The music video for Pavement’s “Cut Your Hair,” released in 1994, remains a ridiculous romp. In it, the gang pays a visit to the barbershop, each member costumed in their own low-budget getup—Scott Kannberg in a gorilla suit, Stephen Malkmus crowned a weepy king. It’s both utterly pointless and splendidly on-brand for the most chilled-out players in ’90s indie-rock. “Cut Your Hair” is a bad music video, but that’s why it’s so great. Pavement made indifference look impossibly cool.
Today, the album that elevated Pavement to a new level of slacker-rock stardom is turning 25. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain arrived on Feb. 14, 1994, and alternative rock arguably hasn’t been the same since. The band’s more jittery debut, Slanted & Enchanted, dropped two years earlier in 1992, but it was Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain—a record they made in some guy’s NYC apartment-slash-studio—that broke the band. MTV played their awful music videos; people fell hard for their affably effortless songs like the aforementioned “Cut Your Hair,” the mindlessly nostalgic “Gold Soundz” (which Rob Harvilla at The Ringer so perfectly honored this morning) and the quasi-country banger “Range Life.” Pavement had arrived.
After the band’s eventual break-up, but before their 2010 reunion, Malkmus went out on his own and started making music with his other band, The Jicks, plus a few solo endeavors. Back in 2009, Paste played witness to a Malkmus solo show at the Great American Music Hall, where he played Pavement classics including Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain cuts like “Range Life” and “Heaven Is A Truck.” Malkmus appears as gloriously unbothered as ever.
Malkmus & the Jicks also released an album in 2018, the pleasantly punchy Sparkle Hard. Read the Paste review here.
For another take on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, read this “Guilty Non-Pleasures” column from last year. Read our 2018 interview with Malkmus right here.
Watch the full Stephen Malkmus concert circa 2009 below.