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.
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.