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coverpic flag US - Massachusetts - Full Moon 54 - 03/09/01

The Complete B Sides
4 AD

Another compilation (see Death To The Pixies, which was an attempt collecting "the best") from one of my all time fave groups. This time it's, as the title implies, a field (or file?) report from the "B-scapes" of all their 12" singles: Gigantic (1988), Monkey Gone to Heaven (-89), Her Comes Your Man (-89), Velouria (-90), Dig For Fire (-90), Planet Of Sound (-91), and (the CD single, US-version) Alec Eiffel (-92). Oddities, alternate takes, live, and/or cover versions. Weirdness, wildness and beauty, showing the brute force of the Pixies.

In this LK Menu's interview former Pixies headman Frank Black speaks of this compilation with a certain reservation. Which means some of the songs never should've been released. Well, isn't that the charm of B-sides? Odd songs for core fans? A chance for die-hards to get some extra songs? But he might also have a point, because tracks such as Into The White, Make Believe (sung by drummer David Lovering), Bailey's Walk, Build High, and Santo, well, you sort of understand why they didn't make it onto an album. Still, some charm inbetween, though. Then again you'll find spiff songs such as Manta Ray and The Thing (also sung by David), which never appeared on any album. Anyway, River Euphrates opens this compilation, and it's (as well as Gigantic from the single) a different version than the one from the Surfer Rosa album. Recorded in England (by Gil Norton, who produced all their later albums) it's a slightly more sober mix than Steve Albini's signature sound of explo-pulsating rhythm tracks. Yet again it reminded me (had to pick it out of the shelves, again...) of the energetic STEAM of Surfer Rosa. Great song! Of the cover songs there are two written by Neil Young, I've Been Waiting For You, and Winterlong (also included on The Bridge - A Tribute to Neil Young, released in 1989), of which the former is a very fine rendition of a great song (off Neil Young's debut Neil Young). Then there's the Yardbird's Evil Hearted You (written by Graham Gouldman), sung in Spanish! Pixies at their most 60s-ish, yet being themselves. Swell! There's also a live version of In Heaven (Lady In The Radiator Song), by film director David Lynch and P. Ivers (originally from the Eraserhead movie). The last "cover song" is Theme From Narc, which is the theme from a Nintendo game! A funny stomp. Well, my personal favourite on this album is without doubt Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf) - an indeed chilled and beach-bummed (sunburnt?) take on one of the "hit" songs off the brilliant Doolittle album.

To make a conclusion: these B-sides are probably for fans' ears only. But if new-comer Pixie-fans wants to search for the more obscure corners of the world of the Pixies, there's some fun on the way. As a bonus there are also two videos included, for Here Comes You Man and Allison. Even if this is a 'B'-album, the Pixies can only be described with an 'A'. 'A' for 'ace', 'awesome', or 'abso-fucking-lutely brilliant'! R.I.P. And: never do a come-back, please. You're too good for that! You hear!?

Psst, check out the Pixies article in the March issue of the MOJO music magazine if you can. Interesting reading about the rise and fall and everything between.

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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, Pixies.

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