Tag Archives: Pavement

Song-A-Day: February 18

The Song of the Day for February 18th is going to be “Summer Babe (Winter Version)” by Pavement, a band who had a very special 20th anniversary a few days ago for their classic album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. This one comes from the group’s debut album of Slanted & Enchanted though, and is one of the better songs that the group ever released.

Ice baby,
I saw your girlfriend and she was
eating her fingers like they’re just another meal
but she waits there
in the levee washes
mixin’ cocktails with a plastic-tipped cigar

My eyes stick to all the shiny roses
you wear on the protein delta strip
in an abandoned house but i will wait there
i’ll be waiting forever…
i’ll wait and wait and wait…

Minerals, ice deposits daily, dropped off
the first shiny robe
i’ve got a lot of things i want to sell, but
not here, babe– tortuuurreeee…

every time i sit around i find i’m shot
every time i sit around i find i’m shot
every time i turn around i find i’m shot
every time i sit around i find i’m shot
every time every time…
you’re my… summer babe
summer babe

Song-A-Day: February 14

Everyday’s the fourteenth! Happy Valentines Day everybody, in terms of musical history Pavement’s famed record Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was actually released on February 14, but today we’re going to go with the brilliantly fun “Happy Valentines Day” by the once again active hip-hop duo Outkast.

My name is Cupid Valentino, the modern day Cupid
And I just want to say one thing

Happy Valentine’s Day
Every day the 14th!
I don’t think y’all heard me!
I just want to say Happy Valentine’s Day!
Every day the 14th!
Can y’all dig that?
Now when arrows don’t penetrate, see
Cupid grabs the pistol (Uh, yeah, now, now lookie here!)
And he shoots straight for your heart
And when he won’t miss you!
That’s alright ’cause y’all won’t believe in me anyways
But

Ya won’t believe in me, but you would fancy
leprechauns or groundhogs
No thank you, Easter Bunny!
(There’s all this talk about Santa Claus, but see
love will rule reign supreme)

Happy Valentine’s Day
Every day the 14th! (You got it!)
When Cupid knocks at your door
You can’t ignore me!
There’s no need to run!
So, Happy Valentine’s Day (Hey!)
Every day the 14th!
I may have it all wrong, see
If you know what loves mean, well
Well, somebody tell me!
Cause they just don’t believe in me!

Ya’ won’t believe in me, but you would fancy
leprechauns or groundhogs
No thank you, Easter Bunny!
(There’s so much fuss about Santa Claus, but see
Cupid will not be defeated!)

Happy Valentine’s Day
Every day the 14th!
Now I know your hearts have grown cold
And that bothers me
Now I understand ’cause I use to be a bad boy in my day
I know you’re trying to protect your lil’ feelings
but you can’t run away
Oh oh!

Ya’ won’t believe in me, but you would fancy..
(Hey! Don’t you supposed to be some kind of player or something?)
Bunny!

Well keep on runnin’, player
‘Cause I got my good shoes on
And I got ‘em tied up tight
So, you’re going to find out tonight!

Got a sweet lil’ darling back in my corner
Below I know I love her, but act like I don’t want her
Surrounded by the lonely, but yet feel like a loner
Could be an organ donor
The way I give up my heart, but
Never know because ? s***, I never tell her!
Ask me about my feelings I’d holla’ that it’s irrela’
I don’t get myself caught up in the Jello gella’
And puddin’ pops, that others opt to call falling in love, but
For the record, have you ever rode a horse?
Would I like for you to take me to Pluto?
I said, “Of course!”
But if you ain’t a sweety indeedy, I won’t endorse
Hans Solo till I’m hit by the bullet, so may the force
Be with you, and I’ll hit you when better time permits
For now, give me examples of why you’re the s***!
But how am I to know with the profession that I’m in?
And if you do not know me, then how could you be my friend?

