#tbt Pixies / Come On Pilgrim (1987)
I first heard this record at the ripe young age of 11 years old. I got a weird feeling in my stomach, and I thought “Well, this dude is singing about some really weird shit, and this music is really catchy. I enjoy this much more than the C+C Music Factory song that has been yelling at me to dance ‘right now’.” And so my love affair with the Pixies began. Their first EP, Come On Pilgrim, was an exercise in musical amalgamation. In 1986, Charles Thompson (Black Francis), Joey Santiago and David Lovering put out a classified ad looking for a bass player who was into “Peter, Paul, and Mary and Hüsker Dü”. Like a teardrop from heaven, Mrs. John Murphy (aka Kim Deal) responded, which completed the four piece literally as well as sonically. Kim’s voice provided a soft angelic accompanyment to the harsh guitar tones and screaming vocals of Santiago and Francis. In addition, the music was skewed with latin influences, some songs written completely in Spanish, due to Francis having spent time in Puerto Rico as an exchange student right before forming the band. Santiago’s guitar leads drip from the album like molten lead, with a magnetic tone strong enough to attract the ears of any mammal, this 11 year old included. Before moving on to being veteran producer Steve Albini’s first big project, Come On Pilgrim is an early snapshot from the 80’s of what the much more watered down and commercial version label of “alternative music” would later become. Bands like Nirvana would admittedly try to replicate this sound unsuccessfully (not talking $$ here), with even David Bowie doing an early cover, but nothing quite like the Pixies ever came about again. Check out “Caribou” below.