in CAT

C.A.T.: Slanted and Enchanted

Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted (1992)

Now that these CAT’s have made their way into the ’90s, I figured I’d have to do a Pavement album at some point, so I’m just gonna get it out of the way with their debut Slanted and Enchanted. You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a more important indie rock album to come out of the ’90s, as it basically did for the indie/underground scene what Nirvana’s Nevermind did for mainstream alternative rock.

This album as well as Pavement as a band were born out of the early lo-fi collaborations between Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg. The two would eventually end up recording a few EPs in noted burned out hippie Gary Young’s basement before eventually recruiting Young to be their drummer. After piecing together the rest of the Pavement line-up, the group recorded Slanted and Enchanted in Young’s home studio before releasing it on Matador Records. The fact that it was recorded in someone’s basement definitely seems fitting for the album’s ragged sound, as Pavement never seemed quite as delightfully unkept as they do on Slanted and Enchanted.
I will admit that I wasn’t quite as ecstatic about this album when I first heard it as I am today. I just don’t think I was quite ready for it when I bought The Luxe and Reduxe Edition back in high school, I mean I was still mainly listening to classic rock after all at that point. I guess some of the arrangements and Stephen Malkmus’s lyrics where just a little too “out there” for me. But of course now I see that that underground aesthetic combined with Malkmus and Kannberg’s knack for these surreal little pop songs are what make Pavement so damn charming, despite the fact that they were never the kind of band that begged for your affection.
I think for a while I actually said that 1995’s Wowee Zowee was my favorite Pavement album, even though that probably just sounds like I was trying to sound cool. But after recently going back over Pavement’s catalogue, I have to admit that I really can’t deny Slanted and Enchanted as their definitive album. So much for being unique.
Favorite Tracks: “Summer Babe (Winter Version)”, “Trigger Cut/Wounded Kite At :17”, “Loretta’s Scars”