reason to be majorly excited for the Pixies in studio session next Tuesday is that it will be the official debut of KEXP’s Live Streaming Video service. Starting next week, everyone and anyone can experience select in-studio sessions up close and personal from the comfort of their own home, while anywhere in the world, as they are happening. So make sure to stream the video beginning at 9:30AM next Tuesday, February 18th, during The Morning Show.

And now to prepare for the performance, here are a few of our most favorite music videos from Pixies:

“Dig For Fire/ Allison”

Both of these songs are from Bossanova, which was released in 1990 on the legendary 4AD label. “Dig for Fire” was referred to as a bad rip off of Talking Heads. It’s also background music in a scene during Singles. Look it up! The band has said that “Allison” was about the jazz musician, Mose Allison, who was very influential on a number of musicians including The Rolling Stones and The Who. Black Francis has stated that Bossanova was his favorite Pixies record while many critics felt it was the band’s 5th best effort. I’d put it at #3. If you’re curious how I rank their albums, my rundown goes like this; 1. Surfer Rosa, 2. Doolittle 3. Bossanova, 4. Come on Pilgrim (only because it’s more of an EP) and 5. Trompe Le Monde (but #5 Pixies is like top 20 of all time for me).


“Monkey Gone to Heaven”

The very first single to be released from 1989’s Doolittle, which was also their major label debut on Elektra. This is Frank Black’s take on an environmental song. The song also found its way on to the official soundtrack to the 1997 John Cusack film, Grosse Pointe Blank. Some consider it the most identifiable Pixies song in a catalog a lot of people couldn’t identify. It is also the first song that my son ever picked out on a jukebox. His choice was equally based on a love for Pixies as well as the monkey on the cover.


“Debaser”

Another from 1989’s Doolittle. Album producer, Gil Norton said that Pixies recorded a song a day in order to complete Doolittle. While that may seem incredibly quick, consider that the entirety of their 1988 album Surfer Rosa, which was produced by Steve Albini, was recorded in just 10 days. It is mind boggling to think that an album that has been so influential to so many only took 10 days. It seems more like it should have taken 10 years. “Debaser” is one of the greatest opening songs to an album of all time. It sets the tone and announces the Pixies presence with authority.


Honorable Mentions:

“Velouria”

The first single to be released from Bossanova. A love song about a girl named after velour. The video to accompany this single featured the band climbing down a rock in slow motion for the duration of the entire song. NME named this official music video one of the 50 Worst Videos ever made. Does that count every metal video ever made ever? You be the judge:


“Alec Eiffel”

Our next video is for “Alec Eiffel” from their 1991 Trompe le Monde release, which was their final album during their original incarnation as a band. The song title and name are a reference to Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the French dude who designed the Eiffel Tower as well as the Statue of Liberty.

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