Some of the best songs on The Secret History, Vol. 1 come from the summer of ’92, when the band went to London to appear on John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show. Songs like the moody ballad “Secret Knowledge of Backroads” (which later appeared on a Silver Jews EP) and the Pixies-esque “Circa 1762” show a songwriter who was already restless to roam past Slanted. “My mind was like, ‘Let’s just mess around in here and make something new that’s not been done before,’” [singer Stephen] Malkmus says. “And that’s what we did.”
Nastanovich recalls the creative process in Pavement at the time: “To keep from getting bored, Stephen would always be making up songs in soundchecks. A lot of those ideas just came from him having a really active mind and loving to play guitar, so when we were put in those impromptu situations, he was ready to fire something out. Some of it is pretty good, and some of it’s eminently discardable.”
—Simon Vozick-Levinson writing in Rolling Stone about the release of rare music recorded during the formative years of one of the 1990s’ most beloved indie bands: Pavement.