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Alternative & Indie - Released April 20, 1992 | Matador

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Pavement’s first album is the perfect answer for those wondering what is indie rock. At the origin of the most influential band of the 1990s, an immoderate love for the Pixies, Sonic Youth and The Fall that Stephen Malkmus’ band conjugates in many tenses as soon as this opus released in April 1992. It is lo-fi from top to bottom, deliberately amateur and tinkery form which gives birth to often surprising brand new sounds (veering towards the Velvet and the Feelies). It is also about disturbed, funny or just elusive lyrics penned by Malkmus, the most singular author of his generation. Guitars go from extreme or even cubic saturation to the most pop motif there is. But behind this electric fury, melodies always float at your ears’ surface level. It is so different that all alternative rock bands will not recover from it and have been attempting, and still do today, to reproduce this major rock ‘n’ roll sleight of hand… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 14, 1994 | Matador

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Rock - Released December 9, 2008 | Matador

There's a difference between accessibility and focus, which Pavement illustrate with their fourth album, Brighten the Corners. Arriving on the heels of the glorious mess of Wowee Zowee, the cohesive sound and laid-back sarcasm of Brighten the Corners can give the record the illusion of being accessible, or at the very least a retreat toward the songcraft of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. And the record is calm, with none of the full-out blasts of noise that marked all of their previous releases. It would be easy to dismiss the absence of noise as mere maturity, or a move toward more accessible songcraft, but neither statement is entirely true. Brighten the Corners is mature but wise-assed, melodic but complex -- it's a record that reveals its gifts gradually, giving you enough information the first time to make you want come back for more. At first, the dissonant singsong verse of "Stereo" seems awkward, but it's all pulled into perspective with the gleeful, addictive outburst of the chorus, and that is a microcosm of the album's appeal. The first time around, the winding melody of "Shady Lane," the psycho jangle pop of "Date With Ikea," the epic grace of "Type Slowly," and the speedy rush of "Embassy Row" make an impression, but repeated listens reveal sonic and lyrical details that make them indelible. Similarly, Stephen Malkmus' hip-hop inflections on "Blue Hawaiian" and the quiet beauty of "Transport Is Arranged" unfold over time. While the preponderance of slow songs and laid-back production makes the album more focused than Wowee Zowee, it doesn't have the rich diversity of its predecessor -- "Type Slowly" comes closest to the grand, melancholic beauty of "Grounded" -- but it remains a thoroughly compelling listen. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 11, 1995 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 9, 2010 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 7, 2006 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 8, 1999 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 11, 1997 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 26, 2004 | Matador

It may be a bit reductive to call Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain the Reckoning to Slanted & Enchanted's Murmur -- not to mention easy, considering that Pavement recorded a song-long tribute to R.E.M.'s second album during the Crooked Rain sessions -- but there's a certain truth in that statement all the same. Slanted & Enchanted is an enigmatic masterpiece, retaining its mystique after countless spins, but Crooked Rain strips away the hiss and fog of S&E, removing some of Pavement's mystery yet retaining their fractured sound and spirit. It's filled with loose ends and ragged transitions, but compared to the fuzzy, dense Slanted, Crooked Rain is direct and immediately engaging -- it puts the band's casual melodicism, sprawling squalls of feedback, disheveled country-rock, and Stephen Malkmus' deft wordplay in sharp relief. It's the sound of a band discovering its own voice as a band, which is only appropriate because up until Crooked Rain, Pavement was more of a recording project between Malkmus and Scott Kannberg than a full-fledged rock & roll group. During the supporting tour for Slanted, Malkmus and Kannberg recruited bassist Mark Ibold and percussionist Bob Nastanovich, and original drummer Gary Young was replaced by Steve West early into the recording for this album, and the new blood gives the band a different feel, even if the aesthetic hasn't changed much. The full band gives the music a richer, warmer vibe that's as apparent on the rampaging, noise-ravaged "Unfair" as it is on the breezy, sun-kissed country-rock of "Range Life" or its weary, late-night counterpart, "Heaven Is a Truck." Pavement may still be messy, but it's a meaningful, musical messiness from the performance to the production: listen to how "Silence Kit" begins by falling into place with its layers of fuzz guitars, wah wahs, cowbells, thumping bass, and drum fills, how what initially seems random gives way into a lush Californian pop song. That's Crooked Rain a nutshell -- what initially seems chaotic has purpose, leading listeners into the bittersweet heart and impish humor at the core of the album. Many bands attempted to replicate the sound or the vibe of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, but they never came close to the quicksilver shifts in music and emotion that give this album such lasting appeal. Here, Pavement follow the heartbroken ballad "Stop Breathin'" with the wry, hooky alt-rock hit "Cut Your Hair" without missing a beat. They throw out a jazzy Dave Brubeck tribute in "5-4=Unity" as easily as they mimic the Fall and mock the Happy Mondays on "Hit the Plane Down." By drawing on so many different influences, Pavement discovered its own distinctive voice as a band on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, creating a vibrant, dynamic, emotionally resonant album that stands as a touchstone of underground rock in the '90s and one of the great albums of its decade. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 22, 2002 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 22, 1993 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 25, 1992 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 18, 2009 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 9, 2008 | Matador

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Rock - Released July 28, 2021 | Freefall Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 18, 2009 | Matador

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