Pavement: So much style that it's wasted
February 28, 2010 2:36 AM   Subscribe

Tomorrow, in Auckland, mellow jazz docents Pavement will play their first live show in a decade. A week later, Matador Records will release the band's first-ever best-of collection, Quarantine the Past. But what about all the B-sides, live takes, and rarities that didn't make the cut? An extensive selection follows, but you can start with these superb live recordings from their last tour: Gold Soundz, Range Life, Here. (Previously.)

In response to fans' inevitable carping about the Quarantine tracklist, Matador has offered some interesting background on the song selection process in this thread on the Pavement bulletin board.

For those inclined to go beyond the new compilation and the bestselling LPs, here's a sampling of highlights from the bottomless Pavement back catalogue:

Slay Tracks 1933-1969 EP, 1989: You're Killing Me, Price Yeah!
Demolition Plot J-7 EP, 1990: Perfect Depth
Perfect Sound Forever EP, 1991: From Now On, Debris Slide, Home
Summer Babe single, 1992: Baptiss Blacktick
Watery, Domestic EP, 1992: Lions (Linden), Shoot the Singer (1 Sick Verse)
Peel Session, 1992: Secret Knowledge of Backroads
Gold Soundz single, 1994: Strings of Nashville
Peel Session, 1994: Pueblo Domain
Pacific Trim EP, 1996: I Love Perth
Spit on a Stranger EP, 1999: Harness Your Hopes

Live in Frankfurt, 1994: Unfair, Trigger Cut, Gold Soundz, Stop Breathin', Pueblo, Fillmore Jive

Live in Seattle, 1999: In the Mouth a Desert, Speak See Remember, Spit on a Stranger, Date w/ IKEA, The Hexx, Box Elder, Folk Jam, Billie, Major Leagues, Shady Lane, Cream of Gold, Platform Blues, We Dance, Harness Your Hopes, Stereo, Gold Soundz, Killing Moon, Sinister Purpose, Debris Slide

Live on HBO's Reverb, 1999: Shady Lane, The Hexx, Conduit for Sale, Spit on a Stranger, interview

Other quality live tracks: Summer Babe, Zürich Is $tained, Silence Kit, Cut Your Hair, Unfair, Grounded, Transport Is Arranged, Fin
posted by cirripede (36 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
It's definitely an interesting tracklist. I'd have made some changes but overall I think it's a nice introduction to a band that seemed to go in so many different directions on each album, usually in a good way until their last one.

I'm curious to see/hear how the band plays live. Malkmus has become something of a guitar virtuoso on his solo albums and I'm wondering how he'll channel the ornate sloppiness that made classic Pavement work so well.

Just get really fucking high, maybe?
posted by bardic at 5:00 AM on February 28, 2010

btw the Matador re-issues of Pavement albums are about the best value you can find these days. 12 bucks for an extra disc of really valuable stuff along with some interesting packaging. I likee. But I'd still probably have to pass on Terror Twilight.
posted by bardic at 5:02 AM on February 28, 2010

wait, does this mean they are back together ?Will they be touring the US? Right before they broke up they did like a whole week here in austin, i was 17 at the time, broke and i asked a girl if she wanted to go. When she said no, i kind of gave up on going myself.
posted by djduckie at 6:12 AM on February 28, 2010

They're going to be at Pitchfork Music Festival in July, in Chicago. Three days sold out but you could always just go on Sunday, the day they play.

Thank you for providing a wealth of material for me to educate myself with. Heck, if I bought this ticket might as well go see them live, too.
posted by Askiba at 7:38 AM on February 28, 2010

I was at that Seattle show, and it was clear at that point that they were about done. Check out Malkmus on the Date with Ikea as he rolls his eyes as he plays it.

Still, they are supposedly coming to the Gorge this summer, so...

Though, truth be told, I'd just as soon see him with the Jicks.
posted by Windopaene at 7:41 AM on February 28, 2010

hey they're playing brussels in the middle of may again :P there's a great radio bootleg of them at la botanique in '99 if you can find it!
posted by kliuless at 7:49 AM on February 28, 2010

posted by cmoj at 7:53 AM on February 28, 2010

also btw, speaking of anticipated tours :P

posted by kliuless at 7:54 AM on February 28, 2010

They're playing four nights in a row in Central Park, Sept. 21 through 24. Pretty sure they're all sold out. I have two tickets for Thursday. I bought them in September.
posted by ekroh at 8:09 AM on February 28, 2010

(cmoj: It's a reference to a Pavement song, "Angel Carver Blues/ Mellow Jazz Docent.")
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:12 AM on February 28, 2010

From one of the links:

"Second prize will be having your track listing pressed up in a special limited-edition vinyl double LP for Record Store Day (April 17). You will receive 5 copies of your best of selection. Plus a complete set of Pavement Matador 12″ vinyl."

