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Photograph: Michael Halsband

People must really, really love Kim Deal. There's no other good explanation for the vitriol spit at Pixies upon the release of EP1, their first collection of fresh material in over two decades-and first ever without Deal. The four loud-quiet pop tunes are not as embarassing as the knee-jerk critics would lead you to believe. The chugging melodic grunge of "Another Toe" (and all four songs, honestly) could easily fit on one of Frank Black's first few solo records. For ages, Black has been unable to muster even that. That's some small victory for true Pixies diehards, despite the palpable absence of Deal's eternally girly harmonies. Now the band is on its third bassist, after firing Kim No. 2, Kim Shattuck of the Muffs. Paz Lenchantin, of Zwan and A Perfect Circle, handles the low end. She's rad. Oh, and there's another new EP already, too. The new records and members have at least given some renewed purpose to the band's ten-year reunion tour.

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