Even if you’ve just barely dipped your toe into the world of American Indie Rock there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard of these guys. You can only go so many days of reading blogs and music news before a Pavement reference pops up. In past Friday Favorite entires I’ve offered insight into must-have albums which also hold significance for me. This week I feel the responsibility to introduce you to an album that you have to know about regardless of the fact that I just simply missed the boat on their appeal.
In 1992 I was five years old. I listened to Winnie the Pooh sing along records but hipsters who had fifteen years on me were putting Pavement’s debut Slanted and Enchanted into their Walkmen cassette players. The California based five piece were a true indie band, meaning unlike heralded artists like Nirvana and R.E.M they didn’t go major once they made the jump from the college waves to commercial stations. Because they never took off beyond the underground scene they weren’t exploited, over-played, or forced to make mass appealing shit. They were simply enjoyed by nineties hipsters until their break up in ’99.
It’s no wonder then why Pavement make the top five artists lists of so many thirty-to-forty-something indie rockers. But it isn’t just for their ability to keep it unknown. Pavement is such an important band because they are often cited as the originators of the lo-fi genre.
In a few weeks I’ll be doing a Music Lesson on lo-fi so I won’t go into much detail now, but what I can tell you is that Slanted and Enchanted is the ultimate lo-fi record. It’s messsy but catchy with noisy guitars, lax vocals and random bursts of spoken word poetry. It’s inventive and creative while simultaneously sounding lazy and unskilled.
It’s not my favorite genre but it is an important one that has inspired a multitude of bands in the scene. If you want to be educated on the roots of the artists you listen to today, you should pick up a copy of Slanted and Enchanted. Consider it a part of your music education.