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Bedbug
* Dog in the Sand *

2164 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  08:25:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wouldn't we have to have an example of Paz singing in key to know when she's purposefully singing out of key?
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Broken Face
-= Forum Pistolero =-

USA
5154 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  08:53:56  Show Profile  Visit Broken Face's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Troubles A Foot

quote:

I disagree with a lot of this. Indie Cindy was a deliberate attempt to do something new, and people (including a majority of folks in these parts) didn't like it. They wanted something more close to the original stuff.

So, the band tried to do that with Head Carrier. And then people were shitting on it because it was too close to their older stuff.




And I disagree with a lot of this.

Indie Cindy sounds like Pixies 1.0 to me. They sound specifically like songs from Bossanova, with maybe elements from other albums too. The production sounds a bit more intense and spacey, but I don't really see it as some big new thing.

Head Carrier sounds like a solid Frank solo album, especially Catholics, it has all of those kind of generic country melodies and none of that angular insane Pixies stuff, which is all over Indie Cindy, and I can't FOR THE LIFE OF ME understand the comparisons to Doolittle or anything about older Pixies. I can't think of anything on that album that sounds like old Pixies to me, except All The Saints (my favorite recent song, btw) is a bit like Havalina, though to me it's more like Dog in the Sand or something.

I seriously don't see in any possible way how Head Carrier is some sort of return to any sound, when Indie Cindy is the closest they've sounded like the old Pixies almost from beginning to end.

I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes on this forum. What are your ears all hearing!??



In terms of production Indie Cindy is far more adventurous and forward thinking than Head Carrier is. HC's production is (what I think) people refer to when they're talking about it being more old school Pixies sound. There aren't as many flourishes and/or weird choices on HC.

I think that some of the songs on HC are also more straightforward in their composition. Something like "Bagboy" (which I don't think is particularly good) or "Indie Cindy" (which I do) are quite different, from a structural standpoint than any 1.0 song. Whereas "Oona" or "All the Saints" are quite similar to other Pixies' songs, in terms of how they're put together.

To me, it's not a judgment call. I just hope that the band is pushing themselves to do something both different from what we've heard before, and also something that is good. Tossed off doesn't work for this band.

But it's interesting, I would NEVER say that HC sounds like the Catholics, and I adore the Catholics. I hear them as very different things.

But that's the fun of all of this. I was teasing pot about this before, but I really dig all the different interpretations/opinions everyone has about these songs.

More often than not, it is our expectations that let us down, not the band.


- Brian
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Troubles A Foot
- FB Fan -

USA
226 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  09:11:53  Show Profile  Visit Troubles A Foot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:

But it's interesting, I would NEVER say that HC sounds like the Catholics, and I adore the Catholics. I hear them as very different things.




You don't think the melodies or songwriting does at all?

Right from the very first song - "I'm going down the drain...again"...this kind of folksy country melody that is all over Catholics songs and even all over stuff on Fast Man/Raider Man.

Might As Well Be Gone could easily be a Show Me Your Tears song or something, mainly the chorus...but the verses I could see feeling like a Pixies song. This album is a bizarre mish mash of solo Frank and Pixies elements. They all sound like Catholics songs but arranged by the Pixies. So you have the female vocals and the Santiago stuff but the actual songwriting at its core is like solo Frank-ish.

Tenement Song and Bel Espirit all have these kind of pleasant, sing-songy melodies that I associate far more with Frank's solo work than Pixies. Bel Espirit "did his little dance...there up in the north of spain" etc is flat out a Catholics country/folk melody to me. Even the style of singing, etc. They are more straight forward pop/rock songs.

Um Chagga sounds like a Pistolero traveling on the road song to me and nothing like any Pixies song I can think of.

Plaster of Paris, again it's the vocal style and the pleasant singing and the general feel...whereas IC has that whispery Black Francis voice mixed with the screaming and etc. Not to be nitpicky but it really is amazing how many "voices" Frank has and I associate them with the different eras of his music. Catholics he sounds more like a grown man, whereas Pixies is more youthful (both in the soft singing, think the verses of Caribou or Magdalena) or the screaming (chorus of Caribou or What Goes Boom, etc.)

Indie Cindy is more surprising and unpredictable and has more of the Pixies yelling/talking and outbursts, strange song structure, etc.

