The Pixies were officially enshrined as the “most important rock band of the 80s” when Kurt Cobain let slip their influence on Nirvana. (Of course, he also trumpeted the Melvins, so what did he know?) But I don’t think anyone realized just how “important” they were until this wave of nu-emo, probably starting with Weezer (who featured on the dreaded tribute if I remember.) It’s an odd situation: none of these bands particularly sound like the Pixies, yet the influence is undeniable. (And – like Pete sez below re. NWA and The Beatles – the influence has all been lousy. Black Francis was a big fat thing who sang about sex and aliens and who, even in his odd sexual-asexuality, was worlds away from mewling fops of the likes of Dashboard Confessional.)

It stands to reason then that four studio albums and an EP (a combined total of $55.85 American, before taxes) is hardly the sort of catalog such an influential band warrants, especially in the eyes of its caretakers 4AD (and now apparently SpinArt). I don’t know if I’d call this greed, exactly. I’ve certainly bought al the superfluous Pixies-product which has come out in the past few years: thr B-Sides and the BBC Sessions and even the Besf Of. But the intentions at work seem…less than honorable for sure. Why now? Why not when they broke up almost 10 years ago? Solo projects not going too well? 4AD blown too much money on mimsy shoegaze in the last decade?

There’s nothing on these records – bar the B-Sides maybe – which is of any real value to those other than completists. Yet indie kids (and The Pixies are nothing if not the Biggest Indie Band Ever) are nothing but completists, a ready made audience of music obsessives who will lap up any scrap you toss them from their favoritist band. It’s playing not only on the fans who’ve had those five records since 1992 but the kids who were fingerpainting or potty training when the Doolittle sessions were being recorded. Sadly, I’ll probably buy this too. But I’m stopping when the Dick’s Picks-style live double discs start appearing. And I mean it this time. For real.