Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
Wig Out at Jagbags
Stephen Malkmus is the Loki of alternative rock. Who knows when he's being serious, ironic, scathing, etc.? All we do know is that when he sings, people listen. And the Pavement front man's latest with the Jicks is one that demands continual replays. Wig Out at Jagbags has all the fuzzy rebellion from navel-gazing one would expect from the slack maestro, plus a few cheeky surprises. (Narcoleptic jazz, anyone? Then you'll love "J Smoov.") Malkmus goes into full free association mode with "Lariat," an alt-country rambler that announces, "We lived on Tennyson and venison and the Grateful Dead." It's as though he were relating his younger, hipper years to his children, waxing poetically on what was deemed cool back in the day. The thing is, even when he's name-dropping Eminem (in the shambolic "Houston Hades") he still seems pretty cool. Time has treated his legacy (and his looks) quite well, and as an elder statesman in this '90s revival era, Malkmus still can show the kids how to do the genre right. Even if he's just taking the piss.