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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  09:18:30  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by picpic

quote:
Originally posted by johnnyribcage



Sorry, but Paz is off-key on many old Pixies songs on stage, too... and sorry, but it does sound unpleasant to my ear. Donít ask me why, but I love Pixies / BF disonances, they made the Pixies sound. But disonant backing vocals are not working, and i donít think Paz is singing that way on purpose.

___
"Service Unavailable"



I feel like I may be deep diving too much on this one small aspect of this song, but hey, that's what we're here for right? I'll try to avoid reiterating anything I already said on the matter above.

I think her ability to hit the notes live should be evaluated separately from the studio.

In the studio, you can do it as many times as it takes, and I doubt they would let her sing out of key if dissonance wasn't the intention. To Bedbug's point, is she capable of doing it? Well, there is a ton of evidence. Let's go to the tapes....

Examples of Paz clearly hitting traditional harmony parts in key from Head Carrier:

Classic Masher - nothing 'off key' here
Might as Well be Gone - it has the classic Kim Deal illusion of flatness going on, but she's exactly where the part should be
Oona - same as Classic Masher
Tenenement Song - same Classic Masher
Bel Esprit - same as Might as Well be Gone
All I Think About Now - same as Might as Well Be Gone
Plaster - same as Classic Masher
All the Saints - same as Classic Masher

Practically every song has her nailing the parts, and she's all over the album. So can she do it in the studio? Yes. Did they use some auto-tune? Yeah, it sounds like it. But so did Charles (it sounds like, to me - maybe he didn't), both on HC and IC. And so does almost everyone these days.

Now, let's talk live. Live is a different ball of wax. A great singer can and probably should nail parts pretty much all the time live, but not all can or do. Chris Cornell was out of key QUITE FREQUENTLY live, sometimes egregiously so, but I'd be baffled if someone tried to convince me the guy couldn't sing.

I'll use my Grateful Dead reference again. If you have more than a passing familiarity with them you'll definitely know what I'm saying, but even still I think I can make my point. All the singers in the band were quite capable of hitting the notes live and in studio (not much out of tune on the studio albums), but live it was a total crapshoot. Quite often it was perfection, but fairly regularly it was rough at best, and sometimes it was a complete train wreck. The kind of vocals that could strip the varnish off a footlocker. The kind of vocals that could end a marriage.

Donna Godchaux in particular was notorious for singing out of key live, and is particularly infamous for repeatedly, performance after performance, year after year, basically sabotaging the beginning and end of the jam section for a song called "Playing In The Band." Here's a reference for laughs if you're interested: https://soundcloud.com/snootlyo/donna-ruins-every-playin-in-the-band

Now, as off as she was live at times, in the studio she was on the money every time, and was capable of adding a lot both in the studio and on stage.

So to close my argument, I think taking issue with dissonant vocals in this one studio song, Graveyard Hill, is valid, as long as it's with the composition / arrangement rather than the performance. The artists intended it to sound that way, and if they intended it to sound otherwise, they would have made a different choice. Taking issue with the backing vocals live not matching the songs as composed, i.e. literally singing out of key, is valid. But I think it's a different ball of wax. And if you just don't like the sound and timbre of her voice, that's a matter of taste of course, which we're all entitled to.



I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.

Edited by - johnnyribcage on 06/06/2019 09:20:18
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picpic
* Dog in the Sand *

Belgium
1778 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  09:21:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bedbug

Wouldn't we have to have an example of Paz singing in key to know when she's purposefully singing out of key?


No. But a nice countrrexample:
Tenement Song on Colbert, backing vocals sounds good. Harmonies melt together in a nice say .
Backing vocals also sound edited/autotuned or double-tracked in some way. Strange coincidence.

(Excellent performance anyway.)


___
"Service Unavailable"

Edited by - picpic on 06/06/2019 09:22:28
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Troubles A Foot
- FB Fan -

USA
226 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  09:22:27  Show Profile  Visit Troubles A Foot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I should note for your Paz debate here, the vocals on HC sound extremely autotuned to me.
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picpic
* Dog in the Sand *

Belgium
1778 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  09:26:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Troubles A Foot

I should note for your Paz debate here, the vocals on HC sound extremely autotuned to me.


