“I was just trying to rip off The Pixies.” -Kurt Cobain on “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
“The one that made me go, ‘Holy shit.’ It was so fresh. It rocked without being lame.”
Whether you first heard Frank Black’s trademark snarl somewhere in a Farrelly Bros. comedy, your cousin’s beat up Volvo, or on your college radio, odds are it stuck with you. While Cobain’s often credited for bringing alternative rock ‘n’ roll to the masses with 1991’s Nevermind, most rock scholars will credit Black’s Pixies — specifically, their 1988 full-length debut, Surfer Rosa.
Today, the Steve Albini-produced landmark turns 25. Yet despite the two and half decades behind us, the album still sounds fresh, kept alive by dozens of acts that recycle its passion, intensity, and biting humor — some don’t even know they’re doing it. Look no further than last year’s Attack on Memory, Cloud Nothings’ very excellent breakthrough album. Also produced by Albini, many critics (this one included) couldn’t help but compare Dylan Baldi’s scalding exuberance to Black’s.
He’s not alone. Black’s Massachusetts-bred outfit continues to claim more and more followers, some even picking up the guitar because of songs like “Where Is My Mind?”, or “Bone Machine”, or “Oh My Golly!”. With that in mind, we thought we’d celebrate that idea by culling together an obscure list of random covers floating around YouTube. Some are really funny, a couple sort of creepy, and a few are even solid, but all are just weird enough to fit in the Pixies canon.
Here’s Surfer Rosa, as performed by you.
01. Bone Machine
The Tokyo hardcore/noise band Cowpers do an incredible cover in Japanese and you will listen to this more than once.
02. Break My Body
Why so serious?
03. Something Against You
There’s something about taking to GarageBand to try to mirror Albini’s drums that makes you go “aww, buddy.” Good Job. Good Effort.
04. Broken Face
That guitar strap.
Pouty in the USA.
06. River Euphrates
Whoever filmed this has it bad for the lead singer — extreme closeup, much?
07. Where Is My Mind?
Stephanie Anne Johnson can get all of it.
Live from Folsom Prison, y’all.
09. Tony’s Theme
Danno, you did it. You got this guy –who should forever be your best friend — to do this. We’ve all done this in private, but this guy had the shamelessness to do the whole song and put it on YouTube. BFFs.
10. Oh My Golly!
The ‘stache really sells it.
Come on Pilgrim is a good name for a Pixies cover band, but other suggestions include The Sad Punks, Here Comes Your Band, and Doolittle? More Like Do A Lot (A Pixies Experience).
12. I’m Amazed
It’s clearly Spike Jonze-approved.
13. Brick Is Red
I pray these guys are famous one day, so they never forget their humble garage beginnings covering Pixies deep cuts.