Garychching over at Always Searching for Music recently solicited for readers' favourite Pixies song, Without thinking much I typed out "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and clicked post comment. Then a wiser Longy from Punk Friction chimed in with, 'Today it's "Debaser". Of course, it always shifts, settling on on final favourite Pixies song is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Perhaps today I'll choose a less obvious song.
The Pixies we're never 'my' band. The alterna-types a couple of years younger than me (the ones who thought the Church were revolutionary and bought everything on 4AD whether it was the Pixies or Dead Can Dance) adopted them. However, one of the aforementioned altera-types lent me a cassette of Surfer Rosa and I remember listening to it on my Walkman as I walked to her house down the dark streets of North Kildonan. When that voice barked, "You touch my stuff you fuckin' die" I whirled around dead sure someone was gonna knife me. It took a few seconds for me to realize it had been on the tape. But that tape held more such shocking moments not the least of which was "Gigiantic" with it's transfixing juxtaposition of noise and melody in a way that must have pleased Hüsker Dü if not necessarily Peter, Paul and Mary.
Now "Dig For Fire", from 1990's Bossonova, makes up what it lacks in shocking newness with breath-taking intricacy. The song is anchored by a a fascinating central metaphor (for his love of twisted morality tales, Frank Black's the Flannery O'Connor of rock n' roll). Of course what holds us is the finely detailed melodic structure, not just that unforgettable chorus but those huge layers of guitar which are by turns surf-y, distorted and stuttering, which is as resplendent as a Gothic Southern mansion.
(As a bonus here, you get another surf instrumental, a fine cover of Neil Young's "Helpless" and "Santos" which sounds, well, like a Pixies B-side.)
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