Wednesday, 15 June 2011

#454 - "Wowee Zowee" - Pavement

Released On:  Matador Records, 1995

The sound of a hyper-literate, hyped-up American indie band reacting to fame by sprawling their genius all over a lengthy canvas.  After having a minor sort of hit with 1994's "Cut Your Hair", they retreated into their humble beginnings as messy art-rock sound collage.  There was still the melodic brilliance that made their first two full-lengths such instant classics; "Rattled By The Rush", "Motion Suggests Itself" and "Best Friend's Arm" are easy additions to the list of great rock songs Pavement has made.  It feels looser, though, with a lot more breezy jamming in the middle of songs and a lot of mid-song direction changes.  There are even tracks ("Brinx Job", "Serpentine Pad", "Flux = Rad") that feel like the band trying on other genres to see if they fit.  "Father To A Sister Of A Thought" contains some of the best countrified steel guitar I've heard outside of it's usual cliche settings.  When it came out, Rolling Stone tried to say that it was sprawling and experimental because Pavement was afraid of success; Stephen Malkmus counter-claimed that it was because they smoked a great deal of weed while they were recording it.  Rolling Stone also only gave it 2.5 stars, one of many reasons why RS is complete shit.

Where You'd Know It From:  Pavement were indie-famous in the 90s, meaning that hip know-it-alls with the time to read music magazines knew them and pretty much no one who listened to mainstream rock radio did. Still, they've been deified so much since they broke up the first time that you've probably seen them mentioned at least a few times.  There's even a Canadian teen's show that named one of the main characters after a Pavement song.

Track Listing:
1.  We Dance (3:01)
2.  Rattled By The Rush (4:16)
3.  Black Out (2:10)
4.  Brinx Job (1:31)
5.  Grounded (4:14)
6.  Serpentine Pad (1:16)
7.  Motion Suggests Itself (3:15)
8.  Father To A Sister Of A Thought (3:30)
9.  Extradition (2:12)
10.  Best Friend's Arm (2:19)
11.  Grave Architecture (4:16)
12.  AT & T (4:16)
13.  Flux = Rad (1:45)
14.  Fight This Generation (4:22)
15.  Kennel District (2:59)
16.  Pueblo (3:25)
17.  Half A Canyon (6:10)
18.  Western Homes (1:49)

("Best Friend's Arm")

("Rattled By The Rush")

("Father To A Sister Of A Thought")

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