With the release of the Pixies’ new album just a day away, there are two singles from it that give us a peak into what to expect. We talked about one of them, “On Graveyard Hill”, briefly in our list of upcoming albums to look out for. The other, is “Catfish Kate”.
This week, we stopped looking back to the past to dig up old song relics, and started focusing on what’s being released now. So far, we’ve talked about The New Pornographers’ “Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile” from their upcoming album “In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights”, and Grimes’ “Violence“, from “Miss Anthrop0cene”.
Now we move on to the Pixies, the late 80s, alternative punk band that was so at the forefront of musical innovation, that they would leave the world of music irretrievably changed. But can their newest album hold up to their legacy?
Before we move on to “Catfish Kate”, let’s first go over what we know so far about the Pixies’ new album.
Beneath the Eyrie
“Beneath the Eyrie” is the Pixies’ seventh studio album, to be released on September 13th by BMG and Infectious Music. After the loss of long time bassist Kim Deal in 2013 (she didn’t die, just left the band), the Pixies welcomed on Paz Lenchantin the following year, who has been with them ever since.
Recording for “Beneath the Eyrie” took place in upstate New York, deep in the woods in Dreamland Recording Studios, a converted church. In an interview with Independent, Black Francis (aka Charles Thompson) shares some of his thoughts about the location.
“We were there in the winter before Christmas. Woodstock is a very moody place in the winter, it’s very spooky, the studio we recorded at was an old church with a one-armed cross missing all the other limbs and lots of animals scurrying around in the walls of all the buildings.”
Storytelling seems to have been a priority during recording. Inspired by their Gothic surroundings, it’s little surprise that the songs on “Beneath the Eyrie” are full of witchcraft, mythology, folklore, and magic. And “Catfish Kate”, serves as a perfect example.
The story of “Catfish Kate” is told from the perspective of “Black Jack Hooligan”, who describes how a woman named Kate once got into a fight with a catfish, taken to its home, and then transformed herself into “Catfish Kate”.
The arrangement of the song will be both familiar to, and different enough from other Pixies’ songs, for both long time fans and newcomers to enjoy. It’s got their characteristic soft, low verses, and high, loud choruses. But at the same time, it comes off as more melodic than some of their other songs, or maybe just in a different enough style that it’s refreshing to the ears.
The storytelling and imagery in “Catfish Kate” fits with the Gothic theme well, at times making it feel like a Grimm fairy tale set to music, which is great. Here’s the last verse of “Catfish Kate”, to show you what I mean.
“Well, they wrestled all the day and night
The morning showed the bloody sight
Kate all dressed in catfish clothes
His whiskers for her catfish robe
Whiskers for her robe”
The Pixies were one of those bands that became more popular once they had broken up than they ever were in the beginning. Whether that’s due to the presence of so many others citing them as influences, or simply because they had a song play at the end of “Fight Club”. Either way, their struggle is different now, as they’re currently up against their own legacy.
After hearing both of their new singles, I’m confident that the Pixies will be able to comeback with “Beneath the Eyrie”. They haven’t stopped making good music, and I doubt they will any time soon.
That about does it for our discussion today. I hope you enjoyed listening to and watching the music video for “Catfish Kate”. “Beneath the Eyrie” comes out tomorrow, September 13th for all who are interested. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new music to finish up the week.