Archive for The Pixies

The Pixies Are Playing At Strathmore. Bummer.

Posted in Music with tags , on October 9, 2013 by johnbuckley100

If our memory is correct, the first time we saw the Pixies, it was 1990 and they played at the old 930 Club in D.C., with their opening act being this pretty good Seattle band called… what was it?  Oh, yeah.  Nirvana.

(We are sure it was 930, unsure whether Nirvana opened for them or some other band we saw there right about that time.  The Fall?  Wire?)

The old 930 Club was a great place to see a punk band — dank, intimate, the audience of, oh, 400 wrapped around the smallish stage.  The original 930 Club — it moved to its present, ideal location circa 1992 — had a unique odor to it, which lingered in the clothes, such that even in winter, when we would come home from a show, Mrs. Tulip Frenzy usually insisted we leave our clothes on the porch and shower before coming to bed — and still we reeked of that potent cocktail: disinfectant, beer suds, cigarettes.  That stench was the smell of… rock’n’roll.

We indulge in this nostalgia because yesterday, the Pixies announced the dates of their North American tour, which sees them playing at Strathmore in Bethesda.  If the old 930 Club was a ’76 Alfa with a rusted door and a sputtering engine, sexy but cool, the Strathmore is a Coupe de Ville, a luxury boat you’d be embarrassed to be seen in.  It is a luxurious concert hall with ushers even stuffier than the seating.  It is, perhaps, the least rock’n’roll building in America, and we say that having never been to Branson, MO, but imagining just how awful it may be, or how bad it would be to see, say, the Clash play Vegas.

Some time ago, the Who played “Tommy” in opera houses, and there was a certain charm to such a mash-up.  This ain’t that.  This is sad.

Ok, Must Be Said: Thee Oh Sees’ “Floating Coffin” Is The Most Thrilling Record We’ve Heard In Years

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 21, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Here at Tulip Frenzy, we don’t take ourselves particularly seriously, and when we try to alert gentle readers to an album by one of our fave offbeat bands they might not otherwise, in the ordinary course of being an American human, come across, we often are a little tongue’n’cheek about the rock’n’roll that twangs our woogie.  But earlier in the week, when we gushed about Thee Oh Sees and declared their new album, Floating Coffin, to be somewhere between the best record since the British Invasion and Thee Oh Sees’ next one — which we figured, given their prolificness, might show up around summer — we found ourselves alternately showing off, having fun with this whole rock crit’ anything goes style-o’ writing and the sober-as-a-judge realization that, Holy Moley, this thing really is fantastic.  Little waves of seriousness lapped ashore throughout our *review*, and we found ourselves, a day or so hence, goin’, “Is it really that great, or is it even greater?”

Folks, we are serious as a heart attack when we pronounce the following: after three days, metaphorically speaking, locked in our basement with the headphones on, cheeseburgers slid under the door by loved ones since we won’t come out, playing Floating Coffin over and over and over again some more, we are compelled to report that it is (intentionally designed quote alert) the most thrilling rock’n’roll album we have listened to since at least Ty Segall’s Twins, and maybe since that first Elastica album, or even Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim.

We’re not going to go through the damn thing song by song, but let us just say that if want 39 minutes of sheer cussed joy; if you are looking for an album that will get your heart rate raised while you grok on its sheer sonic blissfulness; if you are looking for an album that gallops along with Secretariat’s speed but has moments of beauty like My Friend Flicka nuzzling your neck; if you want an album by a band that, at this amazing stage in its development, could blow the roof of any punk rock Hellhole in Christendom, yet also, we believe, could get the stoned out hippies at a jam-band forum like Bonnaroo to shake their R. Crumb asses, well, stop what you’re doing, get Floating Coffin and prepare for years of bliss.

Yeah, we can rejoin the world now.  And someone else can go clean the basement.

What Sasha Frere-Jones Gets Right, And Wrong, In His Rare Miss On Bowie

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by johnbuckley100

It is unusual for Sasha Frere-Jones to use his bully pulpit in The New Yorker to resist committing to a strong point of view, but when he finished his review of Bowie’s The Next Day with a taunt that “the bar rats can fight it out” over the exact status of the album among Bowie’s canon — declaring it “a fine rock record that is a few hairs away from being among his best,” and that “even the obsessives should be able to accept that” — we were disappointed.

Disappointed because Frere-Jones is, like Jon Mendelsohn, Lester Bangs, R. Meltzer, and Byron Coley before him, among the only voices in the rock criticism of his era that really matter.  While he does not write with anywhere near the pyrotechnical verve of any of these likely mentors, his perch exists at a time where Americans are given the dreary choice between reading the idiots at Rolling Stone, the even bigger idiots who labor under Jon Pareles’ Fidel-like reign at the formerly authoritative New York Times, and the onanistic closed loop in the bell jar that is Pitchfork.  Though it must be acknowledged that Ken Tucker at NPR has a wonderful sensibility, Frere-Jones may be the only main-market rock critic who really has an impact.

So yes, we were disappointed because the passive distancing of “a few hairs away from being among” Bowie’s best violates every rule of resistance to gainsaying, to soft pronouncements,  that we were taught, lo those many years ago, by Andy Schwartz, the great editor of NY Rocker, where we were once a young pup (along with Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, the aforementioned Coley, Glen Morrow, and others.)

If you want to say the album isn’t so good, say it, Sasha.  And if you want to say it’s great, say that.  If it’s somewhere in between?  Find a way of committing to exactly where it stands, without weasel calibrations like “a few hairs away from among his best.”

But that’s not the point of this post, a rare criticism of Frere-Jones.  In his review, Frere-Jones holds up Bowie’s under-appreciated 2002 album Heathen as a “magnificent” collection “with fewer good songs than The Next Day (though) a more cohesive marriage of electronic textures and traditional guitar work, and Bowie was in robust voice.  Bowie and (producer Tony) Visconti worked on that together, and it’s difficult to understand how they could have been so in synch with the moment then but not now.”  So, score a point for Sasha that the production on The Next Day does have that brittle 1980s sound that makes so many of the good albums from that epoch unlistenable today.  And he is right that Heathen, as well as the half-decent follow-up Reality, have a less bombastic, arch sound.  But come on: two of the three best songs on Heathen were written by Black Francis, as if Bowie was so out of it in the 1980s that he only picked up on the Pixies’ genius a decade later.

As between 1) having a production that sounds too much like the ’80s, but a series of great, fresh songs, and 2) a smooth sound set amidst a songwriting dry spell that necessitates having to dip into Black Francis’ bag for inspiration, we’ll take the former.  Frere-Jones is right that the production on The Next Day weakens it, but his inability to commit to what he thinks about it, leaving it to the “bar rats” to decide how good it is, is an abdication of his responsibility.  If an artist played it as safe as he does in his review, we hope he would excoriate them for it.

The Pixies’ “Doolittle” Tour Begins

Posted in Music with tags , on November 9, 2009 by johnbuckley100

To commemorate this blessed event (Pixies’ Dolittle Tour Begins), and in anticipation of their upcoming shows in D.C., we offer the below victual from our friends, those geniuses at

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Watch The Pixies’ “loudQUIETloud”Right Here

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 17, 2009 by johnbuckley100

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From our friends at SnagFilms.  Enjoy.

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