TITLE: Slanted & Enchanted
YEAR RELEASED: 1992
CHART ACTION: #72 UK: The Deluxe re-issue hit #152 US and #5 US Independent
SINGLES: Summer Babe, Trigger Cut
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Many Pavement fans know the entire album
LINEUP: Steven Malkmus, Scott Kannenberg, Gary Young.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After some noisy noisy EPs, the band’s first album is a hook filled low-fi touchstone.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Pavement was a very enigmatic band when they started. The two main men went by SM (Malkmus) and Spiral Stairs (Kannenberg). They appropriated other album artwork for their own. Their EPs usually had a tune or two of great indie rock with hooks, and then other tracks of noise and feedback. The song titles were obtuse; the lyrics full of allusions.
The record was noisy, yes, and some of the cuts were obtuse and just odd. It wouldn’t fit on regular Top 40 radio. But there was something about these songs, sometimes shrouded in feedback and static, that hit the right nerve for the indie crowd at this point in history.
What hits are the hooks. You can sing along to at least the choruses of most of these songs. The oddball songs are also charming in their own way. The titles, well, “Chelsey’s Little Wrists” and “Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era” probably gives you an idea.
It’s one of the best indie albums of the 90’s and certainly beats any flaccid grunge-lite bands that became ubiquitous in 1995 or so.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: A personal note: Pavement was the first time I really ran into a certain kind of music hipster. On a message board on Prodigy (yeah, Prodigy) some posters were saying that Pavement had gotten ‘too popular’ with the release of this album, and they weren’t ‘a band just for them’ anymore. So, the kicker was that they were going to turn their allegiance to Guided By Voices, because they were SURE that was a band they could keep for themselves.
First, a band isn’t yours – it’s for the members of the band and also EVERYONE, not just your little cult. Second, writing songs that people like isn’t a crime, especially when you really don’t compromise your artistic viewpoint. Third, GBV got just as popular and compromised as Pavement.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Pavement has released huge deluxe versions with outtakes, BBC sessions and live sets. This one also has the Watery, Domestic EP in its entirety. I doesn’t have much of Westing By Musket and Sextant, a compilation of their EPs on Drag City. That one’s going in the missing file for now.
GRADE: A: It’s an A+ if you can handle the noisier, obtuse cuts, otherwise an A- for the masses. So I said it’s an A record. Aaaaaaay!