Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Wig Out At Jagbags”


“We were raised on Tennyson and venison and the Grateful Dead”

Stephen Malkmus’ latest outing with
his Jicks melds two disparate eras
together: the slacker-punk ideals of
the 1990s that his old band Pavement
helped to create, and the rambling
stoner-rock of the 1970s, namely the
Grateful Dead. Indeed, the Dead are
name-checked in “Lariat” and their
spirit becomes obvious by the time you
get down to “Cinnamon and Lesbians”.
There’s a free-wheeling vibe to the
album that is charming and tempered
well by the squalling guitar that is
laced throughout. Taken alongside
last year’s Deerhunter outing (another
album comfortingly anchored in
Seventies stoner rock) one wonders if
the Dead are finally due for their
indie embrace. The original hippies
are beginning the Long Great Dropoff
and if any band was ripe for a
reclaimation of legacy it would be one
obsessed with its own indulgence.

That’s not to say that Wig Out at
Jagbags is that sea-change album, but
it does point in a certain direction.
Malkmus, though, can’t help but be
rooted in slacker-indie rock. He’s put
out more albums with the Jicks than he
had with Pavement, and his new band
takes on new ideas and directions that
his old band’s oddly conservative
experimentalism would never have
allowed for, but the ghost of Crooked
Rain, Crooked Rain still lingers. It
finds it’s own cool groove, though,
and ends up being much more fun for

Score:  B+

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