Gold Soundz

"Go back to those gold soundz
And keep my advent to yourself
Because it's nothing that I don't like
Is it a crisis or a boring change
When it's central, so essential
It has a nice ring when you laugh
At the low-life opinions
And they're coming to the chorus now

I keep my address to yourself
Cause we need secrets [...]"
{Pavement, Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, 1994}

Amidst early 20s uncertainties, some real some self-created, I saw this group play a concert at the Ritz theater in Ybor City, Tampa while they were touring for the above album. It was a psychedelic evening that I watched from a ledge at the back wall of the theater (semi-cliched attempts at Romantic excess). I had run into H. earlier in the hallway and he had mentioned how very few people can just come up with a poetic masterpiece in one stroke, "Unless, of course, you're Rimbaud!" he shouted over the noise as we parted.

A guitar edge, maybe zeitgeist, glimsped through these soundz that I only heard in one other place, Sonic Youth when they played on campus a few months earlier. Their ragged collage of bass & 2 guitars a digital wall of shredded noise & endless meditation. Maybe, also glimpsed during The Pixies' concert (their last tour) around the same time.

Overall, I think of the early 1990s as a dark period, maybe a preface to our current dread. The 1992 uprising in Los Angeles set the tone for my education at college, mid-way through my studies. River Phoenix's death around that time was another tragedy I found much too sad to bear. That night, Pavement proved my friend J. at Naropa right. She had told me, the summer before, how "some people consider Pavement as poets." Their bratty, feedback-filtered, Ashbery imitations were cavernous in the old Ritz theater, guitar drones & waves of pulsing light, etc.

In the documentary Slow Century there's footage of them taken from this same tour in the spring of 1994, when they played in Athens, GA. There's a rare moment of this "magic" captured on a video taken from the crowd of Malkmus & co. desperately intoning: "Fight this generation!" while loping into a sharp, apocalyptic guitar staccato that fills the entire club. So it was on that evening in Ybor City. Only ten years ago and already a distant country.

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