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Pavement

Pavement is perhaps the defining American indie rock band of the 1990s, the group that captured the slacker zeitgeist of the alt-rock era. Standing detached from the tumult of grunge, Pavement seemed laconic, sometimes lazy, as they threaded their love of underground American rock and British post-punk, dressing their winding melodies with squalls of feedback and shambolic rhythms. Initially conceived as a studio project between guitarists/vocalists Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg in 1989, Pavement released a series of EPs that were foundational texts in the lo-fi movement of the ’90s before breaking through to the college rock mainstream with their 1992 debut album, Slanted & Enchanted. Shortly after that record became an indie sensation, the band’s classic lineup featuring Malkmus and Kannberg, along with bassist Mark Ibold, percussionist Bob Nastanovich, and drummer Steve West gelled, and they debuted on the 1994 album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. Buoyed by the alt-rock explosion of the ’90s, the release gave Pavement their lone modern rock hit with “Cut Your Hair,” but the band always felt more at home on the fringes of the mainstream, indulging in their odd obsessions on Wowee Zowee (1995), then trying to tie up loose ends on Brighten the Corners (1997). Pavement called it a day after 1999’s Terror Twilight, but their deep influence was apparent in generations of indie rock bands in the 21st century, a legacy the group celebrated with archival releases and the occasional reunion tour.

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