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Pavement
The Secret History, Vol. 1
Matador / Playground

Hey, Pavement is back! ...but it is with a compilation release only. The Secret History, Vol. 1 is said to be the first in a series of five (Pavement) compilation albums. The 30-track compilation album includes rarities, EPs, B-sides, outtakes, alternate versions, compilation tracks, two John Peel radio sessions (23 June and 16 December 1992), and live recordings from a live concert at Brixton Academy, London, UK, 14 December 1992. The album focuses on the Slanted and Enchanted era, but here's nothing new as all tracks were previously included on 2002's release, Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe. Anyway, it is still cool to listen to Pavement.

Not all US indie bands experience 'success', inclusion or embracement easily in the UK when they start touring there. Hüsker Dü did so; and Sonic Youth; and R.E.M.; and Pixies; and Dinosaur Jr.; and Nirvana; and Pavement. The 'battle of Britain' is a tough one (just ask the Germans...). Pavement hit the indie-rock landscapes like a bomb with their Slanted and Enchanted debut in April 1992, and the live recording from Brixton Academy in December the same year sounds very good. They got a solid backing from John Peel; the band did two recording sessions for him; one in June and another in December 1992, and Pavement played the Reading festival in August 1992. The band 'sounded like' a Brit indie band (The Fall and Swell Maps have been mentioned several times), and legendary, British indie rock act The Wedding Present released a cover version of Pavement's "Box Elder" (originally from Pavement's Slay Tracks EP, 1989) as a B-side for their 1990 EP, Brassneck. Peel loved The Wedding Present, and of course, he fell in love with Pavement as well. Pavement is not a flaunting show-off band. I think that is one of the reasons for getting along with a British audience. The 'eccentric' craziness of Gary Young (either drunk, or plainly crazed out - or both) also helped winning an eager audience looking for some extra entertainment.

Even though all tracks have been released earlier, it's cool to get to hear the Brixton gig again, as well as getting served the extra tracks from the Watery, Domestic sessions and the Slanted sessions. Pavement's music never goes out of style. Yes, it is nice and good to hear that the Pavement songs (and albums) 'never' get out-dated. The band folded in 1999 (but reunited for a tour in 2010, to promote their 'best of'-compilation of that year, Quarantine the Past). Guess were the band held their last gig before the separation just before Y2K: at Brixton Academy, London, UK (on November 20, 1999).

'I've been crowned the King of Id
And Id is all we have, so wait
To hear my words
And they're diamond-sharp
I could open it up
And it's up and down

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh...

It's what (it's what I want)
I'll see you beg like a little dog (ball and twine)
Don't you know that
It's what I want? (it's what I want)
I'll see you beg and it makes you dry
Make me dry, Make me dry, Make me dry...

I've been down, the King of Id's
Id's all we have, I've been down
And I could wait
To hear the words
They're diamond-sharp today...'
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh...' ("In the Mouth a Desert" by Stephen Malkmus, Slanted and Enchanted, 1992)

Copyright © 2015 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Pavement articles/reviews: Glasgow Barrowlands, November 18th 1999, Quarantine The Past: The Best Of Pavement, Scott says (by e-mail).

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