ACL Fest Reviews


Pixies DVD (4AD)


Wave of Mutilation: Best of Pixies (4AD)

It's David Bowie, who covered "Cactus" on 2002's Heathen and his 2004 Reality tour, who best captures the Pixies – as the "psychotic Beatles." His comment stems from 4AD's new Pixies DVD via Gouge, a BBC-produced documentary on the Boston foursome that broke up (supposedly) by fax in 1993 and are now, again, America's hottest band. Also praising the enduring merits of Black Francis et al. are Bono (who prefers Doolittle to Surfer Rosa), Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, Blur's Damon Albarn and Alex James, and several other Britpop luminaries. The Pixies, meanwhile, save Kim Deal, try to explain what all the fuss was (and is) about. Buy the DVD for Gouge, but stay for the rest: an "On the Road" featurette that follows the band frolicking through Europe and the States on 1989's Doolittle tour; their first-ever UK concert at London's Town & Country Hall in May 1988, where guitarist Joey Santiago goes apeshit with a beer can on "Vamos"; and seven videos that aren't much more than glorified home movies, although the punch-drunk camera suits "Monkey Gone to Heaven" well, while the Jesus & Mary Chain cover "Head On" is welcome just because it's such an awesome song. The companion CD, Wave of Mutilation: Best of the Pixies, isn't quite that. There's no "Cactus," no "Is She Weird," no "Dead." What is here is hard to argue with, however: Deal's ingratiatingly childlike vocals on "Bone Machine," the fried-synapse blasts of "Nimrod's Son" and "Broken Face," and a middisc run spanning the cream of Doolittle and "Where Is My Mind?" that's sheer late-Eighties college-rock bliss. Sex, death, God, UFOs: the Pixies were stone freaks, yet everyone on Gouge is hung up, rightly, on what a great pop band they are. Too bad it took America – the four Pixies included –11 years to come around. Death to the Pixies. Long may they reign. (Saturday, 8:45pm, Cingular stage)

(DVD) ***.5

(CD) ***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Christopher Gray
Margaret Moser Tribute: The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
That Margaret Moser, she’s a rainbow

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: Patricia Vonne
Patricia Vonne
Shine a light

June 30, 2017

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle