23 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Begun in the late ‘80s as a home-taping project between Stockton, California pals Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg, Pavement pressed up several limited edition “lo-fi” EPs  (Slay Tracks 1933-1969, Demolition Plot J-7, Perfect Sound Forever) that made it into influential taste-maker hands and that reflected the duo’s interest in marginal rough-cut sounding underground post-punk rockers such as Swell Maps and the Fall. Westing collects these early releases along with a few singles and flexi-disc rarities for a self-contained look at the band’s early evolution. Layers of tape hiss and raw guitar distortion dominate the sound, but underneath the murk rest tunes that alternate between unabashedly catchy (“Box Elder,” “From Now On,” “Summer Babe”) and unapologetically abrasive (“Forklift,” “My Radio”), sometimes within the same tune. Not everyone will find “Perfect Depth” a hummable exercise, but fans of difficult listening will cherish the squalls of feedback, the inconsistently intruding basslines and the addition of drummer Gary Young — who redefines the term erratic — as part of the amateurish charm. From these deliberately rough beginnings, an entire indie-rock aesthetic for the ‘90s was formed.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Begun in the late ‘80s as a home-taping project between Stockton, California pals Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg, Pavement pressed up several limited edition “lo-fi” EPs  (Slay Tracks 1933-1969, Demolition Plot J-7, Perfect Sound Forever) that made it into influential taste-maker hands and that reflected the duo’s interest in marginal rough-cut sounding underground post-punk rockers such as Swell Maps and the Fall. Westing collects these early releases along with a few singles and flexi-disc rarities for a self-contained look at the band’s early evolution. Layers of tape hiss and raw guitar distortion dominate the sound, but underneath the murk rest tunes that alternate between unabashedly catchy (“Box Elder,” “From Now On,” “Summer Babe”) and unapologetically abrasive (“Forklift,” “My Radio”), sometimes within the same tune. Not everyone will find “Perfect Depth” a hummable exercise, but fans of difficult listening will cherish the squalls of feedback, the inconsistently intruding basslines and the addition of drummer Gary Young — who redefines the term erratic — as part of the amateurish charm. From these deliberately rough beginnings, an entire indie-rock aesthetic for the ‘90s was formed.

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