Song of the Day: Pixies, "Dig For Fire"
Woke up with this one in my head. I love the Pixies, though my favorite album is Bossanova, their penultimate release (from their original run, at least; I keep forgetting that they've released a bunch of new music in this millennium) that is more or less considered the first pass at a Frank Black solo album. Outside of "Rock Music," the tracks on Bossanova lack the savage toughness of previous Pixies releases, though pound for pound it's probably Black's best collection of pop songs. My attachment is one of almost pure nostalgia: Just before I left to go to college, a friend of mine (who also, coincidentally, now lives in Los Angeles) burned a bunch of CDs for me. This was in that strange middle period of digital music when MP3s were more or less everywhere but the iPod had yet to come around to revolutionize the way we carried around music.
I bought a stack of recordable CDs and took a handful of his records with me. When he offered the Pixies, I was only interested in 1989's Doolittle because it began with the band's best song ("Debaser") and ended with the song that Kurt Cobain ripped off for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ("Gouge Away"). But my friend was savvy and said, "You'll want this one." I had never heard Bossanova but was immediately hooked on its combination of surf riffs and sci-fi romanticism—that mix of fun and paranoia that is basically an auditory version of an X-Files episode. It ended up being the album in the heaviest rotation during my first semester at NYU, and when people watching Fight Club would ask whose song that was at the end of the movie, not only could I safely identify the Pixies, but I was able to offer up some deep cuts. That was as good a cultural currency as I had in that era, and it's the one-level-deeper philosophy that has always fueled my quest for new music.
At some point I'll talk about new stuff (probably when Waves arrives), but at the moment I'm enjoying unpacking the detritus. Bang on, Pixies.