Legendary alt-rock band The Pixies showed off their new single, “Bel Esprit,” on Conan Thursday night, April 27, 2017.
“Bel Esprit” is a verbal pas de deux between Pixies frontman Black Francis and the group’s bassist, Paz Lenchantin. Lenchantin stepped in to replace Kim Shattuck, whose brief tenure as a Pixie spanned June-November 2013. Shattuck had been hastily brought in to fill in for original Pixies bassist Kim Deal.
The Pixies have released two studio albums since the group re-formed in 2004. A previous album, 2014’s “Indie Cindy,” was almost universally panned by fans and critics. The group released their album “Head Carrier” on September 30, 2016.
“This was feeling very much like our comeback record as opposed to ‘Indie Cindy,’ which felt like a transitional moment even when we were making it,” Francis said to a reporter for Rolling Stone. Music critics, including NPR’s Jason Heller, agree.
Originally formed in Boston in 1986, the original Pixies lineup of Francis, Deal, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering played together off and on through 1993. That year, Kim Deal reached some of her greatest commercial success not as a Pixie, but as the lead singer/guitarist of The Breeders with her twin sister Kelley Deal. The Breeders’ album “Last Splash” reached platinum status thanks in part to lead-off single “Cannonball.”
Although never very commercially successful, the Pixies have been greatly influential on other hard rock, pop-rock, and indie-rock groups through the 1990s and beyond. One pop culture claim to fame is the appearance of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” on the soundtrack to the 1999 film “Fight Club,” played over the movie’s ending credits.