Absolutely... and for some reason, they decided to use her raw vocals on Graveyard Hill. Now, her studio vocals sounds like her usual stage vocals on this song... out of key... simple as that.

___
"Service Unavailable"
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  09:33:59  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Troubles A Foot

quote:

But it's interesting, I would NEVER say that HC sounds like the Catholics, and I adore the Catholics. I hear them as very different things.




You don't think the melodies or songwriting does at all?

Right from the very first song - "I'm going down the drain...again"...this kind of folksy country melody that is all over Catholics songs and even all over stuff on Fast Man/Raider Man....

...Indie Cindy is more surprising and unpredictable and has more of the Pixies yelling/talking and outbursts, strange song structure, etc.





I agree with pretty much all of that. HC definitely has more in common for me with Catholics / Nashville era FB than early Pixies, to my ear. Except Oona and All I Think About Now. Those are fairly definitively in the Pixies idiom to me.

Having more in common with that era of FB though doesn't mean it actually sounds like it, or that it is 100% cut from the same cloth, and you said as much when you explained that it sounds like it was arranged by the Pixies.

It's a mish-mash, like you said.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  09:37:14  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by picpic

quote:
Originally posted by Troubles A Foot

I should note for your Paz debate here, the vocals on HC sound extremely autotuned to me.


Absolutely... and for some reason, they decided to use her raw vocals on Graveyard Hill. Now, her studio vocals sounds like her usual stage vocals on this song... out of key... simple as that.

___
"Service Unavailable"


Auto-tune wouldn't have corrected that, for what it's worth. Not without creating a shitload of the trademark computerized hitching and glitching that heavy handed auto-tune use is known (and apparently loved in some circles) for. Used with a lighter hand, it just creates a weird effect of riding perfectly in a channel - setting too nicely and evenly in a mix.

Edit / addition: in other words, the note she's trying to hit here is quite different than the note that would complete a nice minor E chord which is where the song wants to resolve to, but doesn't, and each instrument and voice is doing their part to ensure it doesn't. Auto-tune can't pull a note up or down a whole step or a step and a half if it's being used lightly.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.

Edited by - johnnyribcage on 06/06/2019 09:43:41
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Bedbug
* Dog in the Sand *

2164 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  09:53:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not to go there but, were key and auto tune any kind of issues during 1.0 era?
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  10:07:17  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A little more on what's going on with that 'witching hour' line in particular, from what I can tell. The verse riff is E, G#, C#, G#. The chorus seems to be A, G#, F#, C#m, which is a typically interesting Charles Thompson songwriting choice, rather than hit the E to end it. The root of that last witching hour chord is C# (I know I was saying E, but that's where the predictable landing spot would be). You can hear it quite clearly at about 2:16 when they play that riff without vocals, ending on C#m with a drop tuned guitar and bass filling out the low end. The whole song is probably in Drop D. Or Dropped C#/Dflat probably.

Now if you listen close, and play a just a C# note on your guitar (try an octave up on the G string 6th fret), you'll notice on the offending (I presume) second syllable of hour (wuurrr), Paz is perfectly on the root C# the first 3 times through, and the last time she jumps up to an F to complete a C# major chord, which F is actually the Major 3rd of a C# Major chord (technically E# I think, but same thing). So that's another cool, obviously purposeful choice.

What's it all mean? It means, Paz is singing in key. Why does it sound weird? Hold onto your britches.... it's because Charles is singing out of key. Or another way to look at it is Paz is on key for most then holding a major 3rd against a minor chord. It's an auditory slight of hand. Also one that Charles has employed in the past (think Bullet) Pretty cool. I'm glad I took the time to go figure out what the hell was going on there. Knowledge is power.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.

Edited by - johnnyribcage on 06/06/2019 10:32:54
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Bedbug
* Dog in the Sand *

2164 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  11:05:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Maybe Charles, as W.P Mayhew, the writer, once said, "just likes making up stories."

But in all seriousness Johnny Ribcage, impressive post, amazing how you musicians can figure all that stuff out.

I just listened again to Graveyard and I think I can tell that you are correct in FB being out of key(?).

Great stuff man.
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Sprite
= Cult of Ray =

961 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  11:47:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Amazing insight johnnyribcage.
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  11:57:11  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bedbug


But in all seriousness Johnny Ribcage, impressive post, amazing how you musicians can figure all that stuff out.




