Long Playing is hopefully going to be another series of semi regular posts which we’ll feature here on Elba Sessions blog. Our thought behind
it is to give a bit of time to albums that have stayed with us for a while or that we’ve recently rediscovered. Yes, we love to hear new music and our quest for this won’t rest, but there’s so many good records rattling about from the past that we kind of feel, it’s a shame we never blogged about that when it was out. In some cases we might pick an album that was out before the advent of writing about music on the internet, other times, we may simply have been too young or the album might have been a slow burner.
In today’s case, blogging in it’s primitive, early forms was only just beginning, not getting popular until years later. As the title states, I’m talking about Pavement’s 1994 album, ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. I was only 10 when this album came out, so I’m maybe a little young to qualify on speaking about the meaning of the album or what it represented at the time. The thing is though, I do remember it coming out. I had a brother, eight years my senior who was really into his music, he still is of course, but at the time he spent all of his money on buying new records and reading music magazines. With the age gap, I of course looked up to him and listened to the music he listened to and skimmed the magazines he read, not really knowing what it all meant but knew that I liked most of what I was hearing.
I don’t remember specifically when this album came out, i just remember my brother having it in his tape collection, yep cassettes, that fondly thought of, now ‘DIY’ format. If memory serves, it was one of those cassettes that’s cover was landscape rather than portrait. I may be mistaken however.
The only track i have really vivid memories from that time was Cut Your Hair. In hindsight, this was an obvious choice for a ten year old and unsurprisingly Pavement’s most mainstream success. The name alone was something I imagine that I found amusing at the time and it’s cathy ooh’s. It’s still a song that i immensely enjoy and was again the song that made me revisit Crooked Rain years later.
I remember being at a gig in a venue in Aberdeen called The Tunnels (google tells me April 2006) and hearing the DJ play Cut Your Hair between the bands. It probably wasn’t the first time I’d heard it in 10 years but it was the occasion that made me sit up and think, I’ll need to track that album down. I had such great access to music at home with my brother’s ever expanding, cassette, CD and Vinyl collections that until I was nearing my late teens, I had no need to buy music, that’s not to say I didn’t but I had little to no record collection to speak of until later. I simply borrowed and listened to his.
Of course, by 2006, cassettes were gone and they weren’t quite back ‘en vogue’ by that time. Added to that, I was older and no longer had access to the archive of things that I used to listen to as a relatively young soul. I had to start filling the gaps.
I discovered with Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain that it was much more than Cut Your Hair. There was ‘Gold Soundz’, ‘Silence Kid’ (or Silence Kit if you read with or without the ink stain on the back cover), the rambling ‘Range Life’ and the dissonant sounds of ‘Stop Breathin’.
It’s an album I come back to again and again. I’ll go through phases but over the course of this year, I’ve been listening to it more and more and I’m guessing that because with new bands like Smith Westerns and Girls, Pavement’s influence is definitely there so I’m listening to the new and before of that genre.
I finally got to see Pavement live last year at the Barrowlands and it wasn’t a disappointment. They delved into their back catalogue and several Crooked Rain songs featured.
Stephen Malkmus has since forged a successful solo career of his own with the backing of ‘The Jicks’ and has just released his fifth album called ‘Mirror Traffic’
He plays The Arches in Glasgow on Nov 11th and i’m going to head out to that, secretly hoping there will be a couple of Pavement tracks thrown in for good measure. I’ll keep everything crossed…