Pixies Pixies

This latest addition to the ever-growing catalogue of Pixies releases is also the oldest thing these seminal Boston alt-rockers ever put to tape. Recorded in early 1987 by producer pal Gary Smith at his Fort Apache studio in nearby Roxbury, these nine tracks originally comprised a side's worth of a what's come to be known as The Purple Tape. The other eight tracks of the original 17-song demo were plucked for release as the 4AD mini-album Come On Pilgrim issued seven months later. Of this batch, all but one song has been re-recorded and released as either an album track or a B-side; that lone number is a typically rousing "Ed Is Dead" precursor called "Rock A My Soul." Surfer Rosa tracks "Broken Face," "Break My Body" and "I'm Amazed" are here in their comparatively svelte, yet resplendent infancy, as is "Here Comes Your Man," "Build High" and "Down To the Well." Even the band's last proper album, Trompe Le Monde, is represented with a version of "Subbacultcha." Like most of the material here, it isn't all that different from its better-known later version, save for a couple of lyrical variations. The studio version of band's cover of the David Lynch/Peter Ivers song "In Heaven" (from the movie Eraserhead) is here, too. Despite the tales of broken faces and bones, the disc tempts the notion of a kinder, gentler and more thematically simplistic Pixies, as all of the sex and death songs ended up on Pilgrim. If you have too much time on your hands, it may be a worthwhile exercise to determine the original song order of The Purple Tape, then record your own by mixing these tracks in with those from Come On Pilgrim. Or not. (Sonic Unyon)