Sound Advice: '80s and '90s Indie Rock Band Pixies to Perform at Andrew J Brady Music Center

The Pixies play the Andrew J Brady Music Center at 6:30 p.m. June 14.

click to enlarge Pixies - Photo: Vladamir/Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Vladamir/Wikimedia Commons
This story is featured in CityBeat's May 31 print edition.

Here comes your band. When thinking of indie rock bands from the late '80s to the early '90s — bands that helped to redefine the alternative rock scene — it's difficult not to place the Pixies on the top of your list. With songs about monkeys going to heaven, waves of mutilation and references to obscure surrealist films, the Pixies were the '90s sui generis weirdos; there was no one else like them. It's rare that a band can seamlessly stitch together an eclectic mix of influences the way Black Francis and company did. When forming the Pixies, Francis placed an advertisement seeking a bass player who was influenced by both the saccharine songwriting of '60s trio Peter, Paul, and Mary and the hardcore punk of Hüsker Dü. He found the perfect blend in Kim Deal.

They were able to move effortlessly from the jagged, unresolved tension and dissonance of songs like “Break My Body” on their 1988 debut studio album Surfer Rosa, to the much-covered and ubiquitous “Where Is My Mind?,” with Deal's haunting and memorable “ohhh's,” all within the space of thirteen songs. They followed Surfer Rosa with Doolittle, released just a year later in 1989, and considered by many to be their masterpiece. Almost every song is a classic in its own right. You're hooked right out of the gate with “Debaser,” a frantic and catchy pop song with violent undertones and lyrics about "slicing up eyeballs,” a reference to the 1929 surrealist silent film Un Chien Andalou, directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Buñuel and Salvador Dali.

As an album replete with Biblical imagery, themes of environmental catastrophe, prostitution and murder-suicide, it's a marvel that Doolittle contains so many memorable, and deceptively upbeat, songs with such dark materials. After several hiatuses and the departure of Kim Deal to form her own wildly successful and influential band, The Breeders, the Pixies are once again in the studio and on the road, having recently released their eighth album, Doggerel, in 2022.

If you're seeking bands that perfectly encapsulate the restless experimentation and moody angst of the '90s, only a handful of names come to mind: Nirvana, Radiohead, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Pavement and…the Pixies. Don't pass up the opportunity to see these living legends live.

The Pixies play the Andrew J Brady Music Center at 6:30 p.m. June 14. Info:

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