Active in the late eighties and early nineties, the Pixies were pioneers, essentially birthing the alternative rock boom of the early to mid-nineties. The Pixies are credited with being the first to use wide dynamics and start-stop timing, both of which defined the coming alt boom.
Pixies verses are typicially subdued and restrained, while the choruses are loud and feature wailing guitars and vocals.
Two of the most obvious examples of their influence are Weezer and Nirvana. Rivers Cuomo took the quiet-loud-quiet dynamics truly to heart and most classic Weezer songs have those crunchy guitars over the chorus. The perfect example from the weez is "Say It Ain't So", released in 1994.
Kurt Cobain said in a January of 1994 Rolling Stone interview that he was trying to write a song in the style of the Pixies when he penned "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band— or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.
Clearly, the Pixies were incredibly influential and thankfully, finally reunited in 2004 after an 11-year hiatus.
The official song of the day is "Velouria" off their 1990 release Bossanova.
This video was filmed when they were offered to play on the British show Top of The Pops. There was a rule in place that only singles that had videos could be played on the show so the band made a quick video.
The video shows the band running down a rock quarry. It took 23 seconds of footage for the band to reach the camera and they then slowed that down to last for the whole song. Brilliant.