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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Listen to Oakland's Grand Lake Cover Pavement's 'In The Mouth of a Desert'

Posted By on Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 1:05 PM

File this under bizarre: Oakland's Grand Lake have just covered the classic Pavement tune "In the Mouth of a Desert." So how does it sound? At first listen: weird. Second listen: very weird. Frontman Caleb Nichols tweaks Malkmus' lines in a nasally vocal spray over a persistent, distorted drum-machine beat that feels too fast for the song. Some clean electric guitar noodles blithely on the far side of the room, and a second vocal track copies the spoken "it's what I want" from the original's chorus. But the drama isn't there. The problem with covering bands like Pavement is that its songs only hung together in the first place through the original members' irreplaceable alchemy. The slight drag of drummer Gary Young's stickwork and the lonesome burble of Mark Ibold's bass gives the original a complex, ominous feel. And like Lou Reed, Malkmus' sing-speak voice is all his own -- it makes even capable imitators sound obvious. But that's what our ears say. Tell us what you think in the comments. Or, go see Grand Lake tonight at Milk Bar, where they might even do "In the Mouth of a Desert" live.

MP3: Grand Lake -- "In the Mouth of a Desert"

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Ian S. Port


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