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frankblackfrancis :: aboxset :: byrobbraithwaite

Pixies formed in 1986. David Lovering, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and Charles Thompson IV, under the alias Black Francis, created music that influenced bands for years to come. Tensions within the group, largely between Thompson and Deal, strained and broke up the band in 1993.

Pixies reformed in 2004. A reunion tour was launched and new music was everyone’s hope. Pixies recorded “Bam Thwok!” for submission to the Shrek 2 soundtrack. It was rejected, and they continued to tour. Pixies wouldn’t go into the studio unless all members agreed. Kim Deal left the band in early 2013. A new EP was released later that year.

Pixies released three EPs over 2013 and 2014. They would later be collected as Indie Cindy. Simon Archer (The Fall) played bass in the studio. Kim Shattuck (The Muffs) managed bass duties live for a couple months before Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle) got the job permanently. Beneath the Eyrie, the new Pixies album, is out September 13th.

The making of Beneath the Eyrie was made into the award-worthy documentary podcast, It’s a Pixies Podcast.

Pixies were slowly making their way into my music world just as they were breaking up. From the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack to a 120 Minutes VJ crying, “That was the world premiere video of ‘Velouria’ and the last time we will ever show it,” I was aware of Pixies but I didn’t pay much attention to the albums until I got hooked on Frank Black’s solo albums, specifically Teenager of the Year.

Here Comes Your Man — 01
Bam Thwok! — 02
On Graveyard Hill — 03
Letter to Memphis — 04
No. 13 Baby — 05
Gigantic — 06
The Happening — 07
Planet of Sound — 08
Bel Esprit — 09
Something Against You — 10
Debaser — 11
Allison — 12
The Holiday Song — 13
Greens and Blues — 14

PIXIES :: 1986-1993, 2004-2019

13 — Come On Pilgrim (1987)
06, 10 — Surfer Rosa (1988)
01, 05, 11 — Doolittle (1989)
07, 12 — Bossanova (1990)
04, 08 — Trompe le Monde (1991)
02 — single (2004)
14 — Indie Cindy (2014)
09 — Head Carrier (2016)
03 — Beneath the Eyrie (2019)

Post-Pixies, Black Francis became Frank Black. He produced The Cult of Ray himself. The third solo album was recorded live with very few overdubs, a departure from his usual studio recording process. He liked the result so much that it became a blueprint for the next eight or nine years.

I saw Frank Black during the Teenager of the Year tour. The still underknown Jonny Polonsky opened. Throughout the entire show people screamed for Pixies songs. They never got them.

Headache — 01
Adda Lee — 02
Men in Black — 03
Superabound — 04
Old Black Dawning — 05
Pure Citizen of the Citizens Band — 06
You Ain’t Me — 07
Speedy Marie — 08
The Creature Crawling — 09
Czar — 10
The Man Who Was Too Loud — 11
The Cult of Ray — 12
Space Is Gonna Do Me Good — 13
Don’t Ya Rile ‘em — 14

FRANK BLACK :: 1993-1996

02, 05, 10, 14 — Frank Black (1993)
01, 04, 06, 08, 13 — Teenager of the Year (1994)
11 — The John Peel Session :: w/Teenage Fanclub (1995)
03, 07, 09, 12 — The Cult of Ray (1996)

Frank Black and the Catholics was made up of the backing band on The Cult of Ray. The process of recording “live-to-tape” was passed into law. There were no overdubs and virtually all of the songs during this time had no edits.

In 2004, Frank Black left the Catholics behind. He recorded two albums in Nashville with heavy-hitting session musicians that included Steve Cropper and Spooner Oldham, among many others.

I saw Frank Black and the Catholics during The Dog in the Sand tour. It was this tour that, for the first time, Pixies songs appeared on a Frank Black set list. Pixies reunited three years later.

