March 21 in Music History: Faces and the Pixies release their debut albums


1952 – Cleveland stakes a claim on Rock history when the Moondog Coronation Ball is held at the Cleveland Arena. Organized by the WJW DJ Alan Freed (“Moondog” on the air), it is widely considered the first Rock concert, with Billy Ward and The Dominoes, Tiny Grimes, and Paul Williams on the bill. The crowd goes over capacity and police shut down the show because of fire code violations after just one song by Williams. The event proves to the music industry that this type of R&B music has widespread appeal.

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New Music Show Preview w/ The Pixies, Temples and more!

Michael Halsband

Tonight, we get a chance to unwrap some highly anticipated new releases. 22, A Million is an ambitious new album from Bon Iver. He’s got his fans and his detractors. We’ll see if we can find some middle ground tonight. Also, for the first time in a long time, Bob Weir has a new solo album. We’ll hear what is sounds like when a member of the Grateful Dead teams up with members of The National and Josh Ritter. Plus, a classic alternative band has a new offering, a much-hyped young British band return with their sophomore effort and we have a new First Impression artist as well …

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch Courtney Barnett perform on Colbert, Blondie and The Pixies added to NYC Bowie Tribute Shows, & Foals is taking a break

The Key
Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry for WXPN |

She may have missed out on the Best New Artist of the Year Grammy but Courtney Barnett is a hit with nearly anyone who’s seen or heard her music. Check out Courtney’s live-performance of “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party” on last night’s  Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Continue reading →


Watch the Pixies perform “Here Comes Your Man” at XPN’s Free At Noon

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

On Friday, January 24th a stripped down Pixies performed during a sold out Free At Noon. The band, in town playing a sold out show at the Electric Factory, played a nine song set of tunes both old and new, drawing from their two recent EP’s alongside hits like “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” and deeper album tracks like “Nimrod’s Son,” and “Caribou.” Below, listen to the full show and watch their performance of “Here Comes Your Man.”

Watch the Pixies perform “Greens and Blues” from their set here.


An electrifying Friday from the Pixies at their second sold out show of the day

Pixies | Photo by Chris Sikich |
Pixies | Photo by Chris Sikich |
Pixies ruled Philadelphia on Friday, selling out both a rare acoustic performance at World Café Live’s Free at Noon and their nighttime Electric Factory show. By the time the band took the stage for their evening reign at 9:45, the crowd was warmed up from the freezing outside after putting their hands together and moshing to Los Angeles-based garage punks Fidlar.

When the revolutionary alt-rockers from Boston unleashed the first chords of “Bone Machine” that gave way to the surging “Debaser,” the night was set for some grand rock memories.

Lead singer and guitarist Black Francis, alongside guitarist Joey Santiago, drummer David Lovering and touring bassist Paz Lenchantin, belted out a nearly 30-song set that covered the expanse of their career. It would be tough to not satisfy most fans with the selection from such classics as “Where is My Mind” and “Wave of Mutilation” as well as their recent works, as represented by songs like “Bagboy” and “Magdalena.”

Backed by an impressive lighting arrangement that involved light reflecting off surfaces in the ceiling and their backdrop of stacks of glass boxes, they were dramatically lit for much of the performance. And the sound was glorious.

It was a stellar set that ultimately, unfortunately, left some wanting. The band said nary a word to an adoring audience that sang along and even crowd-surfed. And after what seemed to be a joyous end to “Nimrod’s Son,” with Santiago having great fun with his guitar and even exchanging his hat with a smiling Lenchantin, the band did not return — despite playing an encore at every other show on the tour, the crowd loudly clapping and calling for more, and the stage seemingly set for a return.

Certainly ruling the soundwaves is hard work and not always satisfying for all. But even though the abrupt ending left a sour taste for some at the end of the night, the rare delicacy of Pixies’ ferocious sound is destined to bring fans back as long as the band deigns to tour.

(Read More – The sold-out Free At Noon from Pixies brings a warm mix of old and new to World Cafe Live)


Miss The Pixies? Try Philly’s Tender Vision

Screen shot 2014-01-13 at 9.24.57 AMIt’s funny to hear a band sing about missing The Pixies when they’re headlining the Electric Factory in Philadelphia next week. But I get it – local fuzz-pop duo Tender Vision misses more the idea of The Pixies, the creative spark and chemistry that existed in the first run of the band in the late 80s / early 90s. So they’re doing their best to capture it in their own music.

The very new band is made up of Adrianne Gold, former singer/guitarist in Catnaps and bassist William Sallee along with a handful of live collaborators, and in the past week the duo has released two songs. Most recently was the silly and straightforward rocker “I Hate Change,” which came out in a playful video on YouTube yesterday. With a deadpan delivery, Gold sings “Kim, why did you leave me and The Pixies? / Kim, why did you leave me? I miss The Pixies.”

That’s about the entirety of the song’s lyrics, though some sweet “Gigantic”-referencing “ooohs” come in the mix on the bridge. And while it’s kind of an overt nod to Deal, Black, Santiago and Lovering more than a full-fledged song unto itself, it’s nonetheless fun to watch Sallee and Gold bounce around a room to the beat, waving sparklers at the camera and swapping costumes.

A better choice – and more genuinely infused with The Pixies spirit – is “Just Kill Me,” the single Tender Vision released on Bandcamp last week. It’s got airy fuzz guitar lines and a generous helping of JAMC vocal reverb, plus some delightful call and response. There’s a melancholy tone to the lyrics (“Do you still dream that you’re drowning? / Do you dream at all?”) but an uplifting melody and toe-tapping beat carries across a quick minute and 43 seconds.

Listen to “Just Kill Me” and watch the video for “I Hate Change” below, and find out more about Tender Vision at the band’s Facebook page.


No days off for Pixies at the Fillmore Philly

Pixies | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Currently in the middle of a U.S. tour with Weezer, Pixies decided to work on their day off and headline their own show here at the Fillmore Philadelphia. With a forever-changing set list, you never know what you are going to get: many fans came to see the show again for new songs or even a different structure of the tracks played. They can play anywhere from 10 to almost 40 songs and always tinker with the order and song choices. At this show, they played a whopping total of 33 songs, and the crowd was thrilled. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Pixies will play The Fillmore in March

Pixies | photo via Fillmore Philly

After a successful summer run co-headlining alongside Weezer, alt rock icons Pixies will hit the road again in the new year with Rivers Cuomo and company. In the mix, they will also do a one-off Philadelphia gig sans Weezer on Monday, March 18th at The Fillmore Philadelphia.

Tickets go on sale Friday, November 2nd at 10 a.m., and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Pete Yorn teams up with Liz Phair for a cover of a Pixies classic

Pete Yorn / Liz Phair single cover | courtesy of the artist

In case you didn’t get enough of throwbacks with Weezer’s cover of “Africa” (and now Toto’s cover of “Hash Pipe), singer-songwriter Pete Yorn and indie rock favorite Liz Phair have teamed up for a cover of “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies. Their tribute smoothes the creases of the gritty punk original, delivering polished vocals compared to the rough-edged whine of Pixies frontman Black Francis. The main riff retains its vintage scratchiness, but Yorn adds delicate accents in the form of his classic acoustic work and celestial keyboards. Continue reading →