Pavement

Crooked Rain Crooked Rain: L.A.'s Desert Origins
(Matador)

Modern-day indie rock owes a huge debt to Pavement, and Crooked Rain is arguably the pinnacle of the band's career: all endearing sloppiness; disses on the Smashing Pumpkins; cool, jammy guitars; wit for miles; and anthemic catchiness (pretentious diehards, get over yourself: "Cut Your Hair" is the best indie rock song ever). This reissue contains a remastered version of the original LP, plus B-sides, outtakes, live tracks, rarities, and never-before-released vault material -- that's 49 songs in all, spread over two discs. The bonus material shows that the band made very good choices in choosing what ended up on the '94 release, but also that what they threw away is stronger than what most bands have written in the decade since (see "All My Friends," "Hands Off the Bayou," and the piano, shaker, and wah-wah rendition of "Heaven Is a Truck"). Listening to this collection, it's clear that Pavement's secret ingredient was a willingness to have fun and never take itself too seriously, a lesson many bands should take to heart.

 
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