With Nirvana being championed as the saviors of rock and torch carrying kings of a now very irrelevant Seattle “scene,” Pavement carved out a niche of their own on college radio. Disregarding commercial music’s reverence for Beatles-y hooks in favor of stripped down low-fi junk-rock Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted had an influence reaching far beyond the Seattle scene’s progeny. As a result, one of America’s greatest ’90s bands gets a grand reissue befitting of the slacker-poet noise kings they were.

Paul Wong
Paul Wong
Courtesy of Matador
The boys of Pavement are no more, but their music lives on.

When formed, Pavement was shrouded in mysterious cryptic antics. The band members resided throughout the country corners; the founders went so far as to give themselves epithets (S.M. and Spiral Stairs). When Pavement granted interviews, which they rarely did – they were mercurial and temperamental. Pavement’s leader and chief songwriter, Stephen Malkmus served to continue the mystery surrounding the band with off-kilter, off-topic and sometimes off-key vocals becoming Pavement trademarks stolen with a smirk from Sonic Youth and The Pixies.

Pavement’s 10-year anniversary album features a remastering of the original 14 album tracks followed by extra songs from the Enchanted sessions. The wonderful Watery, Domestic EP catches Pavement mid-crawl sandwiched between their two best albums at a time when even their EP cast-offs and b-sides ebbed genius. Luxe & Reduxe sports almost 50 percent never-before-heard material, including a 1992 December concert, and previously unheard John Peel sessions. The 48-track collection focuses on Pavement’s fetal period, years before the summer babes made the major leagues.

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