Pixies played a handful of new songs at Portugal’s NOS Alive festival earlier this month, and they were captured with high-quality video (via Pitchfork). The tracks, which they’ve been playing regularly on their European tour so far, will appear on their upcoming Head Carrier LP, due out September 30th.
“Baal’s Back” is a driving, heavy rocker on which frontman Black Francis screams more than sings on the tune, yowling “Are you saving your precious love for me?” on the chorus. It lasts about two minutes, before stopping cold as he recites the titular declaration.
“Classic Masher” is short, like “Baal’s Back,” but it’s also poppier and more melodic. “I bet he’s a classic masher,” Francis harmonizes with bassist Paz Lenchantin, eventually trading off the line.
The final previously uncirculated song, title track “Head Carrier,” sports a lumbering verse guitar riff, pivoting around Francis’ voice as he sings about how he’s “going down the drain again.” Guitarist Joey Santiago plays a jagged, piercing line halfway through the track, adding some discord to the otherwise straightforward, almost metal-ish song.
The band also performed “Um Chagga Lagga,” a song they played at Rolling Stone HQ last year, at the festival, though the YouTube user who uploaded the other tracks skipped that one. Francis described that tune as “kind of a little road movie” when he was in the office. “It’s a French truck-driving song, about the seedier side of life on the road,” he explained. “It’s like going down the Bouches-du-Rhône, the Languedoc, and it’s truck stoppy. It’s about the things that happen at truck stops and gas stations and cornfields.” They released a studio recording of the song earlier this month.
Head Carrier will be the group’s first album of new material since 2014’s Indie Cindy, and it will be their first to feature Lenchantin as a permanent member. Pixies wrote all of the songs on the record together, with the exception of “All I Think About Now,” which Francis co-wrote with Lenchantin.