From the ping-ponging opening of "Stereo" through the icy dread of the final moments of the funereal "Fin," we were transported. Some context is important here: our initial assessment of Pavement's prior set Wowee Zowee was not entirely favorable, as at the time -- a time largely spent worshipping Seam, Superchunk and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain -- we found Pavement's third full-length to be (we'll borrow a comment from a professor's assessment of a contemporanous paper authored by a former housemate here) "willfully obfuscating." Which is to say we found it to be self-consciously jammy and difficult just for difficulty's sake. We've since come to grips with the genius of Wowee Zowee. But the embrace of the relatively straight-forward Brighten The Corners was immediate and welcoming. We we're instantly blown away by "Stereo" and "Shady Lane," and both tracks remain a favorite in the Clicky Clicky household. But most of all we recall sitting on that bunk and listening to "Fin" wash over us with wave after wave, guitar solo after guitar solo, those haunted backing vocals riding low in the mix, and everything receding into that long, inevitable march to the fadeout. It sounded like the end of everything. In a very good way.
Matador Records reissues Brighten The Corners in an expanded, remastered, double-disc edition Dec. 9. The second disc may be our favorite of all the second discs of the Matador Pavement reissues. Miraculously, the label is running a promotion right now whereby you can purchase all four expanded Pavement reissues for $50. This is an absurdly good deal. Here is the link. If, like us, you already had the previous reissues, you can purchase just the Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition from Matador right here. Earlier this fall Matador made available its Intended Play Fall 2008 sampler of free MP3s, which included the very fun Brighten The Corners outtake "Cataracts," which we're posting below.
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[buy the reissue from Matador right here]