by Joshua B. Hoe I love Slanted and Enchanted...Like capital “L” love...My first version was on cassette but it was the bonus version with the extra tracks that nobody references anymore (they usually just make reference to the deluxe edition <2002> as if they were never released before). I have owned the album on cassette, on vinyl, on CD, and on CD Deluxe Edition.
S&E is a core album in my collection. And Pavement is a cornerstone band in my list of truly important bands.
Imagine my surprise when I checked out ‘NPR First Listen’ (a great site that lets you listen to new releases for free for a short period of time) and #1 on this weeks list was:
Pavement, The Secret History Vol. 1, From Matador Records.
Happy Pavement Holiday to me!
This is a little odd given that I already had all of these songs and all of these versions of all of these songs...but, we will get to that in a second.
Let us just say that I will not be at my most productive for most of the day….She isn't the only one who has “the radioactive”….and it certainly “feels okay.”
Basically, this is a compilation of most of alternate versions of many key tracks from S&E (many on the deluxe CD), several awesome new tracks from that recording period, the Peel Sessions albums, and some live performances. The Secret History is stocked with a massive 30 tracks.
Only they are not really new songs...or even new versions (they justify this being the first time most of this has been released on vinyl). But, somehow, it is all still exciting to me.
Why Do I Care
It may seem a bit excessive to have the CD of S&E, the Deluxe CD of S&E, and now this behemoth on vinyl (Not to mention it would be redundant). But it is still great to listen to it all.
Hell, I don’t know why I am excited to listen to it, since I could already listen to it...Maybe it is just having the Pavement name out in the world again.
Grantland’s Steven Hyden decided to make the argument that the release is not only unimportant (redundant...certainly true) but also not needed. He seems to think that bands today are taking nothing from Pavement (that they are not important to whatever alternative music ‘is’ today). In specific he says:
“...the band members themselves seem to understand that this is also about allowing younger listeners to experience an Epcot version of a bygone underground culture that Pavement once represented.”
“In 2015, Pavement’s cultural relevance is dubious. Indie music — if “indie” still functions as a workable genre signifier — has never sounded less like Pavement. The group’s embrace of free-form anarchy is more akin to jam bands than the hip vanguard. While it’s doubtful that Grimes would ever cover a Pavement song, Phish once broke out “Gold Soundz” in concert.”
To Mr. Hyden I say the following….Have you never heard of Parquet Courts?
Did you not hear Pavement influence in low-fi awesomeness of Girlpool (one of the albums of the year for sure - I would take Before the World Was Big to a desert island before any Grimes album myself)?
Has Grimes really become the touchstone upon which ‘indie’ is judges? And if so, why? Grimes sure isn’t the new ‘indie’ music I listen to...but, I am probably not at the epicenter of what is ‘hot’ anymore (so, he might have a point there).
My gut is to say that I would rather live in the fantasy world where Pavement has major cultural influence than a world where Grimes is what determines relevance...but….
Let’s just take his statement as true on face just for giggles instead.
Iis he saying new bands don’t find old “out of favor” bands and styles to integrate in order to create something fresh?
Integrating new and old styles into whatever is ‘hip’ is pretty much how music stays fresh.
Things go out of style for a bit (maybe Pavement) and then they come back in...usually in some unanticipated way (think rap samples of old classics).
I am not sure, at all, how Mr. Hyden...who acts like a fan...seems to think Pavement are so culturally forgotten that they have to be revived by Phish (themselves a modern take on TGD). Seriously? I mean that is a bit harsh...more than a bit really.
Anyway, I for one am thrilled that a new generation of fans will be inspired by S&E...And I sure hope there is a new wave of bands spawned from the ashes of Pavement.
Back to the Release
For those that do not already have everything this is a great supplement to S&E..there is real gold on this one...
And of course I never get tired of Summer Babe, I have said it before and I will say it again, I am in big trouble if I ever meet a woman ‘mixing cocktails with a plastic-tip cigar.’
I will admit to some feelings of loss, nostalgia, and sadness as well as the pure joy of the Pavement experience.
There is no more Pavement per se.
While I can still drive down the road blasting Pavement from my car stereo...the world will never be as exciting as when it was when I was seeing the thunder skies overhead driving down the Kansas highways with my whole life in front of me as I drove to one of my first debate camp jobs.
Maybe this is what Mr. Hyden was talking about?
Maybe he was harshly waving goodbye to the places that mattered to him but seemed not to matter to anyone else?
I, for one, will stick with my nostalgia and hope for a music future that includes and celebrates Pavement’s influence.
Anyway, the larger point, if you love Pavement like I love Pavement, and have not heard all these deep (or shadow - as they are calling them) tracks before, you should listen to this record toots sweet.
A smaller point, NPR first listen is pretty cool...yes, I know you can listen to stuff for free everywhere, but they get it all a little earlier and do a pretty good job of curation. There is something about listening from a place like NPR that still feels a little like sitting around with your friends playing albums you like with each other.
What did you think about the deluxe re-release of Slanted & Enchanted, would love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment!