Wowee Zowee

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Wowee Zowee
Studio album by Pavement
Released April 11, 1995
Recorded November 14–24, 1994, Easley Recording Studios, Memphis, Tennessee
February 10–14, 1995, Random Falls Studio, New York
December 2–5, 1994 and January 2–5, 1995, Speed Mix Studio[1]
Genre Indie rock
Length 55:51
Label United States Matador/Warner Bros. Records (1995)
Matador/Atlantic Records (1996)
Matador Records (1997-present)
United Kingdom Big Cat Records (1995)
Domino Records (2003)
Germany Rough Trade Records
Spain Caroline Records
Japan Pony Canyon
Australia Fellaheen Records
Producer Pavement
Pavement chronology
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
(1994)
Wowee Zowee
(1995)
Brighten the Corners
(1997)
Singles from Wowee Zowee
  1. "Rattled by the Rush"
    Released: March 1995
  2. "Father to a Sister of Thought"
    Released: June 20, 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork Media (9.3/10)[3]
Robert Christgau (A)[4]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[5]

Wowee Zowee is the third studio album by Pavement. The album showcased a more experimental and spontaneous side of the group, returning them to the clatter and unpredictability of their early recordings after the more traditional rock sound of 1994's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.

Rolling Stone speculated that the relative success of their previous album (having sold 169,000 copies by this time[citation needed]) was a reason for this album's eclectic nature; the magazine's review claimed Pavement were afraid of success. Stephen Malkmus refuted this, attributing the stylistic shift to excessive marijuana consumption.[citation needed] Rolling Stone later voted Wowee Zowee the 12th Coolest Album of all time.

Matador Records released an expanded 2 disc edition of this album under the title Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition on November 6, 2006, which featured extensive liner notes, outtakes and b-sides.[6]

Recording[edit]

The songs "Grounded," "Flux=Rad," "Pueblo," and "Kennel District" were originally written at the same time as the songs that became Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, and rough versions appear on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins disc 2.

The album was recorded at Easley Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, with the exception of some tracks recorded at Random Falls, a recording studio based in New York.

Title and cover art[edit]

Title[edit]

The album's title is an homage to former drummer Gary Young, who would frequently yell "Wowee zowee!" when excited.[7] The phrase also notably dates to Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention's 1966 album Freak Out!, which featured a track titled "Wowie Zowie".

Dick-Sucking Fool at Pussy-Licking School (conceived by Bob Nastanovich) was briefly considered as a potential album title, but discarded after being considered too risque by the rest of the band.[8] Nevertheless, the phrase is included in the album's booklet art. The would-be title was a nod to the Rolling Stones' Cocksucker Blues.[8]

Cover art[edit]

The cover art was painted by New York-based artist Steve Keene. The painting is a copy of a photograph originally found in Life Magazine's 1972 World Library title The Arab World, which depicted two sitting women, dressed in dark robes.[9] To their right stands a dark colored goat with curled horns. Omitted from Keene's copy of the photograph is a girl in a tan dress holding a baby, stationed between the two sitting women.[9] The caption below the original photo reads, "A midday rest is enjoyed by three Arab women and a goat on an arbor-shaded porch. Fellahin women often wear black robes over their other clothing."[9]

Malkmus picked the artwork from a stack of 50 or more works that Keene produced during a live painting session at one of his exhibitions.[9] Malkmus chose the piece due to its resemblance to Guru Guru's 1972 album, Känguru an album cover that he had always admired.[10]

Reception[edit]

As of 2010, the original version of Wowee Zowee had sold 129,000 copies, and the reissue had sold 32,000 copies. These numbers are a notable drop-off from their previous release, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, which sold 246,000 of the original and 75,000 of the reissue.[11]

Legacy[edit]

In 2010, author Bryan Charles wrote a book about the album as part of the 33⅓ book series, in which he interviews all members of Pavement, as well as Matador Records founders Gerard Cosloy and Chris Lombardi.

The indie rock band Boat parodied the album's cover art, among several others, on its 2011 release Dress Like Your Idols.

Jason Lytle included Pavement's "Motion Suggests" when he compiled Artist's Choice—Below the Radio, a various artists collection. That song's actual title, "Motion Suggests Itself", was incorrectly listed on Wowee Zowee due to a transcription error and was not corrected until the expanded reissue eleven years later.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Stephen Malkmus, otherwise noted.

  1. "We Dance" – 3:01
  2. "Rattled by the Rush" – 4:16
  3. "Black Out" – 2:10
  4. "Brinx Job" – 1:31
  5. "Grounded" – 4:14
  6. "Serpentine Pad" – 1:16
  7. "Motion Suggests" – 3:15
  8. "Father to a Sister of Thought" – 3:30
  9. "Extradition" – 2:12
  10. "Best Friend's Arm" – 2:19
  11. "Grave Architecture" – 4:16
  12. "AT&T" – 3:32
  13. "Flux = Rad" – 1:45
  14. "Fight This Generation" – 4:22
  15. "Kennel District" – 2:59 (Scott Kannberg)
  16. "Pueblo" – 3:25
  17. "Half a Canyon" – 6:10
  18. "Western Homes" – 1:49 (Scott Kannberg)

An extended version of the album was released on 2008 with previously unreleased material

