PAVEMENT: Perfect Sound Forever (10″, Drag City DC004, 1990)

Pavement - Perfect Sound Forever

This record was something of a holy grail to me for some years, before I finally snagged a copy (for a very reasonable price, too) around five years ago on eBay. I was fully conversant with the tracks on the record for a long time in advance of my purchasing it, because of a tape made for me shortly after its release, by a guy called Adam who I used to correspond with. Adam was in a micro-indie band called The Losers, and very good they were too. They once released a split single with Action Painting! that I remember enjoying very much; not least because it came packaged within a folded sheet of stripey wallpaper. Adam made me several tapes, and one of them had the entirety of Perfect Sound Forever on it, and I loved it. Home taping was, in this instance, not killing music, but exposing it to somebody that had no idea that such music existed. Admittedly, I didn’t rush out and buy the record. I listened to this taped version over and over and over many times. But hey – you can’t have everything.

I saw Pavement play what I guess must have been a short time after the release of this record. It was at a venue called The Hummingbird in Birmingham, and they were supporting Sonic Youth along with another band called Cell. Sonic Youth, obviously, were spectacular that night: partly because they were playing songs from the recently-released Goo, partly because I was somewhat chemically altered for the evening. My memory of Pavement extends not much further than briefly meeting their original drummer, whose name escapes me, as he stalked amongst the crowd before their set, hanging out a single jigsaw piece to each audience member. Our conversation went thus (me, then him):

What’s this for?

It’s for fun.

I couldn’t argue with his logic. It was fun, and I still have that jigsaw piece somewhere.

Anyway: this 10″ record is a slab of perfection, and I consider it to be one of Pavement’s finest moments. There have, admittedly, been many fine Pavement moments, but this record encapsulates their errant shambolitude, and how it aligns perfectly with their innate sense of melody and enjoyment.

(Turntable update, for those who are following this: on Thursday evening I’m picking up a temporary replacement for my dear departed old turntable. A kind offer from my friend Mark, which is very much appreciated. So from Friday onwards, I’m back in the land of the living – the land of vinyl).

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