Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
While 1994 was arguably the beginning of the end for the Grunge music boom, it was (also arguably) the start of Indie music’s rise to prominence. It was also the year Pavement released one of, if not THE greatest Indie albums of all time. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Pavement’s second album, refines their sound to a winning mix of dissonant chords, just the right amount of feedback/distortion, and frontman Stephen Malkmus’ unique vocal delivery. It’s a sound that is both complex and attainable. It keeps you guessing yet never feels inaccessible or like you’re missing some high-concept nuance in the dissonance. It all works perfectly well together for a record that has not aged a day in almost 30 years.
Fun fact: I bought this album having never heard of Pavement. Back in the day, Borders bookstores had album sampling kiosks in their CD sections. You could scan the UPC on an album and listen to 30 seconds of a few tracks. I did this with Crooked Rain after grabbing it off the shelf based on its Fluxus-style cover art. After 30 seconds of Silence Kid (not Silence “Kit,” which is something I only learned this week) my mind was blown. It was a revelatory experience. I immediately bought the album and was enthralled with Pavement and the Indie scene. This led to discovering many other bands (like New Pornographers and LCD Soundsystem to name a few) and a whole new world of sound was open for me to explore. I’ve had a few musical revelations over the years and hearing this album was certainly one of the biggest. That moment is etched into my memory and something I remember fondly. So if you haven’t yet heard Crooked Rain, Crooked rain, do yourself a favor and listen to it. Right now… Right after this sentence… OK, off you go. Enjoy!