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Crooked Rain Crooked Rain: L.A.'s Desert Origins

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins' is the long-awaited 2-CD deluxe reissue of Pavement's best-selling second album, originally released in 1994. The entire remastered original album plus all the B-sides, compilation tracks, rarities and outtakes and Peel sessions. Containing 49 tracks, 25 unreleased recordings, and 11 never-before-heard songs. In laminated, die-cut slipcase with 40-page perfect-bound book.


This deluxe double disc reissue is a superbly done follow-up to the treatment afforded Pavement’s brilliant ‘92 debut Slanted & Enchanted. L.A.'s Desert Origins is a joy for fans, with the majority of the second disc previously unreleased demos and outtakes. Crooked Rain is enjoyable and has some of their best songs ("Range Life," "Gold Soundz," "Silence Kit") but it’s a strange, transitional album by a band still a little wobbly on their prog-rock feet. With this ’94 release, the stadium-ready lineup of the erudite garage group had solidified, though it was not quite solid. Erratic, eccentric producer/drummer Gary Young had been booted out of the band, whose previous recordings were primarily made by Scott Kannberg and Stephen Malkmus. With two percussionists and bassist Mark Ibold brought into the studio, Crooked Rain has a far warmer, less trebly sound to it. Among the many extras included on this expanded version are the band’s two exceptional, unironic tributes to R.E.M. --Mike McGonigal

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Silence Kit
  2. Elevate Me Later
  3. Stop Breathin'
  4. Cut Your Hair
  5. Newark Wilder
  6. Unfair
  7. Gold Soundz
  8. 5-4=Unity
  9. Range Life
  10. Heaven Is A truck
  11. Hit the Plane Down
  12. Filmore Jive
  13. Camera
  14. Stare
  15. Raft
  16. Coolin' By Sound
  17. Kneeling Bus
  18. Strings Of Nashville
  19. Exit Theory
  20. 5-4 Vocal
  21. Jam Kids
  22. Haunt You Down
  23. Unseen Power Of The Picket Fence
  24. Nail Clinic

Disc: 2

  1. All My Friends
  2. Soiled Little Filly
  3. Range Life
  4. Stop Breathing
  5. Ell Ess Two
  6. Flux = Rad
  7. Bad Version Of War
  8. Same Way Of Saying
  9. Hands Off The Bayou
  10. Heaven Is A Truck (Egg Shell)
  11. Grounded
  12. Kennel District
  13. Pueblo (Beach Boys)
  14. Fucking Righteous
  15. Colorado
  16. Dark Ages
  17. Flood Victim
  18. JMC Retro
  19. Rug Rat
  20. Strings Of Nashville (Instrumental)
  21. Instrumental
  22. Brink Of The Clouds
  23. Tartar Martyr
  24. Pueblo Domain
  25. The Sutcliffe Catering Song

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 26, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B0003JAIYG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,397 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
First there was "Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe and Reduxe," a richly enhanced double-disc set with a fat liner book of notes. Now there's "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain: L.A.'s Desert Origins," a similar reissue of Pavement's magnificent sophomore album -- and crammed with so much new stuff that it's worth getting again.

The first half of the first disc is the original "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain": the caustic pop-rock of "Cut Your Hair," the dark "Stop Breathin'," the folky "Range Life," and the trippy "Newark Wilder." It's immensely, intensely good, with a cleaner sound than the lo-fi "Slanted and Enchanted," and a sort of suburban-kid-turned-rocker perspective.

But wait: there's much more. Almost forty songs more, to be precise! Packed into every crevice of the disc is B-sides, singles, and other free-floating music from Pavement's "Crooked" days. One example is "Cooling By Sound," a sardonically wicked song that informs you that Malkmus is cooler than thou. Another is the quiet B-side "Strings of Nashville."