Thanks man. Itís kind of weird though sometimes. While Iím capable of just relaxing and letting a song wash over me and take me places, often times Iím just naturally listening to it differently than a non-musician might. More of an analytical process. Like a magician watching another magician doing a trick - theyíre looking at it differently. I assume a lot of musicians are like that. Itís fun though. Same thing with mixes and production choices.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.
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Troubles A Foot
- FB Fan -

USA
226 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  13:49:42  Show Profile  Visit Troubles A Foot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I just want to cut in and say I have no idea what anyone is talking about, Paz sounds fine in that song and the song in general sounds "in key," whatever the hell that means when applied to the Pixies.
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  14:30:49  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Canít win Ďem all


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.
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sdon
= Cult of Ray =

France
758 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  14:39:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I may be tone deaf but I don't hear that many disonances in this live version
https://youtu.be/jHiHOcgIUNM
Charles and Joey seem to be playing the same notes on 'witching hou-wurr'. And Paz doesn't sound off key
While I hear strong disonances on the studio version.
I think Dalgety is responsible for keeping those 'bad' takes...

--
"Aristophanes! (gong sounds)"
"Fucking up my devotion!"
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  14:54:16  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Can I just back up a level and say aim really digging this song?

Sorry to over-analyze here dudes and dudette (jeepster). I felt like Paz was taking some flack and decided to dig into it, not to mount a defense or anything, but to understand. Those of you who are new[er] to the forum - this shit used to be the uniform of the day around here. Welcome to the land of hot takes and over analysis. Charles himself used to regularly engage us here, until he had finally read enough. I might be the original Bagboy.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.

Edited by - johnnyribcage on 06/06/2019 15:06:24
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Broken Face
-= Forum Pistolero =-

USA
5154 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  15:19:57  Show Profile  Visit Broken Face's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by johnnyribcage

quote:
Originally posted by Troubles A Foot

quote:

But it's interesting, I would NEVER say that HC sounds like the Catholics, and I adore the Catholics. I hear them as very different things.




You don't think the melodies or songwriting does at all?

Right from the very first song - "I'm going down the drain...again"...this kind of folksy country melody that is all over Catholics songs and even all over stuff on Fast Man/Raider Man....

...Indie Cindy is more surprising and unpredictable and has more of the Pixies yelling/talking and outbursts, strange song structure, etc.





I agree with pretty much all of that. HC definitely has more in common for me with Catholics / Nashville era FB than early Pixies, to my ear. Except Oona and All I Think About Now. Those are fairly definitively in the Pixies idiom to me.

Having more in common with that era of FB though doesn't mean it actually sounds like it, or that it is 100% cut from the same cloth, and you said as much when you explained that it sounds like it was arranged by the Pixies.

It's a mish-mash, like you said.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.



I honestly don't hear it, folks. I've been listening to HC to see if I can glean some of what you're talking about, and there are a few very small melodic elements that I would say are more, shall we say, intricate than the early Pixies melodies, but I don't think that is evoking the Catholics era necessarily.

This is probably a totally different topic/category, but I think the "problem" with the 2.0 Pixies stuff is that it sounds, at times, like FBF is subjugating his natural songwriting progression that happens as he's gotten older/learned more/etc and is trying to jam that stuff into the Pixies mold. I think the best 2.0 songs are the ones that either are super simple and direct or the ones that don't try to sound like the older stuff at all, but aim for something different/new.

And so maybe we're both saying the same thing: maybe you're hearing those melodies as being more reminiscent of the melodies he was writing when he wasn't worried about the formalism of being a Pixie, and maybe I'm just hearing it as more interesting melodies.

- Brian
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Broken Face
-= Forum Pistolero =-

USA
5154 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  15:25:03  Show Profile  Visit Broken Face's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by johnnyribcage

A little more on what's going on with that 'witching hour' line in particular, from what I can tell. The verse riff is E, G#, C#, G#. The chorus seems to be A, G#, F#, C#m, which is a typically interesting Charles Thompson songwriting choice, rather than hit the E to end it. The root of that last witching hour chord is C# (I know I was saying E, but that's where the predictable landing spot would be). You can hear it quite clearly at about 2:16 when they play that riff without vocals, ending on C#m with a drop tuned guitar and bass filling out the low end. The whole song is probably in Drop D. Or Dropped C#/Dflat probably.

