There was one fateful day in my life when Pavement stopped being cool to me – May 24th, 2014. It was when between four dot ellipses Josh Pyke compared that one Courtney Barnett song to Pavement in an interview the pair did for Happy. It was a real cereal spitting – double take moment as those fateful words ‘….are you into pavement at all???‘ stared at me from my screen, forcing me to rethink everything I had known about music.
It dawned on me that we live in a climate where Pavement have become a universal symbol, an icon, a pan-musical entity. Drop the name Malkmus and it will undoubtedly have some connection to any indie music made today. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain has joined In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and Loveless in the hall of overused reference points.
Shady Lane by the legendary Pavement gets a gazed out reworking from Cull.
As if to bring my newfound irreverence for Pavement full circle, last Friday saw Sydney psych band Cull release a completely self-destructive cover of Shady Lane off Brighten The Corners. It wouldn’t surprise me if Cull had known of Pavement’s entry level, white-girl hipster garbage status for a while now, those dudes seem to be pretty ahead of the curve.
Yet for a band whose sound is built on producing a large number of decibels over an even longer space of time, there rises the potential problem of drowning out Malkmus’s particular lyrical content. I mean, we still gotta respect all that Malko has done.
Ironically, the song is around about double the length of the original, yet a whole verse from the Pavement version seems to be missing (classic psych bands). Like I said before, the vocals have inevitably taken a step back in the Cull version, but follow the same vocal melody are prominent enough for fans of Pavement to recognise and mouth along to.
What takes the front seat is (of course) the disjointed noise guitar, which actually manages to sound a lot more Pavement-y than you’d expect. The pitched lead seems a little wonky and Ly’s calm, breathy vocals don’t fall far from that instantly recognisable late 90’s whine. Make no mistake though, this song is branded with the volume and strange reverse head swirl of a Cull song.
If you’re a fan of Pavement (like old mate Pykey), then give this little number a spin. Cull’s Shady Lane is out now via Bandcamp as a free download. Make sure to catch the band at Splinter alongside Roku Music and Narrow Lands and again at Brighton Up Bar’s 2nd Birthday.
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