Music

Wishes Do Come True: New Pixies LP and Kate Bush Live Dates

First Kate Bush announces her return to the concert stage, and then the Pixies get ready to drop their first album in over 20 years. It's been a surprising week in music news.

The last few days have seen some long-thought unlikely musical occurrences finally coalesce into reality. Last week, art rock diva Kate Bush announced she would break her 35-year-long absence from touring by holding a 15-date residency at London's Eventim Apollo starting this August. Similarly, alt-rock icons the Pixies announced days later that long-mooted plans for a post-reunion album would finally be realized next month with the release of Indie Cindy.

Though these developments are surprising, they are not completely out of bounds of reason, like, say, a Smiths reunion. Even though she has not embarked on a proper tour since a grueling six-week jaunt in 1979, Kate Bush has never been averse to live performance in of itself, having undertaken the odd one-off gig here and there since then. As for the Pixies, word has been that the band has tried to release more new material since reconvening ten years ago, with bassist Kim Deal being the primary hold-out against the notion. Since she exited the group last year, two EPs of brand-new Pixies material have been issued in quick succession; the subsequent unveiling of an full album was only logical.

Once the shock of these announcements wears off, the question of whether or not these folks can deliver on the promise raised by their past creative triumphs arises. In their own ways both artists have mystiques to maintain. The four currently extant Pixies studio albums possess a hallowed status in the alt-rock world, having influenced at least two generations of musicians. In contrast, the two new Deal-less Pixies EPs have received very mixed critical responses; even if one tries to gloss over them by subscribing to an "only LPs count" mindset, Indie Cindy will in actuality draw its contents from those recent releases. Even with some of the songs slated to appear on Indie Cindy yet to be heard, it's likely they will bear more similarity to the newer EPs than to Trompe le Monde (1991), the last Pixies album released before their breakup -- it's just been too long since the band's creative peak. In Bush's case, though there's less question that she can deliver musically, the 55-year-old will doubtedly engage in the strenuous physical routines she wowed audiences with back in 1979. No, whatever concertgoers will see starting in August, it will have to be a departure from the established conception of what a Kate Bush concert was like. In either case, whether the final results will reaffirm people's faith or sully fond memories, we'll ultimately have to make peace with whatever these revered figures bring to the table in the near future.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7
Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image