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Crooked Rain..

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Pavement mark the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock. When their first EP, Slay Tracks (1933-1969), was released in 1989, it sparked a back-to-the-garage movement in the American underground. While there were a number of hardcore and punk bands in the U.S. during the late '80s, Pavement brought guitar pop back into the underground lexicon. Combining ringing ... Read more in Amazon's Pavement Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Oct 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Matador
  • ASIN: B0003JAIYG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 356,262 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Silence Kit
2. Elevate Me Later
3. Stop Breathin'
4. Cut Your Hair
5. Newark Wilder
6. Unfair
7. Gold Soundz
8. 5-4=Unity
9. Range Life
10. Heaven Is A truck
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. All My Friends
2. Soiled Little Filly
3. Range Life
4. Stop Breathing
5. Ell Ess Two
6. Flux = Rad
7. Bad Version Of War
8. Same Way Of Saying
9. Hands Off The Bayou
10. Heaven Is A Truck (Egg Shell)
See all 25 tracks on this disc

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great CD for the price...lovely package.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 34 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Origins! 31 Oct 2004
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First there was "Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe and Reduxe," a richly enhanced double-disc set with a fat liner book of notes. Now there's "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain: L.A.'s Desert Origins," a similar reissue of Pavement's magnificent sophomore album -- and crammed with so much new stuff that it's worth getting again.

The first half of the first disc is the original "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain": the caustic pop-rock of "Cut Your Hair," the dark "Stop Breathin'," the folky "Range Life," and the trippy "Newark Wilder." It's immensely, intensely good, with a cleaner sound than the lo-fi "Slanted and Enchanted," and a sort of suburban-kid-turned-rocker perspective.

But wait: there's much more. Almost forty songs more, to be precise! Packed into every crevice of the disc is B-sides, singles, and other free-floating music from Pavement's "Crooked" days. One example is "Cooling By Sound," a sardonically wicked song that informs you that Malkmus is cooler than thou. Another is the quiet B-side "Strings of Nashville."

Then there is the second disc: eleven unreleased songs accompanied by a bunch of other tracks. These extras are not all good, but they are always enlightening, especially the eight that were made with Gary Young. There are even some rough early songs which Pavement was messing around with at the time, and were later rerecorded for "Wowee Zowee." Rounding it off are a bunch of other early creations -- some funnier songs, some instrumental experiments -- and a session with the much-lamented DJ John Peel. And accompanying the CDs is a fat little booklet, full of retrospectives and glossy pics.

"Crooked Rain Crooked Rain" was recorded in an apartment over a record store, which seems like an appropriate place for an indie-rock album to be born. Especially for one of the best underground bands of that era, whose catchy, weird pop-rock has remained relevant and enjoyable right up to this day. It seems only right that this sprawling reissue is just so... big. Never can it be said that Matador didn't do justice to Pavement in these reissues.

Malkmus and the other Pavement guys had plenty of talent -- they could be fun and catchy, gritty and lo-fi, or dark and weird. And while "Slanted And Enchanted: Luxe and Reduxe" was a look at the birth of the band, this is more of a how-to-make-an-album portrait. Not bad, just different. A good kind of different.

The Peel Sessions are among the best of the extras on this release. The B-sides and "rough drafts" are not as polished as the final product; sometimes the songs like "Range Life" and "Ell Ess Two" (an early "Elevate Me Later") were entirely different. A few of the extras are for die-hard fans only, like "Unseen Power of the Picket Fence." But cram them all together, and it feels like Pavement has released a whole new album. In a sense, despite being disbanded, they have.

"Crooked Rain Crooked Rain: L.A.'s Desert Origins" is a must-buy -- with four times the original material and formerly unreleased songs, it's an amazing release even if you already have the original.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
So good they had to name it twice. 22 Feb 2006
By Jeffrey Blehar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ah, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain - a modern rock album so stuffed to the gills with effortlessly accomplished, highly melodic songwriting that it throws away its best riff in the first 90 seconds. If that act of glorious waste isn't what Pavement was about, then I don't know what qualifies.

