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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 1989 | 4AD

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
After the shock of Surfer Rosa, fans des Pixies found a tighter, less abrasive, but happily no better-behaved second album. The opening punch of Debaser, the saintly nonchalance on I Bleed, the enlightened surf pop of Monkey Gone To Heaven, the gag of La La Love You: Doolittle, released 1989 stored up all manner of gems, some troubling, others fascinating, others still surprising (everything that happens in the two mere minutes of Waves Of Mutilation is mind-bending), without ever looking like just another production of the times. This fusion of punk rock, surf music and pure pop achieves perfection here. After a record like this, we can have a better idea of where Pavement and Nirvana (Cobain named the Pixies as his favourite group) got their inspiration from...© Marc Zisman
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 21, 1988 | 4AD

"Seeking fans of Peter, Paul & Mary and Hüsker Dü". It was this simple small-ad that saw Frank Black, then going by "Black Francis" find his Pixies band-mates, surely the most innovative adventure in rock of the late 1980s. Teetering on an unstable bridge linking the wildest, most de-structured punk and the most joyful pop, the Boston quartet shook things up with their changes in rhythm and other bizarre dissonances. For their first recordings from 1987 and 1988, everything and anything was grist to the mill of their genius: surf music, bubblegum pop, art rock, angular post-punk – each great swerve madder than the last. Joey Santiago's guitar is wild with electric shocks; Kim Deal is bouncing off the walls, and Black Francis belches out the craziest stories. A simply spellbinding first album! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 13, 1990 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 3, 2004 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 1991 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 20, 2020 | Pixies Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 24, 2020 | Infectious Music

For once-epic bands that restart their careers, recording new music is always fraught with peril, namely being trapped into an unwinnable comparison with their former selves. The Pixies’ first four albums remain utterly timeless, still gleaming with an otherworldliness unlike anything else before or since. Not surprisingly the band was unable to recapture that edge or atmosphere in either of their post-reformation albums, Indie Cindy (2014) or Head Carrier (2016). Pixies purists will argue that the problem with the new records was the reduced role of Kim Deal, whose fractious relationship with Black Francis was the band's creative heart; the hair trigger tensions was what made the band so special before her final departure in 2013. Paz Lenchantin, who was a new addition for Head Carrier , has now settled in as a permanent contributing member, a change that may have inspired Francis to come up with the best collection of original tunes since 1991's Trompe le Monde. With its steady beat, single note guitar signature and opening lines "I set my broken bone/with a twist and a crack," "Bird of Prey" has more than a whiff of earlier, more conventional songs like "Here Comes Your Man," and is easily one of the album's finest classic Pixies-like numbers. In tunes like "Los Surfers Muertos" and "St. Nazaire" where Francis shrieks the album's best couplet, "Her daddy's dead and her eyes are black/Smells like spliff and Armagnac," Beneath the Eyrie is a conventional four piece rock record. It’s gothy, reminiscent of Nick Cave in spots and vividly obsessed with darkness via lyrics that revel in terms like "venom wine" and "poisonous forest" and Black Francis opining that he's "succeeding as a failure" and yet is "ready for love." Recorded with too much compression and a crushing drum sound, the band has nevertheless finally made a worthy new record, one that both gives them a future and honors their towering past. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 28, 2014 | Pixies Music

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Unlike the slew of legendary acts -- including My Bloody Valentine, Boards of Canada, and Daft Punk -- who surprised fans with new albums in 2013, Pixies emerged from their lengthy recording hiatus more cautiously. By releasing a series of EPs that were eventually collected as Indie Cindy for 2014's Record Store Day, the band eased fans into their new material -- and, perhaps, gave them time to lower their expectations. Indie Cindy may be most notable for illustrating the pitfalls genre-defining artists face when attempting a comeback: Pixies had such an impact on how indie rock sounded in their wake that upon their return, it's almost inevitable that they sound like they're aping themselves. It doesn't help that the band's first new material in almost a quarter-century is also the first without founding bassist Kim Deal (her insistent eighth notes are mimicked by session player Ding). However, her absence is the least of Indie Cindy's problems. "Bagboy," the reunited band's first single, features a collision of drum machines and surreal spoken word that suggests a failed collaboration between David Lynch and LCD Soundsystem -- but at least it shows some creativity. It's more worrying that much of Indie Cindy feels like it was written to fit specific niches: "Blue Eyed Hexe," a "U-Mass"-like rocker, proves Black Francis' scream is still spine-tingling, but the song plods. Even if the album just isn't as nimble as the best work from Pixies or Frank Black, it feels like what the band would be doing two decades on from their peak even if they hadn't taken a break. Aside from "Snakes," which tempers the biblical post-punk of their early work into something resigned instead of vengeful, most of these songs continue the sci-fi riff rock of the band's later albums and Francis' first two solo albums (producer Gil Norton even suggested that the bandmembers pretend that they'd spent their hiatus touring in outer space). "What Goes Boom" sounds like a beefier version of "Alec Eiffel," while "Indie Cindy"'s mix of shouty, stream-of-consciousness verses and dreamy interludes recalls Frank Black's "Los Angeles" more than his Pixies work. The least contrived songs are the best: "Magdalena" creates tension between its heavy guitars and soft vocals in a way that's less expected than the band's famed loud-quiet-loud dynamics. Meanwhile, "Greens and Blues" combines the album's spacy motif with heartfelt songwriting and lyrical guitar work from Joey Santiago, who also helps elevate "Jaime Bravo" and "Ring the Bell." Still, there's no escaping that Indie Cindy is an odd return. It plays more like a collection of B-sides than a true album, and it's laced with goodbyes and a sense of sadness that feel more like closure than catching up. Arguably, it fares better as a decent Frank Black album than an anticlimactic Pixies album, and fans who can appreciate that these songs don't diminish the legacy of the band's previous music will probably enjoy it the most. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 6, 1997 | 4AD

