20 April 2013

20th April - Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted

Artist – Album: Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted
Released:  20th April 1992
Sounds Like:  They do what they want and they do it well

Pavement stand in that weird middle ground between being underground enough to feel like a treasure when you first discover them and being a band that eventually everyone really should get to know.

A lovely, if over generous, reader gave me a book last month called “The Best Music You’ve Never Heard”, a tome chock full of great forgotten artists from Daniel Johnston and Clifford T. Ward to Faust, The Monks and Felt. And there, in-between Lightspeed Champion and Slint in the Strictly Indie chapter, sat Pavement. The book argues that, akin to The Velvet Underground, few people bought Pavement’s records at the time, but those that did went on to form their own bands around the turn of the millennium. It lists the likes of Modest Mouse, The Shins and Blur as examples of those taken in by the Californian slackers. It is true that whilst this album was released in the midst of the grunge era, and therefore wasn’t the huge success of lesser rock albums of the same time, it pointed to a much more positive and enduring direction for alternative rock in the future.

But really, all of Pavement’s first four albums are must haves. Slanted and Enchanted, their debut, is arguably the least accessible of the quartet with its distinctive DIY blend of melody and noise, but it’s still a great one to get in to. ‘Summer Babe’ is an early classic, its druggy imagery and distorted guitars melting into one of the biggest indie anthems of the last few decades. In amongst the rough sounds lie a couple of great acoustic efforts in ‘Zurich Is Stained’ and ‘Here’. Two States’ actually reminded me of T-Rex.

It is truly an excellent album and deservedly highly lauded. Personally, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain tops it, but the impact of Slanted and Enchanted makes it one of a kind.

Albumaday... rating:  9/10

1.       Summer Babe (Winter Version) – 3:16
2.       Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at :17 – 3:16
3.       No Life Singed Her – 2:09
4.       In the Mouth a Desert – 3:52
5.       Conduit for Sale! – 2:52
6.       Zurich is Stained – 1:41
7.       Chesley’s Little Wrists – 1:16
8.       Loretta’s Scars – 2:55
9.       Here – 3:56
10.   Two States – 1:47
11.   Perfume-V – 2:09
12.   Fame Throwa – 3:22
13.   Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era – 3:21
14.   Our Singer – 3:09

Listen to ‘Summer Babe (Winter Version)’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-kHIsPe-Qw

Also released on the 20th April:
1962: Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd – Jazz Samba

Also released on the 20th April:
1998: Boards of Canada – Music Has the Right to Children

Also released on the 20th April:
1998: Massive Attack – Mezzanine

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