Yes, that's right: a lot of other bands would have conceptually organized an entire album around the opening chord progresson of "Silence Kit" had they been clever enough to write it. As it is, the band never returns to it after 1m30s: it's only one of THREE separate hooks in the very first song. Elsewhere, Pavement explores power-pop ("Cut My Hair," "Elevate Me Later"), prog influences ("Stop Breathin"), lo-fi jazz ("5-4=Unity"), and even country ("Range Life").

In theory, such musical polymathy threatens to put this album all over the map, with divergent genre-experiments running interference on one another and resulting in a stylistic jumble. But in fact, Pavement never sounded more together or displayed more unity of purpose than on this album. The more aggressive Slanted & Enchanted throwbacks like "Hit The Plane Down" and "Unfair" sit easily alongside cheerful burbles like "Elevate Me Later" and the friendly piano & flatpicked guitar of "Range Life." In fact, "Range Life" epitomizes the spirit of this album in many ways: it poses as a song of amiable wanderlust, but (Smashing Pumpkins digs aside) I think Malkmus inadvertantly reveals something about himself in that second verse. Sure, it's a seemingly jaundiced depiction of suburban teen life ("out on my skateboard, the night is just humming..."), but for all of Malkmus' practiced distance and inscrutability he can't help but betray real sentimentality with his loving attention to the little happy details. That gum-smacking kid weaving through dusky suburban sidewalks on his skateboard with a cheap walkman was probably him.

As for this two-disc reissue, it's less magnificent on a purely musical level than Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe, simply because the B-sides, Peel Sessions, and outtakes aren't as compelling as those from S&E. On S&E:L&R nearly every single off-cutting from the album was essential, and the material from the Watery, Domestic EP sessions was moreso. On this reissue, however, many of the early cuts from the aborted Gary Young sessions sound like deserved outtakes, while the B-sides and stray outtakes from the sessions proper are more hit & miss.

There are many real gems, though - so many, in fact, that I wonder if those who are criticizing the extras have *really* given this stuff a hard listen. Disc two's Gary Young sessions open with the greatest song that Pavement never officially released in "All My Friends," a hauntingly melodic two-part piece that fuses the best aspects of "AT&T," "Shoot The Singer," and "Unfair." (The last - and weakest - minute of the track was eventually chopped off and used as a B-side under the name "Exit Theory." This, and the fact that the song is much better produced than the next 7 cuts, leads me to believe it actually comes from the real album sessions and not the Young tapes.) Immediately following "All My Friends" is the SECOND greatest song Pavement never officially released, the spring-loaded "Soiled Little Filly." Don't let the lo-fi sound throw you off of this one, folks: the coiled tension and constant build of the song is unlike anything else in their discography. Run-throughs of "Range Life," "Stop Breathin'" and "Elevate Me Later" (here titled "Ell Ess Two" in acknowledgement of its clear musical debt to "Loretta's Scars") show how much the lyrics to these songs changed over time, while early versions of Wowee Zowee standouts "Flux=Rad," "Grounded," "Kennel District," and "Pueblo" demonstrate just how fertile a songwriting period this was. And that, really, is why the second disc of the CR,CR reissue is so welcome: it's a fantastic window into a period of Pavement's history that we previously knew little about.

As for the previously released tracks, notable ones include the exquisite "Raft" (the only B-side that can compare to the classic Slanted & Enchanted-era flipsides), the gentle "Strings Of Nashville," and the remarkable R.E.M. cover of "Camera." Speaking of R.E.M., fans of both bands will get a smile out of the goofy, clever tribute "Unseen Power Of The Picket Fence," wherein the history of the band is covered up to...oh, about the second album or so. (We also learn that "TIME AFTER TIME" WAS MY LEAST FAVORITE SONG!! "TIME AFTER TIME" WAS MY LEAST FAVORITE SONG!!)

Picking over the bones of the bonus tracks - and quibbling about whether or not some of them are obligatory for non-obsessives - ultimately feels small-minded. After all, you're paying the same price you normally would for a single-disc release to get a encyclopedic double-disc look at one of the great albums of the decade, complete with a well-assembled booklet containing new reminiscences and contemporaneous promotional material. Even if some of the bonus tracks aren't as improbably great as those on S&E, only a grinch would deduct a star for that.

