Pavement Vinyl, CD & tapes by Pavement at Norman Records
Back when he was in Pavement, Stephen Malkmus was slacker pop’s poet laureate. Mumbling pretty much whatever he pleased over a variety of shambolic indie rock tunes, he came off droll, sarcastic, earnest, direct and unfathomable, all at once. There's a good reason for "Cut Your Hair" being one of the genre's most recognisable anthems: it sounds like the inner workings of a naive kid having a jolly old day, but cuts through with the meta snark of someone who knows something you don't. Classic indie kids.
"Cut Your Hair" comes from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain -- an album that saw the band throw out some of the genre’s most memorable numbers (“Gold Soundz”, I’m looking at you). Beyond this masterpiece, though, their records offered strange sprawls through country twang, disgruntled noise and existential suburbia. Many come to the fractured fuzz vignettes of Slanted & Enchanted to get their fix; others find the weed-prog of Wowee Zowee to their taste. And while the praise started to tail off a bit at the end of their career, we at Norman think Brighten the Corners is one of the finest records to ever be released by an aging indie band, offering Malkmus' verbose writing style over jangly slacker brilliance.