Now if you listen close, and play a just a C# note on your guitar (try an octave up on the G string 6th fret), you'll notice on the offending (I presume) second syllable of hour (wuurrr), Paz is perfectly on the root C# the first 3 times through, and the last time she jumps up to an F to complete a C# major chord, which F is actually the Major 3rd of a C# Major chord (technically E# I think, but same thing). So that's another cool, obviously purposeful choice.

What's it all mean? It means, Paz is singing in key. Why does it sound weird? Hold onto your britches.... it's because Charles is singing out of key. Or another way to look at it is Paz is on key for most then holding a major 3rd against a minor chord. It's an auditory slight of hand. Also one that Charles has employed in the past (think Bullet) Pretty cool. I'm glad I took the time to go figure out what the hell was going on there. Knowledge is power.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.



Excellent work on this. I think dissonance is an underused musical idea, and so people aren't used to hearing it, and blame it on someone being off-key.

(I'm also a sucker for messing with voicings and Picardy thirds and shit, so I ate all this up)

- Brian
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  15:31:22  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Broken Face

quote:
Originally posted by johnnyribcage



I honestly don't hear it, folks. I've been listening to HC to see if I can glean some of what you're talking about, and there are a few very small melodic elements that I would say are more, shall we say, intricate than the early Pixies melodies, but I don't think that is evoking the Catholics era necessarily.

This is probably a totally different topic/category, but I think the "problem" with the 2.0 Pixies stuff is that it sounds, at times, like FBF is subjugating his natural songwriting progression that happens as he's gotten older/learned more/etc and is trying to jam that stuff into the Pixies mold. I think the best 2.0 songs are the ones that either are super simple and direct or the ones that don't try to sound like the older stuff at all, but aim for something different/new.

And so maybe we're both saying the same thing: maybe you're hearing those melodies as being more reminiscent of the melodies he was writing when he wasn't worried about the formalism of being a Pixie, and maybe I'm just hearing it as more interesting melodies.

- Brian



I catch more Nashville than Catholics. But it's not a direct comparison. It's a branch on the same tree, whereas a lot of 1.0 Pixies might be a tree of the same nut, but one that someone planted on weirder soil. HC is like a squirrel tried to get a nut off each tree and wound up getting it's nuts tangled.

Not sure what happened to the squirrel, but the rest of us benefit from his efforts.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  15:36:46  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Broken Face

[quote]Originally posted by johnnyribcage


(I'm also a sucker for messing with voicings and Picardy thirds and shit, so I ate all this up)

- Brian



Oh snap, now we're talkin'!


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.
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Broken Face
-= Forum Pistolero =-

USA
5154 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  15:42:32  Show Profile  Visit Broken Face's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by johnnyribcage

quote:
Originally posted by Broken Face

[quote]Originally posted by johnnyribcage


(I'm also a sucker for messing with voicings and Picardy thirds and shit, so I ate all this up)

- Brian



Oh snap, now we're talkin'!


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.



Just saw that you live in my former haunt of Pittsburgh. I knew there was a reason I liked you!

(that and your quality posting)

- Brian
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Troubles A Foot
- FB Fan -

USA
226 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  16:35:58  Show Profile  Visit Troubles A Foot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:

I honestly don't hear it, folks. I've been listening to HC to see if I can glean some of what you're talking about, and there are a few very small melodic elements that I would say are more, shall we say, intricate than the early Pixies melodies, but I don't think that is evoking the Catholics era necessarily.

And so maybe we're both saying the same thing: maybe you're hearing those melodies as being more reminiscent of the melodies he was writing when he wasn't worried about the formalism of being a Pixie, and maybe I'm just hearing it as more interesting melodies.




But this doesn't mesh with what I said at all.

The songs on HC don't have intricate melodies, they have extremely simple melodies. A handful of the songs on IC have intricate and more unpredictable hard-to-put-your-finger-on and surprising melodies (Silver Snail, What Goes Boom, Snakes, etc). The reason I don't love HC is because the melodies are often NOT interesting to me, they are that folky generic style that is my least favorite kind of Frank Black songwriting. I like when he thinks outside the box with melodies, or at the least, when I don't listen and feel I've heard it a million times before in generic country songs. I like not knowing what the next chord will be. HC has a lot of "and here comes that simple melody resolution...yep there it is." IC has more "wait WHAT?" And "wait WHAT?" is what I consider the spirit of the Pixies.

