This is a story about a boy and his OCD fixation with a song I thought for sure was cribbed from or inspired by the Pixies. I chanced upon NYC’s Nostranders “The Thing” this summer and immediately started to wrack my limited memory for the popular Pixies song that inspired the cut. It comes from Nostranders’ June 2022 Visceral Garden EP. You can stream Nostranders on Spotify.
What was I missing here? A song about the Great Salt Lake with discomfiting backing vocals. I couldn’t. quite. place it. I don’t post many videos but the audio is not easy to access. Here, then, are Nostranders:
A lost Pixies song?!
I felt sure the backing vocals on “The Thing” were inspired by or literally credited to the Pixies — my brain simply couldn’t boot it. I even tried to crowdsource the question with an alternative music group on one of the socials. Smart, hip people. A lot of agreement that it sounded like a popular Pixies song or Kim Deal song, but in the end? Nothing. Weeks go by.
Pixies mystery starts to come together
Now cut to Monday morning, Labor Day, 3AM. I peek at Nostranders’ Soundcloud page. What is the first song in their cue? A dream-pop cover of “Wave of Mutilation.”
And not a bad one.
This made me wonder if Nostranders were actually SINGING about the Pixies on “The Thing” — the vocals get a bit lost. So I was using every world wide Interweb skill to find the lyrics when I chanced across a little-known track, “The Thing,” a B-side from…………….. wait for it………………….. Pixies.
My humiliation only grew from there. The Pixies “The Thing” is actually just an outtake from Bossanova. AND THAT is where the remaining brain cells kicked in when I heard the “Aaaah’s” from “The Happening” and Black Francis’ story of an alien encounter.
It is, quite literally, a popular Pixies song. This is part of what it means to get old. Another video, “The Happening”….
Popular Pixies songs are easy to find
In about three weeks, Pixies release Doggerel, another album without Kim Deal. If you’ve heard “There’s a Moon On” then you probably know what to expect. Not a lot. But this isn’t a Pixies bashing website. I’m 100% pro-Pixies.
However, if this sad tale has whetted your appetite, you could do worse than the 2007 tribute Dig for Fire with Pixies tributes by The Rosebuds, Mogwai and OK Go, among others. British Sea Power’s cover of “Caribou” is especially provoking.
See Dig for Fire and other cool tributes and themed compilations at American Laundromat Records.
I will have no further comment on the amount of time spent trying to figure this out. You can find the Pixies’ Complete ‘B’ Sides at Discogs, and the rest of their catalogue basically everyplace on Earth.
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