PERFECT SOUND FOREVER: The Story of Pavement

Rob Jovanovic, Author . Justin, Charles & Co. $19.99 (217p) ISBN 978-1-932112-07-8

Nirvana may have gotten all the hype, but for ardent indie rock fans Pavement will always be remembered as one of the best bands of the 1990s—until, after five albums and a slew of EPs in a decade, the band's leader, deadpan guitarist/vocalist Stephen Malkmus pulled the plug. From Gary Young's garage studio in Stockton, Calif., Pavement was the most unlikely candidate for rock royalty. But a combination of good timing, great songs and an underlying intelligence rare in rock catapulted the band to success at a time when lo-fi and do-it-yourself had become the defining rock ethos. Eschewing typical rock stardom, spurning commercial success and the media, the band left behind a legacy rich in lore but short on facts. True Pavement fans will already know much of the story. But Jovanovic's (Beck: On a Backwards River ) effort is still worthy for detailing some murky key points in the band's history, such as the firing of original drummer and engineer Gary Young, the making of its records and the final, dysfunctional interactions of the band and its dissolution by Malkmus. Although not terribly insightful and thoroughly uncritical, the book is still a fond retrospection. Given the paucity of information about the band, this account automatically rises to the summit. The book's quirky design, scattered with pictures and handwritten notes, can be both annoying and appreciated. With a remarkably comprehensive discography, this volume serves as a useful tool for fans unable to keep pace with the band's myriad releases. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/26/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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