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Broken Face
-= Forum Pistolero =-

USA
5154 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  16:42:58  Show Profile  Visit Broken Face's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Troubles A Foot

quote:

I honestly don't hear it, folks. I've been listening to HC to see if I can glean some of what you're talking about, and there are a few very small melodic elements that I would say are more, shall we say, intricate than the early Pixies melodies, but I don't think that is evoking the Catholics era necessarily.

And so maybe we're both saying the same thing: maybe you're hearing those melodies as being more reminiscent of the melodies he was writing when he wasn't worried about the formalism of being a Pixie, and maybe I'm just hearing it as more interesting melodies.




But this doesn't mesh with what I said at all.

The songs on HC don't have intricate melodies, they have extremely simple melodies. A handful of the songs on IC have intricate and more unpredictable hard-to-put-your-finger-on and surprising melodies (Silver Snail, What Goes Boom, Snakes, etc). The reason I don't love HC is because the melodies are often NOT interesting to me, they are that folky generic style that is my least favorite kind of Frank Black songwriting. I like when he thinks outside the box with melodies, or at the least, when I don't listen and feel I've heard it a million times before in generic country songs. I like not knowing what the next chord will be. HC has a lot of "and here comes that simple melody resolution...yep there it is." IC has more "wait WHAT?" And "wait WHAT?" is what I consider the spirit of the Pixies.





I don't think too many 1.0 melodies are all that complex or surprising. And I don't mean that derisively. I think that the pure melodies are what, in part, makes the songs so timeless. Those classic melodies upon the angular guitar parts, the driving drums, the unusual (for its time) lyrical content, etc, all adds up to a really interesting sonic stew. But there isn't much, to me, melodically on the first 5 records that is super out of the ordinary.

A test I always do when I'm writing something is, if I want a strong melody, I pluck it out on a few instruments, not just sing it. If it works on piano or flute or whatever, its a quality melody. You can easily pull most Pixies melodies (aside from some of the really screamy stuff) and play it on any instrument, and the melody works. That's due, in no small part, to the directness of the melodies.

- Brian
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  17:00:27  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I wouldn't call anything from Pilgrim through Bossanova "intricate," and maybe they started getting a little more fancy-pants with Trompe, but it's still not intricate. It's all definitely whiplash-inducing in a pop-rock idiom, and indeed, in any idiom, but it's a sum of the parts. It's a bunch of simple things put together in a revolutionary way. Like the Beatles. Which, hey, what do you know, is a very legit comparison to the Pixies.

I love simple, intricate, and everything in between. I'm a huge Pixies/FBF fan, but I'm also a huge Deadhead, a huge Crimhead (King Crimson), a fan of jazz, fusion, country(not mainstream), hip-hop, rock, blah blah blah... Simplicity isn't a bad thing, nor is mixing of simple elements. For me, it's all about either breaking new ground, evolving something awesome, or both. And the cream of those kinds of artists always rise to the top, whether it's 1790 or 1990 or 2090.

Great thread. We haven't gotten this down and dirty in years. And just on one teaser single.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.
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stuczuba
= Cult of Ray =

370 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  21:05:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Already looking forward to my 'Save Paz' campaign when we start playing Band Member Survivor.

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cptnpasty
- FB Fan -

Spain
142 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  21:16:32  Show Profile  Visit cptnpasty's Homepage  Reply with Quote
some of the muso posts here are really interesting.

i'm a simpler creature. the song gets better on each listen. i'm so over comparisons to the first five records. i just wait for charles thompson to put out another special record with whoever his band is.

at the moment it's the pixies. the positive there is its the fucking pixies. the negative is i have to wait longer. the era of thoroughly odd frank black records every year has come and gone.

www.guillermostitch.com
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Troubles A Foot
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USA
226 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2019 :  21:49:56  Show Profile  Visit Troubles A Foot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I feel like people aren't 100% understanding what I am saying about the melodies.

I am not saying a song like, let's say...Ana, is "intricate." I have no idea what "intricate" even means in this discussion.