They fail to mention that the qty of that pressing is ltd to 200 and will be a record store day giveaway at select stores.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:13 AM on February 28, 2010

When Pavement were actually around I didn't like them much. I can't say exactly why but they never clicked with me. I would listen to their songs on the radio and it just never spoke to me or grabbed me. I had friends who loved them but their enthusiasm never spread to me. Then, on the day that the two-disc reissue of Slanted and Enchanted came out I happened to be in the Amherst Newbury Comics, flipping through the used CD rack, and saw that reissue being sold for like no money. So I bought it with the intention of giving it my darnedest. Once I got home I put the first disc on, listened through. Nope, nothing. Then I put the second disc on, but same thing, didn't click. Then I put the first disc on again, intending to listen just to the 14 songs that make up the original Slanted and Enchanted. Suddenly, on track five, Conduit for Sale!, it all fell into place and I just loved, loved, loved it. Now Pavement is one of my favorite bands. In fact, I wish I could inject Pavement's musical DNA into the modern scene. There's not enough sloppiness out there, not enough aversion to traditional pop song structures.

I don't mind not having seen them back when they were originally together, because I wouldn't have appreciated it, but I'm quite sad that they seem not to play anywhere near me, unless they announce more dates.
posted by Kattullus at 8:21 AM on February 28, 2010

They're one of the headliners at Sasquatch Music Festival, a rather delightful 3-day shindig in central Washington state (near the appropriately named town of George), at the Gorge Amphitheatre, one of the most dramatic concert venues (with camping on-site) I've ever been to.
posted by hippybear at 8:23 AM on February 28, 2010

The Denmark Esperanto Youth Organization does this thing where you can go to Roskilde for free if you speak Esperanto and are willing to do 24 hours of work during the festival, and I'm going to start translating Pavement [Trotuaro] songs into Esperanto soon just so I can celebrate/get my Esperanto into fighting shape.

I also have tickets to see them in Berlin--basically, great FPP, now I have a place I can point my friends when they ask why I'm so excited.
posted by besonders at 8:39 AM on February 28, 2010

"Gold Soundz" is one of the best songs ever. I used to prefer their early Fall/Swell Maps-influenced stuff, but in my old age, I keep going back to those gold soundz. Great post.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:11 AM on February 28, 2010

Spiral Stairs blogged about the reunion rehearsals this week, complete with photos. They have learned 40 songs.

I am beyond psyched for this tour.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 9:15 AM on February 28, 2010

My experience with Pavement was exactly the same, Kattullus. When Pavement was still playing I was the right age, I was taking the right drugs, I listened to similar music but I just couldn't do it. Then, years later, Slanted and Enchanted, and then -- like I was shot with a diamond, a diamond bullet right through my forehead -- my god, the genius.

Now I'm in a band that plays Pavement covers.

Also, the first Malkmus solo album is brilliant.

I've seen Malkmus on each solo tour to come through Seattle and I'm not sure what to expect from the Pavement reunion. Malkmus seems like one of those tempermental genius types, like Dylan -- when he's on, he's on but when he's bored or not challenged it can be awful. A stadium tour playing 20 year old songs with people he doesn't even talk to anymore? I'll probably pass.

GQ magazine had a pretty interesting interview with him this month.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:15 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hey Kattulus, we browsed our Pavement records at the same Newbury Comics. It always seemed to me that the Valley lacked a really first-class record store, which is odd considering its wealth of coffee shops and bookstores.

One link I thought about adding to the post, but thought better of: Stephen Malkmus inexplicably makes appearance on horrible Fox News show with coked-out interviewer. David Berman (of the Silver Jews) mentioned a few times in interviews that Malkmus is more conservative than you'd think, but I like to think he was just confused when he did this.
posted by cirripede at 9:26 AM on February 28, 2010

Tour dates that have already been announced are here.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 9:27 AM on February 28, 2010

And on the compilation tracklisting, I think it's generally solid. There's an unfortunate shortage of Wowee Zowee classics (Rattled by the Rush, Black Out, Father to a Sister of Thought, and AT&T all missed the cut), but picking the almighty Fight This Generation to close the album is a genius, left-field move.
posted by cirripede at 9:41 AM on February 28, 2010

Here's Malkmus covering one of his heroes.

The man acknowledges his influences.
posted by elmono at 9:45 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Slarty Bartfast: Also, the first Malkmus solo album is brilliant.

Solo Malkmus still does nothing for me. Maybe when he's broken up with himself and his stuff gets reissued it'll finally click :)

(Also, I really like Spiral Stairs as a guitarist and having Bob Nastanovich as a what-the-hell-is-he band member added a crucial bit of strangeness to the proceedings... oh, and Mark Ibold wrote some great basslines and Young and West were great drummers each in their own way... I mean, the Jicks are a good band, but they don't bring the off like Pavement did)
posted by Kattullus at 10:07 AM on February 28, 2010

I think Pig Lib has been the best of the solo/Jicks stuff, (though Baltimore and Elmo Delmo get me revved up off RETrash). And Janet Weiss is a totally kick-ass drummer,
posted by Windopaene at 11:06 AM on February 28, 2010

Watery, Domestic is a miniature masterpiece. "Empty homes, plastic combs, stolen rims - are they alloy or chrome?" This record, Crooked Rain..., and "Shady Lane" get the most play in my house. Stockton heroes with great songs, filling me with Valley pride (I grew up 100 miles south).
posted by porn in the woods at 11:08 AM on February 28, 2010

Windopaene: Janet Weiss is a totally kick-ass drummer

Oh yeah, don't get me wrong, the Jicks are a very good band, but they are much more interpreters of Malkmus' ideas rather than working their own mine. And on the subject of Janet Weiss... I love Sleater-Kinney, more than I do Pavement. In fact, seeing them on the One Beat tour is one of the best ever rockshows I've seen.
posted by Kattullus at 11:45 AM on February 28, 2010

Here's Malkmus covering one of his heroes .

