quarantine The Past (Domino )
WHILE DINOSAUR Jr may be the epitome of alternative rock and Belle and Sebastian the torch bearers for pure indie, Pavement are arguably, the definitive indie/alternative band.
Although they owed much to The Beatles, Pixies, and Sonic Youth, Pavement were a genuinely original act, crucial in setting the template for what indie was about - not just as a genre of rock, but also in creating a language for that style - for the rest of the 1990s and beyond.
To understand what Pavement were all about, go straight to ‘Stereo’ from 1997’s Brighten The Corners. Structurally the song is sloppy and wayward, but conversely also tight and focused. The lyrics are full of in-jokes and nerdy references (“What about the voice of Geddy Lee, how did it get so high?/I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy?” ).
It rocks hard with a fist in the air, dandruff shaker chorus, yet this is not testosterone fuelled rock. This is guitar driven rock that would be horrified to find itself in a stadium. It’s natural home is on student radio, in clubs, and at festivals.
Quarantine The Past contains a generous 23 tracks, featuring the band’s best known songs like ‘Gold Soundz’, the reflective ‘Range Life’, the beguiling ballad ‘Spit On A Stranger’, the mini-epic ‘Date w/IKEA’, and of course ‘Cut Your Hair’ (altogether now “...career, career, KOREA, KOREA!” ), as well as fan favourites, and a few non-album numbers.
Pavement’s songs are very much of their time but their sheer quality also transcends such limitations, and shows why Stephen Malkmus & Co remain such a potent influence on today’s indie/alternative scene.
Quarantine The Past is wonderful trip for fans back into some of the best music of the 1990s. For those who have just started to discover indie/alternative, this compilation is an essential journey to take.
Dum Dum Girls
I will be (Sub pop )
DUM DUM Girls is by and large the solo project of Dee Dee (aka LA’s Kristin Gundred ) with the band name a nod to Iggy Pop’s epic song ‘Dum Dum Boys’ and The Vaselines’ sole LP.
While Mr Pop’s influence is impossible to detect on this excellent debut, Kristin’s music is very much indebted to The Vaselines’ rough’n’ready/sweetly melodic guitar driven indie. Add to this sixties beat, pop-punk, and girl groups and you have what makes up the Dum Dum Girls sound.
Everything here is short and to the point, with I Will Be’s 11 tracks clocking in at under 29 minutes (a bit like the Ramones’ debut ). It all sounds as if it was recorded in a tin-can but that buzz and rawness only adds to its many charms.
‘It Only Takes One Night’ kicks things off at a great pace, and the inspired pop punk fury never lets up (‘Jail La La’, ‘Everybody’s Out’ ), pausing only here and there to allow Kristin sing a couple of soppy but very sweet love songs to her husband (‘Rest Of Our Lives’, ‘Baby Don’t Go’ ).