Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Trapped In The 1990s With Two Tall Men.

Pavement - Spit On A Stranger.mp3

I never had any interest in Pavement during the years that they were around - I think Jawbreaker's Dear You album was about the only indie stand-out in a record collection dominated by political pop-punk and screamo releases from Goleta's Ebullition Records - and I'd probably call myself a Pavement "fan," though it's hard to maintain that when I'm only really interested in the later albums, specifically Terror Twilight. I've yet to meet a Pavement fan who actually likes that album, but I loved it, and was delighted to find that Stephen Malkmus' solo debut carried on in the same manner. That Wilco (the roots & Americana, self-mythologizing, barely-disguised jam band) tried to re-create with their dopy and yawn-inducing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? Well, I didn't like the Preston School of Industry album that much either, thanks any. (Maybe the Wilco version of Terror Twilight sounds best in the middle of a field in Maryland, the scent of patchouli, body odour and dreadlocks wafting about...) Was it Nigel Godrick's production that turned off old Pavement fans? No Spiral Stairs songs? Well, of little concern to me - this is the first track from that album, and it's a spacey and beautiful, nay!, sublime composition complete with occasional falsetto jumps and wonderful production that opens up ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL ALBUMS OF 1999.

Archers of Loaf - Scenic Pastures.mp3
Archers of Loaf - Form & File.mp3

And, on the topic of the 1990s and indie rock bands with later albums not-so-beloved by their good-for-nothing turncoat fanbase, I will direct the reader's attention to an album put out in 1996 by Archers of Loaf, All The Nation's Airports. Fronted by the soft-spoken preacher-man Eric Bachmann, a gangly gentleman with a great fingerpicking technique, and like Stephen Malkmus, a lover of stripclubs (inferred, not confirmed), Bachmann and Black Mountain's Stephen McBean obviously attended the same vocal training school. This album pointed the way to the sparseness of their final album White Trash Heroes, while still maintaining some of the guitar squelches and squeals that dominated previous works. The above track, Scenic Pastures, is probably the most palatable to long-time fans of the group - a heavy bass-tone, a delayed-lead guitar, and those stop-start dynamics. The rest of the album sounds like Neu. Well, no, not really. But it's quite a bit different - looped and piano ballad Chumming The Ocean foreshadows Bachmann's current project, Crooked Fingers, the equivalent to McBean's Jerk With A Bomb song Summertime. Pathos! Piano! I haven't included that here, (the later song Form & File is above) but it's a strutting little number (uhh, okay, mid-tempo shuffle bordering on dirge, maybe?) that ends in a tidal wave of vocal overdubs. Get the album!

Welcome to Jay Watts' 1995 Bedroom *
In a similar vein to this post and a couples ones prior, that is Alienating Any Of The Four People Who Read This, I'm going to do a Swervedriver post tomorrow! It's everything I remember liking about Buffalo Tom's song on this 411 skateboarding video I had in grade 9, but without being terrible when I went back to listen to it. (Did anyone else discover bands through 411's video skateboard magazine? More often than not the soundtracks avoided the double-time kick-drum poppa-punk criminals that dominated most of the other skateboarding videos at the time... And is Ed Templeton the Stephen Malkmus of skateboarding?)

* Or rather, an approximation of what I want the cultural contents of my 1995 to be, looking back at it with selective memory and a healthy dose of revisionism.


Greg said...

Come on... Swervedriver were amazing. I think I could still sing the lyrics to Son of a Mustang Ford. Looking forward to this post.

Xavier said...

More than four. Goldkixx's pretty informative. And at times, whoa, entertaining.

DK said...

Great post! Archers of Loaf remain one of my all-time favourite bands. They seem to hit that right mix of pop & alt guitar sound, with some experimentation at times. Plus Bachmann's smoked-my-last-cigarette vocals. Great stuff. BTW - I loved 'Airports'.

The latest Malkmus disc "Face The Truth" is very good - as strong as the best Pavement stuff.

Keep up the good work!

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