Happy Valentine’s, Happy Valentine’s
Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Valentine’s Day

The Place of Music Scenes

I’ve been spending a lot of my recent ‘free-thinking’ time on the subject of music scenes, specifically about how they form and what effect they end up having on music as a whole. When a music scene has developed it means that there’s suddenly a new type of sound which is starting to get more attention and exposure for artists playing it, with that sound also occasionally being tracked to a specific location or region as well. For some examples, there was the Grunge movement in the Northwest in the late 1980s, a new definition of Alternative Rock emerged in the mid-90’s with bands such as Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., Archers of Loaf, Guided By Voices and The Pixies gaining popularity, and recently there was a defined new-wave rock scene in New York City which spawned artists like The Strokes and Interpol. So how do these scenes actually start? Theoretically I can think of a few ways, but they all share some common points.

  • A new artist emerges and plays a sound which sounds so different from anything else that is currently being played, and so it inspires imitation and new methods of thinking. (Example: Bob Dylan)
  • An artist with an already established following and influence has a sudden drastic sound shift which worked incredibly well for them. (Example: Radiohead)
  • Multiple artists get inspired from the same source, bringing extra attention to an artist who’s music left a significant impact and is just now being remembered. (Example: The Velvet Underground)
  • An awesome local music scene emerges to draw a crowd, and somebody from that local scene emerges into the national spotlight. (Example: Neutral Milk Hotel)

There have to be other scenarios as well, but you’re probably starting to understand what I believe has to be present for a successful music scene to form. The sound has to be new and unique to the other options out there, and somebody within the scene has to grow in popularity enough so that they can spread the word around about it. It’s an interesting dynamic to think about, but that theorization is only the beginning point to this article.

Smaller music scenes get defined constantly and the study of these is basically what it means today to be current with modern music, and the people who get to define what these smaller scenes are work for the music media. Their job is to try and define these different music scenes and report what’s happening within them from a specific mindset, and this effects their opinion on who deserves to be recognized and how releases should be rated. This approach makes some sense from their perspective because if you’re covering music on a day-to-day basis then I imagine you wouldn’t be very keen on viewing every new release as a blank slate, but it’s a flawed approach towards rating music.

That’s because while music scenes are real and potentially valuable, they can also be a mirage which only displays the sounds which share common qualities with each other. Where’s the space for creativity and new ideas within this mindset, and what solutions get missed if you’re stuck looking for the answer in the same place repeatedly?

When it comes to new music, I think it’s best to just compare it to the total product rather than how it fits into the modern music scenes because of this. How well does the band or release stand alongside the successful sounds which have come before it, and how likely is it to inspire the sounds which will follow? That’s the ultimate question right there, and with all of the different genres and stylistic differences which have made an impact in music history I would think it’s safe to say that there’s never going to be a sure-fire answers to those questions. It’s just something that time decides, but keeping an open mind towards what could leave an imprint is an important step.

50 States, 50 Artists, 50 Songs

Alabama

Alabama Shakes- “Hold On”

Alaska

Volcano Choir- “Alaskans”

Arizona

The Beatles- “Get Back”

Arkansas

Of Montreal- “Little Rock

California

Foxygen- “San Francisco”

Colorado

Bob Dylan- “Man of Constant Sorrow”

Connecticut

Superchunk- “Connecticut

Delaware

Continue reading 50 States, 50 Artists, 50 Songs

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 30-21

Here are numbers 30-21 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

30. Sufjan Stevens- Casimir Pulaski Day

All the glory that the Lord has made/ And the complications when I see His face/ In the evening in the window.

There is a fantastic breakdown of this song right here. Stevens makes it the most genuine and sad song that he’s ever made in my opinion, and the storyline proves to be absolutely tragic. Death takes on a whole new level of sadness when it takes the life of a young girl, and this song shows the scene unfurl from the perspective of a young boy who was experiencing his first love with her. The sadness hits everyone, and it makes what was once a devout christian boy question why a good christian girl hasn’t started to feel better yet, and he fully loses his faith once he realizes that she’s actually dead and looks for God for an explanation only to see his own reflection. Now for every year there will be a chance for the entire city to remember the girl that he lost tragically, but nobody will be aware of it’s significance as anything more than Casimir Pulaski Day with the exception of the narrator.

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29. Guided By Voices- Tractor Rape Chain

“Parallel lines on a slow decline/ Tractor rape chain.