What we're left with is the simple fact that Crooked Rain is Pavement's most assured album, suffused with a warm lustrous glow that invites you into its world rather than pushing you out of it. Stephen Malkmus and Spiral Stairs' classic rock fixation has never been more boldly out in the open than on this album, and while some would argue that Crooked Rain sacrifices some of the integrity and jagged edges of Slanted & Enchanted, the exhaustingly intense "Fillmore Jive," shimmering luminescence of "Gold Soundz," or the wryly disguised memo-to-myself of "Silence Kit" are not what compromise sounds like to me.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Crooked Rain Redux 24 Nov 2004
By Clare Quilty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This fall marks a Pavement renaissance in my car, home and headphones. I was a huge fan, from "Slanted" to about "Brighten," and then for some reason completely stopped listening for a few years. Who knows why these cravings suddenly stop...

... or why they pick back up again. But I'm enjoying reuniting with the songs and the time seemed right to check out the new expanded "Crooked Rain."

Here's my analogy: the original incarnation of "Crooked Rain" is kind of like "Apocalypse Now." It's ambitious, atmospheric, grand and makes for repeat listenings/viewings. This new expanded "Crooked Rain" is kind of like "Apocalypse Now - Redux." By that I mean: fans of the shorter version (who didn't pony up for every single and EP) will get a kick out of hearing the demos and b-sides, just as "Apocalypse" fans ached to see the French plantation scene and the Playboy bunny scene. That doesn't necessarily mean that "Crooked Rain" should be a 2 hour + entity, or that the original "Apocalypse" should disappear in favor of "Redux." Basically, old time fans will be delighted but this shouldn't replace the original album.

Hell, yeah, I like having 49 bits of Pavement, but I'll probably hang on to my original, single CD version too.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of the best things you could ever buy... 27 Feb 2008
By J-Train - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's fair to say that if I could only own one album in the world, this would be it. I am a huge Pavement fan and I have owned all the albums and b-sides for a long time. When this came out I bought it anyway even though I pretty much already had all the songs in my collection. If you have never heard Pavement you really owe it to yourself to get this album. Pavement has had as much influence on music as Nirvana, but they never really cracked the main stream. All the more reason to enjoy this work of art. With Pavement you get some of the best music in history that hasn't been tainted by being commercial. Indeed, every Pavement album shines in it's own way, but this one is very special. There is pure genius in this album and repeated listenings only make you crave hearing it more.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Out on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins..." 12 Jun 2007
By Graeme Wallis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Pavement's second album is the one whereby previously dominant duo singer-guitarist Stephen Malkmus (S.M.) and guitarist Scott Kannberg (Spiral Stairs) rounded out their sound to integrate bassist Mark Ibold and percussionist Bob Nastanovich and become 90s alt-rock's slackest band.

Whereas 1992's Slanted & Enchanted's impudent lo-fi homage to The Fall had infuriated Mark E. Smith, the band - with drummer Steve West replacing the erratic Gary Young after he had jokingly pulled a gun on Malkmus - turned their attention to an incongruous take on, primarily, California surf-rock.

Malkmus' characteristically sardonic wordplay is at its most roguish on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, aiming affable barbs at The Fall, the Happy Mondays, the Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots. Crooked Rain... is something of an amalgam of the band's previous album and E.Ps, produced in more of a classic rock fashion, yet retaining their leftfield approach to songwriting and composition, harnessing the ramshackle aesthetic of Swell Maps, Sonic Youth-esque fuzz rush, R.E.M.-tinged despondency and the artful artlessness of The Replacements.

A further plus point of Crooked Rain... is that although the album is strikingly cohesive, the band pull off the feat of never repeating themselves, the album's twelve tracks skirting the boundaries of rock n roll, pop, balladry, jazz, jive, blues, punk and country to create a sound transcendent of each style's innate tropes.

The 2004 reissue of the record, entitled Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: L.A.'s Desert Origins is even more impressive, featuring 37 non-album tracks, some of which were altered and/or embryonic versions of songs that feature on the band's following album, 1995's Wowee Zowee.

An indie cornerstone, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain proved beyond doubt that a band - even one as derisive as Pavement - could build a strong following outside of major label structures. Vibrant, innovative and droll Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain remains the standout in a discography full of seminal recordings.
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