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CD REVIEWS

An occasional update of music releases

POP/ROCK. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. (Matador): Pavement crafts garage-pop that vacillates between the folksy langor of the Velvet Underground and the anguished spunk of The Fall. But 1960s and '70s influences aside, this California band puts down a signature all its own: simple, soulful melodies that splinter off into loose and warped meanderings. On this second album, the group creeps closer to earthly concerns: the decadence of California, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Slyness and self-awareness make it all memorable. Adding to the fun are ooh-la-la choruses and a parade of weird sound effects.