The November 2020 issue of Guitar Magazine is out now! Now, one might plausibly argue that had Pixies made the exact same album musically but paired them with the lyrics of, say, The Wonder Stuff, then history might have been different: would critics have The Genius Of… Pixies – Surfer Rosa Recorded in just 10 days at the end of 1987, Pixies' ferocious debut album changed the face of alternative music, inspiring David Bowie, Radiohead, Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins in the process. 4AD boss Ivo Watts-Russell was impressed enough to sign the band and put out eight songs from the demo as the EP Come On Pilgrim. Had the indie public not embraced them so wholeheartedly, would they have passed into pantheon of great bands, or would they be another of those groups who get occasionally reissued, gushed over in the specialist press a bit, then forgotten again, like The Feelies, a pioneering American indie band who remain consigned to the margins? If you were to pick one classic rock antecedent for Surfer Rosa, it would be Led Zeppelin. “It rocked without being lame,” he said of Surfer Rosa, the first full-length Pixies album, in a sentence that many of the record’s admirers might find dismissively simplistic, but which is actually truer than a thousand of the more florid pieces of analysis devoted to it. Both guitarists, who met at the University Of Massachusetts, wanted to use Telecasters on Surfer Rosa, but Francis got there first, deploying his blonde 1980s American Standard into a Vox AC30 for the sessions. It's just a case of taking that template of minimal, short, sharp and punky songs and running away with it. Santiago settled on a Les Paul, borrowing Deal’s 1970s Goldtop and plugging in to a Peavey Special, while the bassist used an Aria Pro II Cardinal Series through a Peavey Combo 300. The January 2021 issue of Guitar Magazine is out now! Surfer Rosa blew my tiny teenage mind.”. Upcoming Lyrics. As a wholly independent publication, we rely entirely on our ad bookings to keep The Quietus going. The cover for Pixies’ first full-length album features a “friend of a friend” posing topless as a flamenco dancer. At Q Division studios in Boston, he employed exactly the same techniques as Page did with Zeppelin at Headley Grange in Hampshire, using the available rooms to create natural echo and a huge sound that amplifies the spaces between the instruments rather than diminishing it. Album. Surfer Rosa‘s origins lie in the Purple Tape, a demo recorded over six days in March 1987 using $1,000 borrowed from singer and guitarist Black Francis’ father. It’s hard to conceive that, 30 years ago, Pixies’ peers might have viewed them as somewhat less than groundbreaking, but they did. The clarity of that spacious sound – unusual in the mid-to-late 80s, when engineers and producers were taking advantage of new technology to make records as full and overwhelming as possible – made Surfer Rosa very easy to listen to. David Bowie called the album, which went Gold on both sides of the Atlantic, “the most compelling music outside of Sonic Youth made in the entire 80s”; it blew PJ Harvey‘s mind; Kurt Cobain admitted to ripping off Surfer Rosa; the artists not yet known as Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead were listening closely, too. Of course, I don’t know, though I think that alternative history is perfectly reasonable. The other huge, unavoidable similarity is in the construction of the sound: Albini recorded Surfer Rosa in the same way Jimmy Page liked Zeppelin to be recorded, with the sound of the room present. The pace and thematic content remain frenetically intense throughout the remaining eight songs, on Cactus Francis disturbingly imploring his lover to “Bloody your hands on a cactus tree / Wipe it on your dress and send it to me”. An explosion of Catholic repression and a pair of “rough and ready” guitarists twisting together the unlikely stylistic bedfellows of flamenco, surf, punk and thrash. It’s only a hop from there to accepting them as Classic Rock. PIXIES - SURFER ROSA . One of the most compulsively listenable college rock albums of the '80s, the Pixies ' 1988 full-length debut Surfer Rosa fulfilled the promise of Come on Pilgrim and, thanks to Steve Albini's production, added a muscular edge that made their harshest moments seem even more menacing and perverse. It’s fair to say Surfer Rosa is not an easy listen. More information about Pixies here. Discover releases, reviews, credits, songs, and more about Pixies - Surfer Rosa at Discogs. 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