But I am saying a song like Ana doesn't sound like a generic folk melody you have heard in 800 other songs.

I am not saying a melody like Here Comes Your Man, one of the most melodic and accessible songs, is intricate. But I am saying when I hear that song, I don't yawn and go "heard this melody before." When I hear that song, it is unique and original and the strength of the verses and choruses make are very lifting and make me happy and make me want to sing along.

When I hear something with the same folky or 12 bar blues kind of melody, I kind of roll my eyes and I crave something more original, at least original at first glance. I'm not here to pick apart melodies note for note, I'm talking about my instinctual first listen. If I know where the melody is going, I don't consider that a successful song, especially a Pixies song.

The other aspect of this is timing and song structure and etc. I can give examples if you like, but IC has interesting things like this all over. HC doesn't seem to. I consider unique timing and song structure (again, to the naked ear, I'm not talking about "well actually that is simply 4/4 time bla bla bla.") to be a vital component of the Pixies sound, and I was happy when IC came out and that remained in tact. Then HC came out and it felt very safe and kind of bland, if still some solid pop songs.

I feel I should also say I QUITE LIKE HEAD CARRIER. I think it's a perfectly good album. A few songs I really love. I'm a huge Frank Black fan and I eat up basically everything he does except NonStopErotik. This is just all motivated by the fact I think it's a bit overpraised and IC is a bit dismissed when the two are discussed, when I think IC is a far more interesting album with a lot more risks and curveballs.

Edited by - Troubles A Foot on 06/06/2019 21:53:14
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Broken Face
-= Forum Pistolero =-

USA
5154 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2019 :  02:52:33  Show Profile  Visit Broken Face's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Troubles A Foot

I feel like people aren't 100% understanding what I am saying about the melodies.

I am not saying a song like, let's say...Ana, is "intricate." I have no idea what "intricate" even means in this discussion.

But I am saying a song like Ana doesn't sound like a generic folk melody you have heard in 800 other songs.

I am not saying a melody like Here Comes Your Man, one of the most melodic and accessible songs, is intricate. But I am saying when I hear that song, I don't yawn and go "heard this melody before." When I hear that song, it is unique and original and the strength of the verses and choruses make are very lifting and make me happy and make me want to sing along.

When I hear something with the same folky or 12 bar blues kind of melody, I kind of roll my eyes and I crave something more original, at least original at first glance. I'm not here to pick apart melodies note for note, I'm talking about my instinctual first listen. If I know where the melody is going, I don't consider that a successful song, especially a Pixies song.

The other aspect of this is timing and song structure and etc. I can give examples if you like, but IC has interesting things like this all over. HC doesn't seem to. I consider unique timing and song structure (again, to the naked ear, I'm not talking about "well actually that is simply 4/4 time bla bla bla.") to be a vital component of the Pixies sound, and I was happy when IC came out and that remained in tact. Then HC came out and it felt very safe and kind of bland, if still some solid pop songs.

I feel I should also say I QUITE LIKE HEAD CARRIER. I think it's a perfectly good album. A few songs I really love. I'm a huge Frank Black fan and I eat up basically everything he does except NonStopErotik. This is just all motivated by the fact I think it's a bit overpraised and IC is a bit dismissed when the two are discussed, when I think IC is a far more interesting album with a lot more risks and curveballs.




And see, again, I'm not hearing what you're hearing. Cactus is the most straightforward 12-bar melody in the world. Where is My Mind and Ana are very standard pop melodies. Aside from something like Bone Machine, all those 1.0 melodies are very basic pop/folk melodies. I think you're conflating chord progressions/arrangements with melodies.

- Brian
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Troubles A Foot
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USA
226 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2019 :  07:28:41  Show Profile  Visit Troubles A Foot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Then we will have to agree to disagree. Those are not basic pop/folk melodies to me in the slightest.

I know the difference between a chord progression and a melody, man. I've been a musician and songwriter for 20 years. I'm sure lots of people here are too, so I don't mean that in a way that makes me special, I'm just saying I know exactly what I am saying.

