Crate-Digging Quick Takes: Pixies – Coachella ’04 EP

Revenge of the Quick Takes!

(self released, 2012)

I kind of changed my mind about my conclusions to this free EP that the Pixies are giving out to celebrate the event that reunited version 2.0 of the band. Here was my final conclusion, a sentence I wrote before anything else, and now rings hollow:

“It’s hard to fault a free gift from one of your favorite bands, but in the end the curation of the gift leaves much to be desired, and as such is a little insulting.”

Yeah, that’s me, complaining about a free Pixies EP. I’m such a different person now than I was back then … earlier this morning. See, I was initially stoked – I got an email a few days ago from the official Pixies site with a download link – a “celebration” for being “between two consecutive weekends of COACHELLA for the first time ever.” So they “rifled through the vaults” and put this together. I found it a half-assed attempt to cherrypick four tunes from their twenty-song 2004 Coachella performance, the first performance since they had broken up over a decade prior.

I’ll give it to you straight, anyway, even though I’m about to contradict everything I’m moaning about, but here it is. Pixies songs are Pixies songs. There aren’t good Pixies songs and bad Pixies songs, per se, they’re all in the canon, and they all deserve to be. You know what I mean, Pixies fan. So here we have “U-Mass,” “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” “Hey,” and “Caribou.” Before anything else, you should probably realize, “Huh, those are some of the less energetic ones in the catalog…,” and you’d be right. “U-Mass” is fine – no complaint there. “Monkey Gone to Heaven” is fine too – until you realize those are the opening bass notes to “Debaser” at the end of the track, and then you wish it was “Debaser” rather than “Monkey” that made the cut. “Hey” is a momentum killer anyway, a reflective song (and a phenomenal one at that), but look, this is a live sampler, so shouldn’t songs more indicative of the live Pixies experience be included? It was sandwiched between “Velouria” and “Gigantic” on the setlist, if that’s any indication as to what may have been included instead.

“Caribou” is always welcome – except when somebody fucks up the chords on the chorus. You expect rust after thirteen years, but why bring it to the fore?

But while I was searching for more info on the EP, I came across this Pitchfork news item from October 2010 with an active widget for the whole show. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be active or what (the email pointed to where you could purchase the whole show), but I checked it out, and got the whole show. So this is why my whole argument is moot. I was going to blather about bands getting paid, and the Pixies essentially needing to exist on their back catalog, touring it and recording shows for sale, etc., and why bother owning the same songs from a hundred different locations, but that’s an argument for another day, if ever. But if you want the Pixies’ initial show upon reforming, it’s out there still. (Probably.)

RIYL: uh, Pixies.


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