Indie-rockers Pavement pay tribute to a couple of influences on
Major Leagues, a seven-song EP released Tuesday (Oct. 12).
In addition to three previously unreleased Pavement songs and two
versions of the title track originally released on Terror
Twilight (1999) Major Leagues includes covers of
"The Classical" by British post-punk band the Fall and "Killing Moon"
by new-wave group Echo and the Bunnymen.
"They were just a big influence on us in the '80s," guitarist Scott
"Spiral Stairs" Kannberg said in September of Echo and the Bunnymen,
who reunited in 1997 after a nearly 10-year break. "I think they were
definitely one of the coolest bands. They're big heroes of ours. I
just met [Echo and the Bunnymen singer] Ian McCulloch for the first
time a couple weeks ago, and it was a big thrill."
Pavement have included both of the covers in their live shows.
"We had been playing ['The Classical'] live for a year," Kannberg, 32,
said. "It was an easy song to play."
Major Leagues is the second EP Pavement have released with a
single from Terror Twilight and extra tracks. Spit on a
Stranger, released June 22, two weeks after the album, featured
the album's lead track along with four previously unreleased originals.
Kannberg, speaking before Pavement's headlining set at a Matador
Records 10th-anniversary show Sept. 24 in New York, said the EPs are
partly the label's attempt to undermine bootleggers.
"We just kind of crammed all these other songs on it because in England
they're putting out these different formats," he said. "Matador doesn't
want imports to come in and stuff."
The EP features a radio edit and demo version of "Major Leagues"
excerpt of original version), a lush pop ballad with melodic
guitar and delicate rhythm work by bassist Mark Ibold and drummer Bob
Kannberg wrote two of the three previously unissued Pavement songs on
Major Leagues "Your Time to Change" and "Stub Your Toe."
Pavement have been playing those songs and "Decouvert de Soleil" in
concert for years.
Pavement formed in Stockton, Calif., and won immediate critical acclaim
with their debut album, Slanted and Enchanted (1992). They have
continued to collect kudos for such albums as Wowee Zowee (1995)
and Brighten the Corners (1997).
Pavement's principal songwriter, Stephen Malkmus, said before
Terror Twilight came out that he tapped into deep emotions
while making the album.
"We have no complaints or bitterness or disappointment," he said.
"Personal disappointment that's an emotion that you can tap
into and that has resonance in a certain kind of soul. And we're
trying to be a soulful band as much as you can be, being relatively
privileged suburban kids and stuff."