Come On Pilgrim (1987) This 8-song EP remains a deeply unsettling calling card from a band whose bleak humor and devilishly warped sensibilities both blindsided and stunned music fans. Prime cut: ”I’ve Been Tired,” which Black calls one of his few songs of ”attempted sincerity.”
Surfer Rosa (1988) Engineered by indie-rock provocateur Steve Albini, this is arguably the Pixies watershed, with the howling, slashing ”Bone Machine” and the Deal-sung race-mixing anthem ”Gigantic.”
Doolittle (1989) Producer Gil Norton gussied this up with a provisionally more mainstream sheen, but the Pixies mischief is in full effect. Anthems for the ages include ”Debaser,” ”Here Comes Your Man,” ”Wave of Mutilation,” and the majestic ”Monkey Gone to Heaven.”
Bossanova (1990) Kicking off with a faux-surf instrumental, this hopscotches dizzyingly between the raucous (the aptly named ”Rock Music”) and the lyrical (”Velouria”), marrying both approaches to superb effect on the wonderful ”Dig for Fire.”
Trompe le Monde (1991) What with all the shred-happy guitar heroics from Santiago, this at first sounds like a calculated attempt to become a more radio-friendly modern-rock act. Yet the bludgeoning riffage (check ”U-Mass”) hits the spot, and the worldview is as twisted as ever.
Wave of Mutilation: Best of Pixies (2004) Don’t wanna commit to the entire Pixies oeuvre? That’s what best-ofs like this are made for, pilgrim. This one contains most of their choicest cuts, and includes some cool B-side-type rarities, like the fan favorite ”Into the White.” But even obsessives should pick this up if only for the chilly cover of Neil Young’s ”Winterlong.”