I directed that video. It has been one of the highlights of my job - I was in love with Pavement. Being in the room while he recorded was amazing...
posted by meech at 11:59 AM on February 28, 2010 [5 favorites]

I love Pavement so much.. Wowee Zowee is my favorite record but really they're all good.

posted by citron at 1:06 PM on February 28, 2010

porn in the woods, you're right on about Watery, Domestic; song for song, it's Pavement at their very best, right at the apex of the Slanted and Crooked Rain era. I was really hoping to find a "Texas Never Whispers" video on YouTube so I could include it in this post, but no dice.

Wowee Zowee is probably still my favorite LP, too. It's all over the place, yes, but even on some of the mellower songs I think Malkmus took his writing further on Wowee than he ever did before or after. The first half of the record has "We Dance," "Rattled by the Rush," "Black Out," "Grounded" (maybe their best), "Serpentine Pad" (irresistible), "Motion Suggests" (lovely and subtle, kind of a "Newark Wilder"-esque grower), and my favorite, the beautiful "Father to a Sister of Thought." I still think that stretch is Pavement at their most daring and complex. And after that you can still look forward "AT&T," "Fight This Generation," "Kennel District" (still Scott's best song), and "Pueblo."
posted by cirripede at 2:05 PM on February 28, 2010

Wowee Zowee is probably my favorite Pavement album too, though Slanted and Enchanted has a special place as the album where it all clicked for me. I love how on the reissue you can hear how they worked through the songs, changing them as they went along. I almost used the 8-minute long version of Fight This Generation to end the latest MeFi mixdisc and I slightly regret having chosen a Cap'n Jazz instead (though I would probably regret not including a Cap'n Jazz song if I hadn't).
posted by Kattullus at 2:18 PM on February 28, 2010

Wowee Zowee, for sure. I'd kill a man to figure out what the hell even one of the original lyrics to Best Friend's Arm is (the lyrics to the version on the Wowee Zowee reissue definitely diverge quite a bit, and Malkmus has always been a fan of changing lyrics frequently).

Pavement's been one of my very favorite bands since I was 16. I always lamented not getting to see them live (though I imagine seeing em' on Terror Twilight tour might have been worse than not seeing em' at all). They inspired me to make music despite my lack of technical ability, and the' lyrics are excruciatingly great (or grey, or gay).

I'd love to go to Sasquatch at the Gorge. It's the coolest venue I've ever been to (though I imagine seeing Pavement in a smoky, ill-lit club would be a lot more appropriate than in front of a beautiful canyon).
posted by solipsophistocracy at 2:50 PM on February 28, 2010

Third vote for 'Father to a Sister of Thought'. I can't believe that's not on the best-of.
posted by vectr at 3:28 PM on February 28, 2010

vectr, here is Malkmus's comment on "Father to a Sister of Thought," from the Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels liner notes:
It stands to reason if you spend your life in a pocket of avoidance it will, one day, catch up to you. There are so many levels of self-denial. The human mind is so twisted in its rationalizations, and yet I knew it all along. I am a pitiable, selfish fuck of being.
For some reason, maybe just that I love the song, or that it's so at odds with Malkmus's public persona, this is unbearably moving to me.
posted by cirripede at 3:39 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seeing Rattled by the Rush inspired me to go out and get a Pavement disc (Brighten the Corners is what I selected) and the of course I went and got their back catalogue. I actually love Terror Twilight as one of their more emotional discs and has, for me, a very twilight feel, although that is hoaky to say.

I've seen Pavement and Malkmus and the Jicks live and really look forward to seeing either again but I'm not this time round as they're Toronto gig is one one of the Islands and is four times the price of the usual Pavement or Malkmus concert.

Loved their Space Ghost appearance.
posted by juiceCake at 7:03 PM on February 28, 2010

Update: Show seems to have gone well. Spiral has posted some photos, notes, and the setlist on his blog, if anyone is interested. (They played Kennel District!) Also, they've added some more dates to their U.S. tour—Pitchfork has details.
posted by cirripede at 5:50 PM on March 1, 2010

And some you-tubery of it...
posted by meech at 9:36 PM on March 1, 2010

For anyone still reading, I've recently turned up a few downloadable podcasts of full Pavement live shows, including the Sydney concert from a week ago:

- Reunion concert in Sydney, Australia: March 4, 2010
- Pavement's (formerly) final show in London: Nov. 20, 1999
- Awesome show from the Crooked Rain era: April 23, 1994
posted by cirripede at 2:59 PM on March 12, 2010

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