Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe

Oh, the summer of '92. "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover." Kris Kross. Nirvana. Dylan and Kelly finally made out at the beach on 90210, while Brenda was off in Paris. All summer long, we sang along to the songs of Pavement, and every word we sang we knew was true, even the song that went "Lies and betrayals/Fruit-covered nails/Electricity and lust." Slanted and Enchanted was so damn good, nobody even cared if Pavement would ever make another album, let alone go on to a decade-long run as the great American rock band of the Nineties. But they did.

Pavement were two nice suburban guitar boys from Stockton, California, Stephen Malkmus and Spiral Stairs, who headed into the garage studio of their hippie drummer, Gary Young, and knocked off a few songs for a laugh. Pavement revamped the avant-noise experiments of Sonic Youth and Big Black, but goosed them with playful energy and wiseass humor and stolen guitar hooks and unironically beautiful sha-la-la melodies. For all the art-punk excesses and lyrical goofs, the whole album flowed like a Buddy Holly song.

This tenth-anniversary double-CD package documents Pavement on a roll in 1991 and 1992, when even their lackadaisical throwaways were touched with greatness. We get B sides, rarities, the excellent Watery, Domestic EP and a December 1992 live gig in London. Luxe and Reduxe is forty-eight tracks of stray slack for the ages, with classics such as "Trigger Cut," "Here," "Greenlander" and "Shoot the Singer" holding up as the freshest, funniest indie-rock gold sounds ever recorded.

x