Flavor of the month in alternative land is Pavement, an amiable, somewhat obscurantist LA group noticed both for their efficient parroting of all the right Pixilated, Sonic Youthful moves (which don’t impress me, and probably won’t you) and for their occasionally open and oddly ingratiating songwriting (which does me, and might you). On Slanted & Enchanted, the band dicks around with the best of them (“Chesley’s Little Wrists,” for example, and other songs with titles too precious to repeat); but the leadoff track, “Summer Babe,” is spacious and somehow stately, as subversive and ultimately explosive (in its own way) as the song whose name I forget by that band from Seattle last year. Another number, “Zurich Is Stained,” is a short, low-volume thing with an offhand melody and a wandering jagged edge of a guitar solo that conspire to cement the suddenly very lovely title words right out of your mind. And as you listen you start digging the little things: the spurts of guitar on “In the Mouth a Desert,” the odd keyboard swirl in “Jackals, False Grails: The Lonesome Era,” that moment in “Trigger Cut” where it sounds like singer S.M. is gonna break into Jim Croce’s “Operator.” Lyrics? Oh, you know: the usual amiable, somewhat obscurantist bullshit. Pavement plays at the top of a four-band bill that also includes Walt Mink, the Toiling Midgets, and Frances Gumm; don’t plan on getting home early. Tonight, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mette Tronvoll.