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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pavement's 'Gold Soundz' remain fresh

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

(Photo by Marcus Roth)
It's an interesting proposition when a band like Pavement releases a career retrospective. The band, together from 1989 to 1989, was never really given to singles. They were indeed an album band.

Besides this, they inspired a cult following of people who were very serious about music. Pavement fans don't exactly need this album. They probably own the complete set of albums as it is.

At the very least, they own the two or three they think most essential. (In my case, it's "Slanted and Enchanted" and "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain." But more could be soon to come.)

With that said, "Quarantine the Past: The Best of Pavement," released March 9 on Matador Records, is a great introduction to a band given credit for influencing much of the indie rock that's come since.

To try and select the standout tracks on this is a bit ridiculous. Isn't the point of a "best of" that they're all standouts? On the other hand, no Pavement collection would be complete without "Summer Babe (Winter Version)", "Cut Your Hair" or "Gold Soundz," to name three.

Of course, any fan of the "original albums" could poke a hole or two in this sort of collection. My favorite Pavement song is "Conduit for Sale!" and it's not here. At the same time, I understand certain songs don't belong on a collection.

Another one on the collection that keeps popping into this listener's head is "Shady Lane/J vs. S." The song stands as a great example of Malkmus' witty, yet opaque songwriting. Who can't help but get sucked in by lines like "You've been chosen as an extra in the movie adaptation of the sequel to your life."

OK, maybe it's just me. But you have to admit it paints quite a little portrait.

My spin: B+

"Quarantine the Past" doesn't quite stand up to Pavement's best album work, but it is still a great introduction to an outstanding band. As the band reunites this year and embarks on its first tour in over a decade, perhaps this album can remind people why the reunion matters so much to some people.

For young indie fans who'd like an idea of what sounded good 15 or so years ago, pick this up. You'll be surprised how wonderfully it stands up.

To children of the '90s whose collections lack Pavement, this is a nice reintroduction. These boys never got the airplay of Pearl Jam or Nirvana, but they continue to stand out among the best music of the decade.

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