THE PIXIES: Surfer Rosa.



Thirty years ago (I’m a day late, sorry) The Pixies released their debut record, Surfer Rosa. I was only 2 years old when it came out, but when I heard it for the first time- I think I was in my late teens, I remember being totally in awe with the vocals. For me, Black Francis has one of the most distinctive voices in music- irrespective of genre. His voice is unlike anything else. His vocals with Kim Deal’s echoing in the background is one of the best things to have ever happened in music.

Surfer Rosa is an excellent debut record. Not many bands have ever had this kind of sound right away. When you listen to it, you think you’re listening to a band who have been doing this for decades. You don’t feel as if you are listening to a debut record. I love how the songs are so loud, they beautifully chaotic and played in such an urgent manner. There is this divine passion in every single song, and when you listen to them every single reason as to why you love this band just come back to you.

The record lasts just a little over half an hour, but in that half an hour you’ve got songs that have the power to absolutely change your life. I am so sure that a lot of bands I love have been influenced by this record, and from hearing songs like Gigantic for the first time. The record initially didn’t do well, but over time people started to pay attention. I still don’t feel that The Pixies get the credit they deserve at all. They are obviously one of the greatest bands of all time, and I love that no genre can define them. The Pixies are in their own world with their music, and Black Francis is most definitely a genius. There is something about his words that just leave you in jaw-dropping awe of him.

We all know the phenomenal Where Is My Mind? is one of their most popular songs, but I really don’t think the lyrics are praised enough. Last year/year before my panic attacks were starting to have a massive toll on everything I was doing, and I had a handful of songs I had to listen to that would sort of calm me down a little. I definitely found a lot of comfort in this song. I related to the title a lot, ha. I found a lot of comfort in music. It always has been, and always will be my safety net. The Pixies and Beach House became my crutch- more than usual.

I love that Where Is My Mind? has delicate moments but the guitar and drums are so heavy, and Kim’s bass playing on this is out of this world. It always has been. She is such a great bassist. The Pixies have always consisted of really strong and powerful musicians. I think when you’re in a band with someone as influential as Black Francis, you can’t be anything other than strong and powerful. Maybe he brings it out of them. They all bring it out of each other, really.

Songs like Tony’s Theme that don’t even last 2 minutes have this Punk feel to them, and it is definitely one of The Pixies songs that show just how diverse and distinctive The Pixies sound it. It also shows how Black Francis’ voice is so wild and unlike anything else. The song is just this rowdy and chant-like groove that has you singing a long like you would with a Ramones songs. The vocals at the end remind me of the Ramones slightly. Kim and Black Francis’ vocals on this song again, shows just how brilliant they are together.

You’ve got songs like Vamos which is just an insane song. It’s like stepping into the mind of an eccentric genius and seeing how they work. It is for me, one of the best moments on the record. When you play it, you can’t really believe that it is 30 years old. It has such a new feel to it. The Pixies may have formed over 30 years ago, but there is something about them that makes you feel like they have just started. I reckon it is because nobody else sounds like them. Everything they have ever done, and still do is just mind-blowing. Vamos is probably one of my favourite songs by them, and it is definitely my favourite from Surfer Rosa. I love the chaotic sound so much.

What I’ve always loved and massively admired about The Pixies is that they can just do a whole bunch of crazy stuff on their records, and it just sounds amazing. If anyone else tried to do it, it’d just be a mess. I know I’ve said it many times here, but they are such an influential band and Surfer Rosa was just a taste of what they were going to do. Three decades on, and it is still a hugely popular and well respected record. So many have citied it as the force that got them wanting to start a band. It is one of those records that stay with you, and every time you listen to it you get that same excitement taking over you. It always feels brand new when you listen to it.

Surfer Rosa may not have been an instant ground-breaker, but over time it most certainly became such an important record. The Pixies are a band that have to be played loud. They just need to be heard, after all this time they still need to be heard.

We will never get a record like this. It is one of those records that is so sacred and you can’t imagine yourself feeling this way about any other band or record. But then you delve deeply into The Pixies records and you hear it. You hear the genius even more with every record. But there is something about Surfer Rosa. Maybe it is because it’s the debut, or maybe because it truly is a ma

MERCHANDISE: A Corpse Wired For Sound.


“Now pour your body open,
Tear me apart slowly limb by limb.”

We all have it in our head what makes a band great, what makes a band mean something to us. It can be all down to the singer and the way they are. It can be down the way the drummer makes you wish you could unleash your fury like they do. It can anything, everything- all at once. It hits you like an overnight freight train going a little faster than it normally would. Maybe this band you absolutely adore and idolise bring everything together you love about music and make something of their own. They have parts of bands you love and parts of things you’ve never heard of.

A Corpse Wired For Sound by Merchandise came out today. First listen, it is lust. Not halfway through my second listen, and I would probably marry it if it was a person. Or something similar. It’s easily one of the best records of this year. Hell, it’s one of the best records I’ve heard in a long, long time. When I listen to it, I immediately feel like I am wandering round the streets of Manchester on a rainy and grey day. Utterly bleak- there’s no other place I’d want to be transported to in my mind other than there. Maybe it’s the depths of my conscience telling me it’s time to leave one awfully big city for one my brain can actually handle. I’ve got time, right?

Merchandise take you somewhere really desolate yet sacred with this record. They always do, but there’s something more fragile about this record. As delicate as it is, it’s the kind of records that holds a person together even when the person in question is probably struggling more than they allow their brain to let on. There is so much comfort is the dark and tormenting sound of Merchandise, and A Corpse Wired For Sound is no exception. It’s done differently this time. Every song feels like you need to yell the words out with such urgency. The thing is, when a band means this much to you- you do cling on to every single word.

Nine songs in under 45 minutes. Nine songs to have on a constant loop to help with focusing on whatever you need to do, whatever words you need to get out. They accelerate the motors of your mind with each song, and for me it is Shadow Of The Truth and opener, Flower Of Sex that really do this. I can’t wait for the weather to turn bad so I can wander round listening to this record and truly explore it for what it is. You can only imagine so much within four walls.

For me, I think Shadow Of The Truth is possibly my favourite. Of course I’ll change my mind because I know that this isn’t a record you play a few times and in a few months, you’re done with it. Far from it. Merchandise are not a throwaway band. They’re a band you (collectively) go back to. Each record has something for you to fall back in love with. What you thought was your favourite song slips away, and you fall for another. Maybe it depends on your mood or state of mind but Merchandise, I don’t think, are a background band. They’re not a band you just play and carry on about your business. I’ve had to play A Corpse Wired For Sound a few times before I was ready to concentrate on writing about it. I recommend sitting in the dark and playing Silence a few times. Over and over.

I Will Not Sleep Here is one of the most gorgeous songs I’ve heard in a long time, and only someone like Carson can sing it in this way. It wouldn’t work if someone else did. It really shows his voice in a different way. Again, it’s another highlight and the lyrics are beautiful.

Beginning to end, Merchandise yet again unleash this world upon you that makes you forget how terrible the world can be. The lyrics, the music, everything about this record just sums up everything I love about music and everything I look for in a band. With each record to date, Merchandise have constantly blown my mind and always gone a step further than before.

They’re touring the UK in November. As my birthday is in November, I’ve always claimed it as birthday month and gone to as many gigs as possible. This year is no exception, and I need to block out turning 30 as much as possible even if I still get asked for ID when buying paracetamol.

Play this record as loud as your ears can stand and come out and see them on tour.