Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Pavement, Steve malkmus and the Jicks, by Lezah

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I've been listening to a lot of Pavement lately. Coincidentally, on May 24 Steve Malkmus, former Pavement frontman, released his 3rd album with his new band Steve Malkmus and the Jicks ('Face the Truth', on Matador). They are touring North America in support of this album through early July; more dates will be announced later.

But back to Pavement. Who was the band that typified the '90s sound? I'm sure most people would say Nirvana. But Pavement... Pavement would likely rank right up there for many, many people. In fact, my music Bible, Pitchforkmedia.com calls them "the ultimate indie band of the '90s" and gave their album 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain' a rating of 10.0, saying it was "close to a perfect album". Likewise, Inkblot called 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain' "the best classic rock record of the '90s" and called their earlier album 'Slanted and Enchanted' "the album that built the frame of reference for indie-rock".

So, the band that started in Stockton, CA, eventually disbanded a little over ten years later in 1999/2000, but not before exploring a variety of styles of music. Their own influences were The Fall, The Velvet Underground and the Pixies, but they in turn influenced many bands with their smart, suburban, original sound. Their oblique, slacker sound was characterized by bursts of lo-fi static; their stages shows were often bewildering to fans (including one show in England where they made cucumber sandwiches for the audience); their look was anti-fashion; and they became almost as well known for their intellectual, elitist and sarcastic attitude as they did for their music. But not quite. They were funny, they were witty, they were sarcastic - in a nutshell, they WERE indie music.

Check out Malkmus's latest tour - the sound is maybe a little more 'dance rock', but that's not to say it's a bad thing. Just more experimentation, more new territory for Malkmus to explore.

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