Doolittle album cover

Doolittle (Classic Album Dissection) & Opinions on Midlake

Jim and Greg are joined by Black Francis of the Pixies for a Classic Album Dissection of the band's 1989 landmark release Doolittle.

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Music News

Jim and Greg start by discussing news that Alan Ellis, the administrator of the popular UK bit-torrent site Oink.cd was acquitted of charges of conspiring to defraud copyright owners. Usually Jim and Greg are reporting victory for the music industry, so they were surprised to see this verdict. But, the key was that Ellis could not be linked to any conspiracy; he merely provided the ability to search for content. A judge or jury is not likely to be as lenient to the actual downloaders, like Trent Reznor. During its operation Oink facilitated the trading of 21 million music files.

Music fans were hit with lots of sad news last week. First, there was the death of Memphis punk rocker Jay Reatard at the age of 29. Then, there was the death of Wax Trax Records founder Dannie Flesher at the age of 58. And finally, there was the death of soul singer Teddy Pendergrass at the age of 59. Pendergrass first got attention as the drummer, then singer in Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. In fact, many people may not know that it was Pendergrass, not Melvin, who sang one of their biggest hits, "If You Don't Know Me By Now." Pendergrass continued to work with Philadelphia team Gamble and Huff and to become the king of the“slow jam.”But, to remember Pendergrass, Jim and Greg decide to play "You Can't Hide From Yourself," an up-tempo track that shows his diversity as a performer.

classic album dissectionDoolittleDoolittle available on iTunes

The Pixies Doolittle

This week Jim and Greg conduct one of their patented Classic Album Dissections. They decided to focus on a landmark album in indie rock: Doolittle by The Pixies. As an added bonus, they're joined by one of the creators of Doolittle, Pixies singer and songwriter Charles Thompson aka Black Francis aka Frank Black. Charles and bandmates Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering recently marked the album's 20th anniversary with a tour dedicated to the record. While artists such as Kurt Cobain have cited it as a major influence, Doolittle was a slow burn record. After its 1989 release, it didn't achieve gold status until almost a decade later.

As Charles explains to Jim and Greg, his vocal style and lyrics were an amalgamation of his upbringing and the art and ideas floating around him at that time. It's a unique mix of preaching, surrealism and even sexual frustration. But, the songwriter warns against dissecting the lyrics too closely. He loves words for words' sake.

The lead singer also credits producer Gil Norton for the mix of“raw and fancy”that people associate with The Pixies. He polished up their sound, but knew well enough to leave a little roughness around the edges. Another component of the sweet but scary mix is Joey Santiago's guitar playing. Charles describes it as just like the guitarist's own personality-sweet and gentle like a little kid, but capable of smashing something to bits.

At the end of their discussion Jim and Greg ask Charles/Black/Frank to choose a favorite track from Doolittle. He goes with "Monkey Gone to Heaven," a song that encapsulates all of the album's elements-humor, darkness, violence, love, hope and references to the nautical and the mythological. Finally, Charles sees it as a great example of the yin and yang connection between him and singer Kim Deal.

reviewThe Courage of Others (Deluxe)The Trials of Van Occupanther available on iTunes

Midlake The Trials of Van Occupanther

At the end of the show Jim and Greg review The Courage of Others, the third album from Denton, Texas rockers Midlake. When the band appeared on Sound Opinions in 2007, many people were comparing their album The Trials of Van Occupanther and its track "Roscoe" to ‘70s Fleetwood Mac. Now, Jim hears more of an early ’60s English folk vibe. It's a gorgeous but chilling record that's perfect for winter. Jim gives it a Buy It. Greg agrees, adding that he hears some Elizabethan madrigals' influence as well. He hesitates to call Midlake and bands like Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective“hippies,”but hears their yearning for a return to nature. Greg also gives Midlake a Buy It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Pink Floyd,“Pigs on the Wing, Pt 1,”Animals, 1977
  2. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes,“If You Don't Know Me By Now,”1972
  3. Teddy Pendergrass,“You Can't Hide From Yourself,”Teddy Pendergrass, 1977
  4. The Pixies,“La La Love You,”Doolittle, 1989
  5. The Pixies,“Silver,”Doolittle, 1989
  6. The Pixies,“Vamos,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  7. The Pixies,“Tame,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  8. The Pixies,“Dead,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  9. The Pixies,“Debaser,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  10. The Pixies,“Monkey Gone to Heaven,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  11. The Pixies,“Mr. Grieves,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  12. The Pixies,“I Bleed,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  13. The Pixies,“Tame,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  14. Angst,“Motherless Child,”Cry for Happy, 1988
  15. The Pixies,“Here Comes Your Man,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  16. The Pixies,“Wave of Mutilation,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  17. The Pixies,“Monkey Gone to Heaven,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  18. The Pixies,“There Goes My Gun,”Surfer Rosa, 1988
  19. Midlake,“Acts of Man,”The Courage of Others, 2010
  20. Midlake,“Bring Down,”The Courage of Others, 2010
  21. Four Tet,“Circling,”There Is Love in You, 2010
  22. Barbra Streisand,“Calling You,”The Movie Album, 2003
  23. Lady Gaga,“Teeth,”The Fame Monster, 2010

Footnotes

arstechnica.com Alan Ellis free nytimes.com Teddy Pendergrass Obit pixiesmusic.com The Pixies midlake.net Midlake