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Black is back, and sounding Pixieish

Frank Black first made alt-rockers squeal with glee in the 1980s when he _ as Black Francis _ fronted the Pixies, one of Team Pop's favorite bands and a huge influence on Kurt Cobain. Next, Black went on to form Frank Black and the Catholics, releasing several albums of varying critical and commercial success. The sound was similar to the Pixies, kinda punky, kinda surf-rocky, with Black yelping and howling crazy lyrics about headaches, the Los Angeles municipal water system and sci-fi creatures.

Then, well, Black got kind of boring for a spell.

Fast forward to 2003 and Mr. Black's Dog In The Sand, which finds him again playing with former Pixie Joey Santiago and sounding fresher than he has in a long time. The tunes are spunky, with a few spaghetti-western-sounding numbers, some Stonesy riffs, some Doolittle-y wonderfulness and lots of weird wit. Pixies fans, rejoice!

Opener David Lovering was the drummer for the Pixies. Is he bringing along a band?

Frank Black and the Catholics perform with David Lovering at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $12 advance, $15 day of show. (727) 895-3045.

_ GINA VIVINETTO, Times pop music critic