Quarantine The Past: The Best Of Pavement

Written by: PP on 10/03/2010 06:02:05

Pavement are to indie rock what The Get Up Kids are to emo and pop punk; a grossly underrated, often overlooked and forgotten group that influenced countless bands many of us listen to today, before dramatically breaking up in 1999: "I just don't want to do this anymore", confessed the band's eccentric singer Malkmus after the band's performance at the Coachella festival. A full decade passed before a reunion was announced late last year, but with all that time, the band's cult status and popularity has waned off, or at least taken a serious dent. In the meantime, an entire generation of kids grew up listening to bands that were directly influenced by Pavement; chances are, that if you are/were into indie, noise, or original emo / original post-hardcore, these bands grew up listening to Pavement, and that you've only briefly heard the band mentioned somewhere but have actually never heard any of their music.

Enter yours truly, and a newly acquired copy of "Quarantine The Past: The Best Of Pavement", an extensive 23-track greatest hits compilation spanning Pavement's entire 10 year career from the early lo-fi cult tracks to the much better produced and more straight-forward stuff of their later years. In other words, a perfect introduction to a band long lost in the space of 73 minutes and 18 seconds. While listening through the compilation, any of the following bands will pop into mind in no specific order: Bear Vs Shark, Bloodhound Gang (a less silly version, though), The Streets ("Two States", anyone?), The Stereo, The Thermals, Sunny Day Real Estate, showcasing how far-reaching Pavement's influence has been in the music scene. The phrase gets thrown around all too often, but there's really something for everyone here. Whether it's the weird singing in the otherwise catchy "Gold Soundz" that opens this compilation, the contrast between mellow strumming and lo-fi noise on "Mellow Jazz Docent", or the emotionally charged, angsty "Stereo" that pulls your leg, your feelings toward the music will inevitably converge at the thought of "something's a little off here".

Wonderfully off-tune at times, subtly poppy and melodic elsewhere, topped off with quirky experimentalism and a desire to push the envelope when it comes to exploring every corner of their sound, Pavement have shown that one need not to stick into one particular type of sound to impress, which "Quarantine The Past" is testament of. On first listen, the rulebook of music as you know it is thrown aside and probably burnt at a bonfire, which is why it can be difficult to find an emotional and/or a melodic connection with the band. But give it time. Start with a song like "In The Mouth A Desert" or "Shady Lane: J vs S", which are about as good examples of the brilliance that is Pavement as you can find. Thereafter, start considering what bands to miss at Roskilde this year in favour of seeing Pavement.


Download: The Stereo, In The Mouth A Desert, Shady Lane: J vs S
For the fans of: Sonic Youth, Bloodhound Gang, The STreets, Bear Vs Shark
Listen: Myspace

Release date 08.03.2010
Matador Records

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