Bullet — 01
Modern Age — 02
Do You Feel Bad About It? — 03
Smoke Up — 04
Go Find Your Saint — 05
21 Reasons — 06
If It Takes All Night — 07
I Switched You — 08
Solid Gold — 09
Nadine — 10
If Your Poison Gets You — 11
I Burn Today (live) — 12
Wave of Mutilation (live) — 13

FRANK BLACK AND THE CATHOLICS :: 1997-2006

03, 09 — Frank Black and the Catholics (1998)
04, 08 — Pistolero (1999)
01, 07 — Dog in the Sand (2001)
06 — Black Letter Days (2002)
02 — Devil’s Workshop (2002)
10 — Show Me Your Tears (2003)
05 — Honeycomb (2005) as Frank Black
11 — Fast Man Raider Man (2006) as Frank Black
12, 13 — Christmass (2006) as Frank Black

By 2007 the Pixies reunion tour looked like it was here to stay. There were rumors of new songs being worked on, though no new Pixies album appeared. Charles Thompson reverted to his Pixies alias, Black Francis, when he released Bluefinger. Both it and the EP svn fngrs made me wonder if some these songs had seeds of the rumored session. The rest of this section of frankblackfrancis is filled with a grab bag of projects: he wrote songs and a score for the silent movie The Golem (1920), he partnered with Reid Paley, a contributor on Fast Man Raider Man, for a one-off album, and he recorded a couple albums with Violet Clark, his wife, under the name Grand Duchy.

Threshold Apprehension — 01
Six Legged Man — 02
Half Man — 03
Bad News — 04
Curse — 05
Dead Man’s Curve — 06
The Flower Song — 07
Ugly Life — 08
Tight Black Rubber — 09
When They Come to Murder Me — 10
Lolita — 11
Stars — 12

BLACK FRANCIS :: 2007-2011

01, 09, 11 — Bluefinger (2007)
03, 10 — svn fngrs (2008)
02, 06 — NonStopErotik (2010)
04, 07, 12 — The Golem (2010)
05, 08 — Paley & Francis (2011) :: as Paley & Francis

If you haven’t noticed yet, Frank Black records a lot. Since Pixies formed in 1986 his yearly album average is nearly one and a quarter. And that’s not counting the songs he didn’t put on his records.

There was so much b-side material that collections were released. Oddballs compiled some of the excess from 1994-1997. Like material from the Catholics years were spread over two titles: Snake Oil (covers) and Another Road for the Hit (originals). Abbabubba and Christmass were mixes of original songs, live recordings and alternate versions of album tracks. Pixies even released a collection of b-sides. And with the arrival of Beneath the Eyrie, there are six more songs for the pile.

History Song (live) — 01
Somethings — 02
Don’t Clip Your Wings — 03
Re-Make/Re-Model — 04
Oddball — 05
Amnesia — 06
Old John Amos — 07
Sugar Daddy — 08
This Is Where I Belong — 09
Preacher’s Daughter — 10
That Burnt Out Rock ‘n’ Roll (live) — 11
Do Nothing — 12
You Never Heard About Me — 13
Rabbit Hole — 14
Tossed (vocal version) (live) — 15

SCRAPS

01 — FB&theC covering The Good, The Bad and The Queen
02, 12 — FB&theC - Snake Oil. 02 covering Angst. 12 covering The Specials
03, 10 — FB&theC: One More Road for the Hit
04, 05, 13 — FB: Oddballs
06, 09 — FB: “Headache” CD single. 09 covering The Kinks
07 — covering Arthur Alexander
08 — FB: Wig in a Box: Songs from and Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch
11 — FB: 93-03. covering Gary Green
14 — BF demo
15 — FB bootleg

Below are Spotify versions of the playlists above. A few songs aren’t available, so some of the playlists vary slightly. There are a very small number copies of the above set, plus two episodes of It’s a Pixies Podcast, burned to CD at Colin’s Coffee, if you are so inclined…

“On Graveyard Hill” video co-directed by Kii Arens (Flipp, PPL MVR and LA-LA Land Gallery)

*phew*