Rockin’ the Tarmac: Your Ultimate Guide to Pavement (the band)

Pavement (the band)
Pavement | Shutterstock

Unraveling the Indie Rock Enigma

Whoa, hold your horses! Before we step on the gas, let’s set the stage for our exploration. If you’re reading this, you’re either a bona fide fan of Pavement, or you’ve heard whispers about this cryptic indie rock band, and your curiosity is piqued. Well, buckle up, buddy! This “Guide to Pavement” is your ticket to a wild ride into the heart of indie rock. We will unravel Pavement’s enigma, delving into its history, musical style, and enduring influence on the music scene. Catch Pavement live at the Kilby Court Block Party.

Guide to Pavement (the band): Laying the Foundation.

A Humble Start: From Stockton to Stardom

Pavement. It sounds like something you’d amble down. But, oh boy, this band’s journey was anything but pedestrian. In 1989, Pavement started as a simple studio project in Stockton, California. Its founding members, Stephen Malkmus, and Scott Kannberg, probably never dreamed they’d end up being hailed as indie rock legends.

Meet the Band: The Brains Behind the Beats

Over the years, Pavement’s lineup saw a shuffle. The original duo was joined by a motley crew of talented musicians, including the powerhouse percussionist Gary Young and the multi-talented Mark Ibold. Each member brought a unique flavor to the mix, creating the distinctive Pavement sound we know and love.


The Pavement Sound: Experimentation and Evolution

A Fusion of Genres: The Pavement Cocktail

Pavement’s music was a cocktail of genres, blending elements of punk rock, lo-fi, and even a dash of 60s pop. Their eclectic mix of influences made for a sound that was innovative, exciting, and entirely unlike anything else at the time.

Albums that Rocked the Indie Scene

From their debut album “Slanted and Enchanted” to their swan song “Terror Twilight,” each Pavement record was a bold experiment in indie rock. Yet, while their style evolved, they always retained their originality and edge.


Best Songs by Pavement: The Unmissable Tracks

Gold Soundz: The Golden Ticket to Pavement’s World

Remember when you were a kid and found that hidden gem in the corner store? Well, “Gold Soundz” is that, but in song form. It’s an absolute must-listen for any Pavement newbie, perfectly capturing the band’s quirky charm.

Cut Your Hair: The Unofficial Anthem of the 90s

“Cut Your Hair” is the quintessential Pavement track that all had us head-banging in our bedrooms. It’s the band’s most successful single; one listen is enough to understand why. The catchy tune and relatable lyrics make it a timeless favorite.

Range Life: A Slice of Pavement’s Life

“Range Life” offers a more laid-back, country-inspired sound that departs from Pavement’s usual style. Nevertheless, it’s a testament to their versatility and refusal to be pigeonholed into one genre.


Exploring Pavement’s Musical Evolution

Early Days: Slanted and Enchanted

These two albums laid the foundation of Pavement’s sound, showcasing their knack for creating off-kilter melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. Essential tracks to listen to include “Summer Babe (Winter Version)” and “Conduit for Sale.”

Mid-Career: Wowee Zowee and Brighten the Corners

During this phase, Pavement expanded its sound. Highlights include “Grounded,” “Father to a Sister of Thought,” and the fan-favorite “Stereo.”


Final Bow: Terror Twilight

Their final album, Terror Twilight, was a more polished and reflective offering. Standout tracks include “Spit on a Stranger” and “Carrot Rope.”

The Legacy of Pavement: Influencing the Indie Scene

Despite disbanding in 1999, Pavement’s influence on the indie scene is still palpable. Bands like Arctic Monkeys and The National have cited them as significant inspiration. Pavement’s sound continues to echo through the halls of indie rock, shaping its future while remaining a symbol of its past.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Pavement (the band) break up?

Pavement disbanded in 1999 due to a combination of creative differences and fatigue from constant touring. The band members felt it was time to explore new opportunities and pursue solo projects.

Has Pavement (the band) ever reunited?

Yes, Pavement has reunited a couple of times for one-off shows and tours, most notably in 2010 for a worldwide reunion tour. The band will perform at the Kilby Block Party on May 14, 2023.

What makes Pavement’s music unique?

Pavement’s music is a unique blend of genres and styles. They were known for their lyrical wit, experimental sound, and rawness that set them apart from other indie rock bands of their era.

What’s the best album to start with for a Pavement newbie?

While opinions may vary, many fans and critics agree that Slanted and Enchanted is an excellent starting point. This debut album showcases the band’s raw energy and innovative sound, setting the stage for their illustrious career.

Are the Pavement band members still active in the music scene?

Absolutely! Since Pavement’s disbandment, the band members have pursued solo projects and collaborations. Stephen Malkmus, for instance, formed The Jicks and has released several successful albums with them.

What’s the story behind the name Pavement?

The origin of the name “Pavement” is shrouded in mystery, with the band members offering various explanations over the years. Some claim it was chosen for its mundane, everyday connotations, while others suggest a childhood memory inspired it. Whatever the reason, it’s a name that’s become synonymous with indie rock excellence.


A Glimpse into Pavement’s World

Music Videos: Visual Storytelling

Pavement’s music videos were as quirky and original as their music. From the lo-fi charm of “Cut Your Hair” to the offbeat humor of “Shady Lane,” these visual treats added a new dimension to the band’s appeal.

Live Performances: Raw Energy Unleashed

Seeing Pavement live was an experience like no other. Their performances were a whirlwind of raw energy, chaotic beauty, and pure indie rock magic. So if you’re lucky enough to catch a reunion show, don’t miss it for the world!


The Enduring Appeal of Pavement

As we wrap up our “Guide to Pavement (the band)”, it’s clear that their music and influence are anything but ordinary. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer to their sound, Pavement’s unique brand of indie rock offers a listening experience that’s both nostalgic and refreshing. So crank up the volume, and let the spirit of Pavement carry you away on a wild ride through the history of indie rock.

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