“Tractor Rape Chain” is a song about a relationship, and it’s failures which are never going to end. The opening stanza shows that the couple can’t even trust each other anymore when they communicate, but they know that they’re still destined to spend the rest of their lives together. The song then moves into the bedroom of the couple where the husband struggles with the notion of divorce, but it’s something that he refuses to even consider, represented by a “ghost in [my] room and he says [he] better run”. The narrator can see the ghost, he can hear the ghost, but his entire life he’s told people he doesn’t believe in ghosts, so he just pleads for it to go away. Let him continue as his part of the “parallel lines on a slow decline” until his death arrives.

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28. Okkervil River- Black

“You should wreck his life the way that he wrecked yours/ You want no part of his life anymore.”

Another incredibly sad plot line here as the narrator’s currently in a relationship with a girl who just revealed to him that something awful happened in her past (“Amy in the White Coat” style awful). Her father destroyed her life, and he didn’t get any repercussions for this. In fact he left to move on to a new wife, a new kid, and a new life where he trashes his old kid at any chance he gets (“You should say his name the way that he says yours”). The narrator gets furious at this story and what this man has done to her, and tells her that he’s going to rip this guy’s throat out, that he’s going to go to his new family and destroy his life by telling them what he’s done, but she tells him not to. In order to ruin his life she’d have to acknowledge him again, and she’s rather just have “no part of his life anymore”.

Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 30-21

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 60-51

Here are numbers 60-51 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

60. Death Cab For Cutie- Steadier Footing

This is the chance I never got/ To make a move, but we just talk about/ The people we’ve met in the last five years/ And will we remember them in ten more.

A really short and pretty song by Death Cab from earlier in their career, “Steadier Footing” captures Gibbard people watching from his porch late night after a party. He was looking for some isolation, but he found himself in a conversation which was incredibly genuine and capped off the night well for him. I always loved the talking point about if the people who you’re currently friends with will still be friends of yours in ten years because it’s a very real fear for myself, in an ever-changing world you have to wonder if the good things will stay constant.

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59. Bright Eyes- Amy in the White Coat

“You see, we’re all trying to endure/ You could easily go and make your own life somewhere/ Couldn’t you?

I dug into Noise Floor after hearing the more popular Bright Eyes albums and loving them, and I remember that on the first listen I enjoyed it, but the only songs that really jumped out at me were the Daniel Johnston cover of “Devil Town”, the piano-lead “Drunk Kid Catholic”, and “Amy in the White Coat”(in hindsight, “Blue Angels Air Show” should have been in this grouping). At the point though I hadn’t followed the storyline to “Amy in the White Coat”, I just remembered it as a good song that I wanted to re-visit, and on that second listen I was stunned and saddened. The entire track is about a girl, Amy, who is in an incredibly bad living situation with her father (I don’t feel fully comfortable typing out how so). The horrible part is that Amy’s just found a way to deal with it because she needs to be there to survive, so she doesn’t really see an alternative. It’s the saddest song I’ve ever heard.

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58. Radiohead- The National Anthem

“Everyone/ Everyone is so near/ Everyone has got the fear/ It’s holding on.”

I respect Radiohead a lot but I don’t obsess over them, in fact the only real Radiohead song that I feel a strong connection to is “The National Anthem”. I like how this song attacks you as new instruments get introduced to the chaos in response to Thom Yorke’s messages to the masses. Everything seems like it really belongs in the track, as Radiohead creates a national anthem where the nation doesn’t get rid of the ugly, where it isn’t meant to be sung by kids in school, and where there are just long segments of chaotic noise occurring.

Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 60-51

Essential Albums: Pavement- Slanted & Enchanted

I’m a big fan of the ’90s college rock scene, as can be evidenced by my previous write-ups on Bee Thousand, Doolittle, and The Lonesome Crowded West. These bands all played a large role in defining alternative music and what college radio stations were expected to play and look for from that point forward, and Pavement might just be the most important one from the group because of what a stereotypical college group they were. Pavement is Lo-Fi rock which came across as cool, and the band today is still the topic of debate about just how good they actually were between diehard fans and critics who call them talentless. One thing that helps their legacy for sure is how they left their impression on the music scene both in the mid 90’s and today, inspiring current artists with qualities that began on their 1992 debut album Slanted & Enchanted.


Continue reading Essential Albums: Pavement- Slanted & Enchanted