Death to the Pixies has a difficult task -- distilling the highlights of a band that concentrated on albums, not singles. The Pixies' catalog was remarkably consistent, which means that most won't agree with all the 17 selections that comprise the first disc of this retrospective, since there are so many strong songs on their records. While most of the usual suspects are here -- "Debaser," "Here Comes Your Man," "Bone Machine," "Gigantic," "Where Is My Mind?," "Velouria," "Nimrod's Son," "Wave of Mutilation," "Monkey Gone to Heaven" -- many of the selections appear to have been made at random. As good as "Cecilia Ann," "Holiday Song," "U-Mass," and "Gouge Away" are, such essentials as "River Euphrates," "Cactus," "Hey," "Allison," "Vamos," "I've Been Tired," "The Happening," "Letter to Memphis," and "Motorway to Roswell" could have easily taken their place. Some of these songs are on disc two, a 21-song live disc culled from a 1990 Dutch concert that has been heavily bootlegged. It's a terrific concert, but the pairing of a greatest-hits record with a live show is puzzling, since casual fans who want the hits won't need the live disc, and the hardcore fans only need the second disc. This pairing alone makes Death to the Pixies unnecessary for neophytes, but the hits disc itself also is an imperfect introduction, since its nonchronological sequencing distorts the Pixies' impact. Still, there's so much great music on the collection that it isn't worthless, but the presentation is so ill-conceived that the very existence of Death to the Pixies is a little puzzling. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 28, 1987 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 30, 2016 | Pixies Music

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Though they crafted a signature -- and endlessly copied -- style, Pixies' music never stayed in the same place for long. During their early years, the band relished change, moving from Come on Pilgrim's scrappy apocalyptic visions to Doolittle's gleaming pop to Trompe Le Monde's riff-rock at a rapid pace. Indeed, it could be argued that part of the reason their 2014 comeback Indie Cindy underwhelmed was because it tried too hard to recapture the past. On Head Carrier, Pixies usher in more than a few changes, the biggest being bassist Paz Lenchantin. Replacing a member may be inconsequential for some bands, but for this one, it's a big deal (pun intended): Founding bassist Kim Deal departed prior to Indie Cindy, and the use of a session player on the album only underscored that a vital part of the group's appeal was missing. Thanks to Lenchantin, Pixies sound like a full -- if slightly different -- band again, whether she's sweetening "Oona"'s crunch with her harmonies or helping shape the album's character in general. The rest of the band's ease at having her in the fold is audible, and Head Carrier is a surprisingly nice album. "Classic Masher" and "Bel Esprit" recall the amiable jangle of "Here Comes Your Man" and the band's cover of "Winterlong," and the easygoing vibe continues on "All the Saints"' slo-mo surf and "Plaster of Paris." However, the niceness turns strange on "All I Think About Now." A musical thank-you note to Deal written by Black Francis and sung by Lenchantin that shamelessly borrows from "Where Is My Mind?," it manages to be both jarring and overly nostalgic. As on Indie Cindy, when the band looks back too much, it feels forced; "Baals Back" is shrieky and Biblical, but lacks the true oddness of their best songs about fire and brimstone. Fortunately, the high-speed chase that is "Um Chagga Lagga" and the roaring title track are in the vein of Pixies' classic rockers without feeling contrived. "Talent" is even better, a piece of satirical, snotty garage-rock that reaffirms Francis doesn't need to sing about the Bible or aliens to let loose. While it feels like Pixies are still figuring out how to continue their legacy, Head Carrier's best moments suggest they're heading in the right direction. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 5, 2001 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 15, 2021 | Pixies Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 16, 2021 | Pixies Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 24, 2020 | Infectious Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 16, 2020 | Infectious Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 19, 2021 | Pixies Music

Alternative & Indie - Released December 1, 2014 | 4AD

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 14, 2021 | Pixies Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 1, 2014 | 4AD