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coverpic flag US - Massachusetts - Full Moon 71 - 07/24/02

Cooking Vinyl

And it's another Pixie-year! Guess most people have heard Pixies-fan David Bowie's take on "Cactus" (on an album holding Neil Young's "I've been waiting for you" - once covered by Pixies). There's no doubt Pixies has become one of the most influential bands in modern rock, since they sprung up from the underground, like a grim troll. Nasty and nice at the same time. After their demise several compilations have been released: the 'best of' Death To The Pixies (1997), the "live" collection Pixies At The BBC (1998), and last year's Complete B-Sides. Now it's 'back to year zero', with Pixies - the demos.

15 years ago the Pixies entered Fort Apache for their first recording sessions. The result was what's been nick-named "The Purple Tape": 17 songs, of which eight appeared on their blistering debut mini-album, Come On Pilgrim. Pixies holds the other 9. As they were.

Firstly, there's (almost) nothing new here, since 8 of the 9 tracks are previously released. But since these are the original recordings we get to hear what the songs did sound like. Well, quite obviously more raw and naked. Sort of unfinished pieces, but quite clearly showing the potential the 4AD label spotted, which later in 1987 gave us the blistering Come On Pilgrim. On Pixies we get to hear "Broken Face", "Break My Body", and "I'm Amazed", which later appeared on Surfer Rosa. Besides a better production (with more punch) they haven't changed that much. "Down to the Well" wasn't released before 1990, on Bossanova (their most gentle album), and is one of their hidden treasures. With Kim's mumbling backing vocals it's quite spooky, like a gloomy fairytale. "Here Comes Your Man" really did change its attitude, and matured a lot till it two years later was included on the a-w-e-s-o-m-e Doolittle album. The song they had in their bag for the longest time was "Subbacultcha", which didn't see the light of day untill their 1991 swan-song record Trompe Le Monde. The last three songs are the most "rare" ones. "In Heaven" (a song by David Lynch) has only been heard as a screamish live version on the b-side of the Gigantic 12", and is more of an oddity. The final two are my least fave Pixies songs, and showing "Build High" (later to appear as a B-side for the single Planet Of Sound) as a quirky, "tap-dancing" country-rock song. "Rock A My Soul" is also a bit countryish, quite straight and anonymous to my ears. I can hardly believe it's a Pixies-song. Maybe that's why it never has been released untill now (well, if we're not counting the inclusion of a live version of it, as well as of "Down To Well", on a freebie EP with the UK music paper Sounds called Sounds - Waves 3 in 1988).

Conclusion: Stick to the real albums. Die-hard fans will grab this one as Gollum holds his 'mmmm, my precious...'. And, well, yeah...sure-sure-sure; of corse did I enjoy it. Like it's funny to see old pictures of a dear, good friend. Hearing Black Francis screaming and whining again. And Joey's weeping guitar. And David's drizzling drums. And above Kim's soft-bubbling basslines we can imagine a shy grin.

Copyright © 2002 Nimrod's Son e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Pixies articles/reviews: Death To The Pixies, Head Carrier, Hollywood Holidays - The Classic 1991 Radio Broadcast, Indie Cindy, The Complete B Sides.

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