Oh My Golly! Pixies bring their A-game at the Electric Factory

Pixies | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Pixies took the Electric Factory stage Tuesday night to an obscure B-side: The Beatles’ “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number).” Formalities dispensed, without introductions or interim chatter they vaulted into a virtual medley of some 30-odd songs, an exhaustive sampler representing each era of a three-decade career.

Singer Black Francis and company shared the majority of their latest record, last year’s Head Carrier, and juxtaposed many of their more prominent singles with some favorite “deep cuts” as well. “Debaser,” “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and “Wave Of Mutilation” were offered side-by-side with Doolittle counterparts “No. 13 Baby,” “Mr. Grieves” and “Hey.”  Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Marian Hill at TLA, Pixies at Electric Factory

Marian Hill | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN |
Marian Hill | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN |

Philly-founded electro duo Marian Hill returns hope with a performance at the TLA tonight. Mixing lead singer, Samantha Gongol’s jazzy stylings with Jeremy Lloyd’s cool, hypnotic beats, the group is a perfect balance of old-school swing and fresh production. Find info on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar, and watch the video for their addicting song, “Down,” below. Continue reading →


Feel the heat of new Dirty Projectors, Sneaks and Suburban Living on the Indie Rock Hit Parade

Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors in the "Keep Your Name" video
Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors in the “Keep Your Name” video

Once again we arrive at the end of another barn-burner of a week. That means it’s time for the Indie Rock Hit Parade to invade your personal space at 11pm ET on WXPN. Listen for a full two-hour show (shortly after the October edition of Making Time RADio with Dave P) for a smattering of new tracks from all over the place. We’ll get to the long-awaited return of experimental pop twisters Dirty Projectors, and speculate as to what their new record will sound like. Also in the mix is a new jam from Philly based sheen-rockers Suburban Living (their new album just came out today), and a few tracks that recently got video clip accompaniment. Preview those (and more) below:

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Here Comes Your Man: New Pixies, Sam Evian & S U R V I V E on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Pixies | Photo by Travis Shinn, courtesy of the artist

Tonight’s the night, friends. Final Friday of September, time for Land of the Lost with Robert Drake and, immediately following that, the Indie Rock Hit Parade! The IRHP action starts at 11pm ET on WXPN, and there’s a glut of new releases to showcase. Perhaps the most perfect new record to play on this particular night is Head Carrier, the much-anticipated sixth album from Boston legends the Pixies. There’s been plenty of talk about the changes that the band has gone through since reuniting over a decade ago, but it’s hard to argue with the instantly recognizable (not to mention instantly likable) sounds on this new one. We’ll hear a few tracks on this week’s IRHP Album Spotlight. Also in the mix from this week’s laundry list of new albums will be tracks from the cosmic solo debut from Celestial Shore’s Sam Evian, the haunting synthesizers of Austin’s S U R V I V E (whose members provided the score to the hit series Stranger Things), and a revisit of tracks from La Sera‘s Spring 2016 release on a new EP. Preview some of that sruff below…

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Black Francis to Magnet: Philly didn’t get an encore ’cause Philly didn’t earn an encore

IMG_7315Last month, alt-rock icons Pixies played a double-header show in Philly, following up a lively stripped-down Free at Noon at XPN with an electrifying headlining set at the Electric Factory.

Well, electrifying except for one thing. There was no encore. The set approached thirty songs and was nearly two hours long, but when the band left the stage, it left for good. Here’s how our Chris Sikich described the scene at the time:

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.

Chris was more diplomatic than commenter Pat Bateman, who weighed in to say that the Pixies earlier acoustic performance was:

Unlike the evenings performance @ the Electric Factory where they hardly acknowledged the crowd and then unceremoniously walked off and never came back for an encore. Tweeted by Black Francis yesterday we weren’t enthusiastic enough as a crowd but now deleted. What a douchebag. #howtoloseafanin140charactersorless

The story develops with the latest issue of Magnet Magazine, out today. It features an epic, 7,000 word cover story interview by Jonathan Valania (of Phawker fame), who sat down with Black Francis backstage at the Factory show in question and (among other things) got a very honest explanation of what happened from the artists’ perspective. The juicy pull-quote goes like this:

The crowd didn’t earn an encore. I’m old-school that way. I’m Vaudeville. I find that when the audience is younger, they want you to hold their hand and smile and kick the beach ball around, and we don’t do that. We don’t do jazz hands.

On the one hand, the tradition of the rock show encore is played out and tiresome. It’s like, come on, we stand there, we cheer, but we know you’re coming back. Because EVERYBODY comes back. Because it’s expected. So kudos to Pixies for taking that back and reserving the encore for times when it actually means something.

On the other hand: ouch.

To read more of the interview, which also touches on Kim Deal’s departure from Pixies with similar candor, check out an excerpt over at Phawker. For the entire thing, find yourself a copy of Magnet at your local newsstand or order one online. Below, a video from happier times and our Free at Noon concert.