Some duelling thoughts about bands reuniting

The Pixies* are getting a lot of hostility over releasing a bunch of new, supposedly mediocre, if not downright terrible songs – I can’t judge, because I haven’t heard any of them:

“I’m reading a press release for EP2 and weeping at the downright awfulness of the legacy fucking parody act that is using the name of a band I used to love. Lazily writing songs with no heart. Like it never had heart.”
— Quoted from The 405

Hey, like every other indie rock nerd I’m in love with the Pixies. I’m also sensitive to a kind of transiency, which is why I don’t mind great bands disappearing forever. Because I know their music will always be around, and there will always be new bands that draw inspiration from them. Some will suck, some will be awesome.

It’s an ambiguous feeling when a band I love decides to resurrect. Guided by Voices went back to cranking out release after release, most of which were OK at best. It was great seeing Pavement, the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. live, but their shows also had this uncomfortable feeling of misplaced nostalgia to it – like we all so much wanted it to be just like 1994 in a small basement, rather than admitting to standing in a big, clean and sold out rock & roll venue in 2010, seeing our old heroes from the past.

I don’t really know what to make of these feelings of romanticism. I’m thrilled that in a couple of months I’ll be seeing Neutral Milk Hotel for the first time in my life, but on the other hand I want their legacy to remain forever unspoiled, and there’s this distressing feeling that it won’t be, once they’re back in the middle of everyone’s attention. Great new bands like Beirut and the Decemberists have built upon Neutral Milk Hotel’s heritage, as did shitty bands like Mumford & Sons, and that’s the way it should be.

The greatest thing about Wild Flag was that they felt and sounded like an exciting new band, and didn’t carry any of Sleater-Kinney’s legacy with them even though Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein were in both bands. But the news of Wild Flag quitting and Sleater-Kinney possibly respawning causes the same feeling of ambivalence. Wouldn’t I rather see Wild Flag continue than Sleater-Kinney reunite?

And goddamn this feeling anyway. How ungrateful can you be as a fan, to prefer the bands you love the most to stay gone forever?

*) Yes, I know the band is officially called ‘Pixies’, not ‘The Pixies’. But when writing or talking about the band, this feels more right. Dave Grohl, David Bowie and even Kim Deal herself use it randomly.