379 to 50: #7 “Gold Soundz” by Pavement

Pavement Gold Soundz

Some more “Gold Soundz” in my 379 to 50 top songs countdown now, courtesy of Pavement from 1994 second album “Crooked Rain Crooked Rain”.

The quintessential 90s US indie band, Pavement’s influence and popularity has soared since they initially split in 1999.  Having produced four brilliantly distinctive LPs before sounding a bit tired on their swansong fifth “Terror Twilight”, it’s pretty tough to choose a favourite Pavement album let along favourite song, with their first two records “Slanted & Enchanted” and “Crooked Rain Crooked Rain” held in particularly high affection.  And although on another day I could easily have chosen “Here”, “Summer Babe”, “Zurich Is Stained”, “Debris Slide”, “Frontwards”, “Unfair”, “Stereo”, “Range Life” etc etc, I’ve plumped for the laconically elegant “Gold Soundz” from 1994’s “Crooked Rain Crooked Rain”.  “Gold Soundz”’s easy-going charms are a perfect representation of Pavement’s nonchalantly relaxed appeal, but it takes a special kind of genius to make writing such great songs seem so effortless.  A delightfully warped pop tune that’s all over in just 2 minutes 40 seconds, “Gold Soundz” combines beautifully laidback melodies with frontman Steven Malkmus’ typically arch lyrics (“…and they’re coming to the chorus now…”) to winning effect, so much so that Pitchfork named it their greatest track of the 1990s.

Pavement photo

As well as their fantastic back catalogue, Pavement also have a special place for me as the first iconic US indie band that I saw really develop and grow, as many cherished US trailblazing bands like Pixies, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr broke through in the mid/late 80s, but Pavement’s early 90s ascent was perfectly timed for me.   “Gold Soundz” and “Crooked Rain Crooked Rain” bring back particularly fond memories of seeing Pavement at their peak, in smaller venues – for example when visiting a friend in Nottingham, Pavement just happened to be playing Rock City as part of the “Crooked Rain Crooked Rain” tour and so we just turned up on the night; very different to the often months ahead pre-planning needed for similar gigs in recent times (when we could still go out anyway!).

Pavement Vegas

Pavement live at Matador@21, Las Vegas, 2010

After splitting in 1999, Pavement reformed for a fairly extensive tour in 2010 and their now elevated status as bona fide indie legends was demonstrated by them selling out four nights at Brixton Academy immediately.  I managed to see them three times on their 2010 comeback tour; one night at Brixton which was a triumphant return, at the Pavement ATP Festival later that same week in May, and then at one of their final gigs as part of the Matador@21 Festival in Las Vegas, by which time the tensions within the band seemed to be showing once again.  However, when at Primavera Sound in Barcelona last summer, we were greeted by the exciting news that Pavement were reforming again for just two gigs in 2020 – at Primavera Barcelona and its sister festival in Porto.  Duly excited, this helped to make the decision to visit Primavera again this year, which has now obviously been cancelled, but I’m still hoping Pavement will play instead in 2021, when hopefully we won’t all still be “grounded”.


Pavement ATP

Ticket stub from the 2010 Pavement ATP Festival

Pavement ticket

Random Pavement ticket stub from 1997


2 thoughts on “379 to 50: #7 “Gold Soundz” by Pavement

  1. Pingback: Jumping Fences To Wichita: my 100 favourite songs | No Longer Teenage Fan Club

  2. Pingback: My top 10 albums: 2020 | No Longer Teenage Fan Club

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