Personnel[edit]

  • Stephen Malkmus: Vocals, Guitar
  • Bob Nastanovich: Percussion, Vocals
  • Scott Kannberg: Vocals, Guitar
  • Steve West: Drums, Percussion
  • Mark Ibold: Bass
  • Doug Easley: Pedal steel guitar ("Father to a Sister of Thought")[1]
  • Sibel Firat: Cello ("Fight This Generation")[1]
  • Engineered by Doug Easley, Davis McCain and Mark Venezia[1]
  • Mixed by Bryce Goggin, Jan BL, Stephen Malkmus and Rich Costey[1]
  • Mastered by Gregory Hull[1]
Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition
Compilation album by Pavement
Released November 7, 2006
Recorded March 3, 1994 to
March 15, 1995
Genre Indie rock
Length 156:15
Label Matador Records
Pavement chronology
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins
(2004)
Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition
(2006)
Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition
(2008)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Blender 5/5 stars [1]
Pitchfork Media (9.3/10) link
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars link
Stylus Magazine (A+) link

Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition[edit]

Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition is a two CD compilation album by Pavement released on November 7, 2006. It contains Wowee Zowee in its entirety, as well as 32 of the band's other songs from that era, 18 of which were previously unreleased.

Matador Records offered extra items to people who pre-ordered the reissue. Those who chose to pre-order the album received a code redeemable on the Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition website for a rare recording of a live Pavement show at the Palace in Los Angeles on April 21, 1994. Also included in the pre-order deal was a free 7" record which included previously unreleased studio versions of the songs "Black Out" and "Extradition" and a poster based on a painting that artist Steve Keene originally contributed for the original release of Wowee Zowee in 1995.

The track "Motion Suggests Itself" was mistitled on the original release by the omission of its title's final word due to a transcription error. The Sordid Sentinels Edition finally rectified this mistake.

A different version of "Easily Fooled" appeared on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins as "The Sutcliffe Catering Song". Also, an early version of "Brink of the Clouds" with an intro and outro appeared on the same album.

Track listing[edit]

Disc One[edit]

Wowee Zowee
1. "We Dance"
2. "Rattled by the Rush"
3. "Black Out"
4. "Brinx Job"
5. "Grounded"
6. "Serpentine Pad"
7. "Motion Suggests Itself"
8. "Father to a Sister of Thought"
9. "Extradition"
10. "Best Friend’s Arm"
11. "Grave Architecture"
12. "AT&T"
13. "Flux = Rad"
14. "Fight This Generation"
15. "Kennel District"
16. "Pueblo"
17. "Half a Canyon"
18. "Western Homes"
Wowee Zowee session outtake
19. "Sordid"
Rattled by la Rush EP
20. "Brink of the Clouds"
21. "False Skorpion"
22. "Easily Fooled"
"Father to a Sister of Thought" single
23. "Kris Kraft"
24. "Mussle Rock (Is a Horse in Transition)"
Pacific Trim EP
25. "Give It a Day"
26. "Gangsters & Pranksters"
27. "Saganaw"
28. "I Love Perth"
Wowee Zowee session outtake
29. "Sentinel"

Disc Two[edit]

I Shot Andy Warhol soundtrack
1. "Sensitive Euro Man"
Wowee Zowee session outtake
2. "Stray Fire"
Recorded March 3, 1994 at Hilversum, Netherlands
3. "Fight This Generation"
4. "Easily Fooled"
Wowee Zowee session with Doug Easley on piano
5. "Soul Food"
Homage to Descendents tribute album
6. "It’s a Hectic World"
Steve Lamacq Evening Session (March 15, 1995)
7. "Kris Kraft"
8. "Golden Boys/Serpentine Pad"
9. "Painted Soldiers"
10. "I Love Perth"
Medusa Cyclone/Pavement split 7"
11. "Dancing with the Elders"
Recorded live at Wireless JJJ Radio in Australia (July 7, 1994)
12. "Half a Canyon"
13. "Best Friend’s Arm"
14. "Brink of the Clouds/Candylad"
15. "Unfair"
16. "Easily Fooled"
17. "Heaven Is a Truck"
18. "Box Elder"
Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks compilation
19. "No More Kings"
Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy soundtrack
20. "Painted Soldiers"
Wowee Zowee session outtake
21. "We Dance" (alternate mix)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Pavement – Wowee Zowee". discogs.com. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pavement: Wowee Zowee" at AllMusic. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  3. ^ Richardson, Mark (6 November 2006). "Pavement: Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition". Pitchfork Media. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Pavement". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Kemp, Mark (2 February 1998). "Pavement: Wowee Zowee". Rolling Stone. 
  6. ^ http://www.matadorrecords.com/pavement/
  7. ^ KEXP article: "33 1/3 Odyssey: Wowee Zowee by Bryan Charles."
  8. ^ a b 33 1/3 Series: Wowee Zowee by Bryan Charles, 2010. P. 128.
  9. ^ a b c d 33 1/3 Series: Wowee Zowee by Bryan Charles, 2010. P. 123-124.
  10. ^ 33 1/3 Series: Wowee Zowee by Bryan Charles, 2010. P. 127-128.
  11. ^ 33 1/3 Series: Wowee Zowee by Bryan Charles, 2010. P. 141.