Then there is the second disc: eleven unreleased songs accompanied by a bunch of other tracks. These extras are not all good, but they are always enlightening, especially the eight that were made with Gary Young. There are even some rough early songs which Pavement was messing around with at the time, and were later rerecorded for "Wowee Zowee." Rounding it off are a bunch of other early creations -- some funnier songs, some instrumental experiments -- and a session with the much-lamented DJ John Peel. And accompanying the CDs is a fat little booklet, full of retrospectives and glossy pics.

"Crooked Rain Crooked Rain" was recorded in an apartment over a record store, which seems like an appropriate place for an indie-rock album to be born.
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Format: Audio CD
Ah, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain - a modern rock album so stuffed to the gills with effortlessly accomplished, highly melodic songwriting that it throws away its best riff in the first 90 seconds. If that act of glorious waste isn't what Pavement was about, then I don't know what qualifies.

Yes, that's right: a lot of other bands would have conceptually organized an entire album around the opening chord progresson of "Silence Kit" had they been clever enough to write it. As it is, the band never returns to it after 1m30s: it's only one of THREE separate hooks in the very first song. Elsewhere, Pavement explores power-pop ("Cut My Hair," "Elevate Me Later"), prog influences ("Stop Breathin"), lo-fi jazz ("5-4=Unity"), and even country ("Range Life").

In theory, such musical polymathy threatens to put this album all over the map, with divergent genre-experiments running interference on one another and resulting in a stylistic jumble. But in fact, Pavement never sounded more together or displayed more unity of purpose than on this album. The more aggressive Slanted & Enchanted throwbacks like "Hit The Plane Down" and "Unfair" sit easily alongside cheerful burbles like "Elevate Me Later" and the friendly piano & flatpicked guitar of "Range Life." In fact, "Range Life" epitomizes the spirit of this album in many ways: it poses as a song of amiable wanderlust, but (Smashing Pumpkins digs aside) I think Malkmus inadvertantly reveals something about himself in that second verse. Sure, it's a seemingly jaundiced depiction of suburban teen life ("out on my skateboard, the night is just humming..."), but for all of Malkmus' practiced distance and inscrutability he can't help but betray real sentimentality with his loving attention to the little happy details.
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Format: Audio CD
This fall marks a Pavement renaissance in my car, home and headphones. I was a huge fan, from "Slanted" to about "Brighten," and then for some reason completely stopped listening for a few years. Who knows why these cravings suddenly stop...

... or why they pick back up again. But I'm enjoying reuniting with the songs and the time seemed right to check out the new expanded "Crooked Rain."

Here's my analogy: the original incarnation of "Crooked Rain" is kind of like "Apocalypse Now." It's ambitious, atmospheric, grand and makes for repeat listenings/viewings. This new expanded "Crooked Rain" is kind of like "Apocalypse Now - Redux." By that I mean: fans of the shorter version (who didn't pony up for every single and EP) will get a kick out of hearing the demos and b-sides, just as "Apocalypse" fans ached to see the French plantation scene and the Playboy bunny scene. That doesn't necessarily mean that "Crooked Rain" should be a 2 hour + entity, or that the original "Apocalypse" should disappear in favor of "Redux." Basically, old time fans will be delighted but this shouldn't replace the original album.

Hell, yeah, I like having 49 bits of Pavement, but I'll probably hang on to my original, single CD version too.
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It's fair to say that if I could only own one album in the world, this would be it. I am a huge Pavement fan and I have owned all the albums and b-sides for a long time. When this came out I bought it anyway even though I pretty much already had all the songs in my collection. If you have never heard Pavement you really owe it to yourself to get this album. Pavement has had as much influence on music as Nirvana, but they never really cracked the main stream. All the more reason to enjoy this work of art. With Pavement you get some of the best music in history that hasn't been tainted by being commercial. Indeed, every Pavement album shines in it's own way, but this one is very special. There is pure genius in this album and repeated listenings only make you crave hearing it more.
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Crooked Rain Crooked Rain: L.A.'s Desert Origins
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