Early Times

Early Times

Those seeking the roots of Pavement will find these very early recordings of David Berman with Pavement's Stephen Malkmus absolutely fascinating. Who is influencing who here is hard to discern, but the friends clearly enjoyed goofing around with a boombox with songs that captured the wry sense of humor that would dominate Pavement's output. "Canada" and "September 1999" revel in sing-along magic, while "SVM F.T. Troops" sounds like The Rolling Stones pushed through the ramshackle Pavement aesthetic. The drumming is atrocious, and these recordings likely won't win over many novice fans. They're raw not only in fidelity but in performance. Still, there's an odd charm to these tunes, especially if one can figure out the words. "Secret Knowledge of Back Roads" centers on a muddy acoustic guitar. "Welcome to the House of the Bats" hides a great pop song. Only "Bar Scene from Star Wars," recorded to four-track, features sound clean enough to suggest what would come next. Early Times collects Silver Jews' first two EPs, Dime Map of the Reef and The Arizona Record. 

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