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Reflections on Pavement

When so-called “important” bands posthumously reissue their albums, there’s not always a lot to be said about them.  This is usually because the band doesn’t have any more to say the second time around and only further cement their place in the back pages of online music chronicles.

Thankfully, the same cannot be said of Matador’s reissues of the Pavement catalog, most obviously since the band has released as much new material in the 2000s as in the 90s. 95% of which sounds like it could have been created yesterday and all of which is better than anything actually created yesterday.

Amazingly the band’s first three reissues had B-sides that matched the quality of the songs on the original albums.  This shouldn’t be surprising since, like the kid in high school who claimed never to study but still managed straight A’s, Pavement never put that much of themselves into any one recording.  Most of the material was composed and recorded in a few takes, which is the case with many “slacker” bands, but the quality of the music is profound given its loose, free-flowing vibe.  I feared that the more concentrated, mature sounds of Brighten the Corners might result in a dilution of the quality of its B-Sides (as was the case with some of the second disc of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’s: LA’s Desert Origins), but they are simply reflective of the album cuts–focused, restrained, more curt and confident than Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Read the rest…