I think there is a huge difference between hearing a melody you've head 1000 times before ("put the needle in my arm and I'll be dead and gone..") and hearing a song where you just enjoy it and don't think you've heard the melody 1000 times before ("bloody your hand on a cactus tree, wipe it on your dress and send it to meee"). I have no idea how you see these two as occupying the same melodic space. Where Is My Mind is an original melody, it's not a riff on an old folk song. Neither is Ana, which has an interesting melody completely, I just said it's not "intricate", not uninteresting. Show me your standard blues/folk song with the melody for Ana that's been performed for 80 years.

If all of the original Pixies songs were basic folk melodies, I WOULD HATE THE BAND AND NEVER LISTEN TO THEM. All of those songs are original pop melodies. I have no idea how to make myself any clearer on this point outside of making some sort of dense youtube essay with audio clips.

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picpic
* Dog in the Sand *

Belgium
1778 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2019 :  07:57:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by johnnyribcage

A little more on what's going on with that 'witching hour' line in particular, from what I can tell. The verse riff is E, G#, C#, G#. The chorus seems to be A, G#, F#, C#m, which is a typically interesting Charles Thompson songwriting choice, rather than hit the E to end it. The root of that last witching hour chord is C# (I know I was saying E, but that's where the predictable landing spot would be). You can hear it quite clearly at about 2:16 when they play that riff without vocals, ending on C#m with a drop tuned guitar and bass filling out the low end. The whole song is probably in Drop D. Or Dropped C#/Dflat probably.

Now if you listen close, and play a just a C# note on your guitar (try an octave up on the G string 6th fret), you'll notice on the offending (I presume) second syllable of hour (wuurrr), Paz is perfectly on the root C# the first 3 times through, and the last time she jumps up to an F to complete a C# major chord, which F is actually the Major 3rd of a C# Major chord (technically E# I think, but same thing). So that's another cool, obviously purposeful choice.

What's it all mean? It means, Paz is singing in key. Why does it sound weird? Hold onto your britches.... it's because Charles is singing out of key. Or another way to look at it is Paz is on key for most then holding a major 3rd against a minor chord. It's an auditory slight of hand. Also one that Charles has employed in the past (think Bullet) Pretty cool. I'm glad I took the time to go figure out what the hell was going on there. Knowledge is power.


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.


OK. So, why does Paz also sings out of key on many old Pixies songs, too ? Don't tell me this is done on purpose. Shattuck was more in tune.

PS: I'm not "hating" Paz. She's obviously a very good musician. But her out-of-tune vocals are just not working for me.

___
"Service Unavailable"

Edited by - picpic on 06/07/2019 07:59:14
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johnnyribcage
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1079 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2019 :  08:00:52  Show Profile  Visit johnnyribcage's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I think I gave my thoughts on that above already, picpic. See my lengthy reply near the top of page 16 that starts with ďI feel like I may be deep diving too much...Ē


I had a bad reaction to your public hobby writings.
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Broken Face
-= Forum Pistolero =-

USA
5154 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2019 :  08:09:29  Show Profile  Visit Broken Face's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Troubles A Foot

Then we will have to agree to disagree. Those are not basic pop/folk melodies to me in the slightest.

I know the difference between a chord progression and a melody, man. I've been a musician and songwriter for 20 years. I'm sure lots of people here are too, so I don't mean that in a way that makes me special, I'm just saying I know exactly what I am saying.

I think there is a huge difference between hearing a melody you've head 1000 times before ("put the needle in my arm and I'll be dead and gone..") and hearing a song where you just enjoy it and don't think you've heard the melody 1000 times before ("bloody your hand on a cactus tree, wipe it on your dress and send it to meee"). I have no idea how you see these two as occupying the same melodic space. Where Is My Mind is an original melody, it's not a riff on an old folk song. Neither is Ana, which has an interesting melody completely, I just said it's not "intricate", not uninteresting. Show me your standard blues/folk song with the melody for Ana that's been performed for 80 years.

If all of the original Pixies songs were basic folk melodies, I WOULD HATE THE BAND AND NEVER LISTEN TO THEM. All of those songs are original pop melodies. I have no idea how to make myself any clearer on this point outside of making some sort of dense youtube essay with audio clips.





I'm fine agreeing to disagree. I don't think we're going to convince each other of anything at this point.

- Brian
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Bedbug
* Dog in the Sand *

2164 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2019 :  08:17:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bedbug

Not to go there but, were key and auto tune any kind of issues during 1.0 era?



That's a good question bed bug.
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