Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks Wig Out at Jagbags (Domino) ⋆⋆⋆⋆
“We lived on Tennyson and venison and The Grateful Dead,” sings Stephen Malkmus on Lariat, the flagship single from him and The Jicks’ sixth album. Wig Out at Jagbags is another frisky exercise in wordplay, with curious yet invitingly titled songs such as The Janitor Revealed and Surreal Teenagers. Still best known for his vocals and guitar work with the indie trailblazers Pavement, Malkmus relocated to Berlin from Portland, Oregon, shortly after the release of The Jicks’ last album, 2011’s Mirror Traffic. Despite keen patronage of the requisite Berlin clubs, he soon realised that the city’s vibrant electronica scene was “somebody else’s game”. No novice dabblings in Schranz Techno here, then. Instead, our host channels trademark slacker-guitar histrionics to fine effect on Planetary Motion, fesses up to being an indie guy trying to sound Memphis on the superb, sleepy, brass-imbued J Smoov, and pokes fun at regrouped, middle-aged punk bands – “no new material, just cowboy boots” – on Rumble at the Rainbo. A skewed hotchpotch delivered with Malkmus’s usual vim and panache.
* James McNair
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