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Get Wowee Zowee'd tomorrow with 33 1/3 author Bryan Charles

Remember when Pavement dropped Wowee Zowee in 1995?

On the heels of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, the band was on the fast track to indie lore, having sold a remarkable 300,000 copies in the now-foreign music landscape of the 1990s. A short year later, Wowee Zowee was released, glaringly devoid of the rhythmic pop sensibilities that defined Crooked Rain. In place of cohesive jams like "Range Life" and "Cut Your Hair" was a collection of 18 scattershot tunes that more resembled a collection of B-sides than the end result of a single studio session. Reviews were mixed, and fringe fans were unsatisfied. (Full disclosure: I was actually 8 when the album came out and, in fact, do not remember much from that year. But trust me, this is how it happened.)

For installment #72 of Continuum Books' 33 1/3 series, novelist Bryan Charles has written about this murky reception and the album itself, which has since rightfully risen to cult status among Pavement diehards. To provide an overview, Charles conducted interviews with all five band members, label reps, studio engineers, and even cover artist Steve Keene. Past 33 1/3 books have taken on a breadth of classics, from ABBA Gold to Slayer's Reign in Blood, in a variety of different approaches, from personalizing the music to tying in historical milestones. Here, Charles chooses to focus on unveiling the band's psyche during this weighty turning point of their now-illustrious career -- taking us from the early creative stages to the wake of post-release kickback. (Considering Pavement's recent reunion 10 years after their breakup, with a summer tour on the horizon, this book couldn't be coming out at a better time.)

Tomorrow night, Charles will stop by the Brookline Booksmith at 7pm to read excerpts from Wowee Zowee and presumably discuss his personal affinity for the album that drove him to pen the 160-page homage. The book's release date is listed as May 3 on Amazon, but I'm assuming those in attendance will be able to procure a copy, as book signing is also advertised on the bill.

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