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No less a judge of musical and cultural importance than David Bowie once drew a parallel between the Velvet Underground and this month’s cover stars, Pixies, noting that while neither “sold many records… everyone that bought a Velvet Underground album formed a band.” “I have to suggest that the same thing applied to the Pixies,” he continued. “Once you heard them, you wanted to have a band just like them.” Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Billy Corgan, PJ Harvey and form Yorke all concurred, crediting 4AD’s Boston four-piece with drawing up the quiet-loud blueprint that inspired them to form their own bands, and fuelled the rise of grunge at the end of the 80s. If that proves to be the legacy of Pixies and their somehow ageless debut album Surfer Rosa, which turned 30 this year, then it’s a potent one.

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