March 31, 2001 |
Now that Stephen Malkmus has left indie-rock's beloved Pavement behind, the rangy songwriter and guitarist is free to make music that sounds . . . exactly like Pavement. Well, not exactly. Stephen Malkmus (Matador) has no songs by former band mate Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg, or high jinks by standing drummer Bob Nastanovich - who made an appearance at Malkmus' sold-out show at the Theatre of Living Arts on Thursday, though only as a T-shirt salesman. The CD has given its auteur the green light to play lots of fluid, angular guitar, a good idea that got out of hand at the TLA on "Church on White" and "Pink India.
March 1, 2014 |
Among the standout songs on Wig Out at Jagbags , the new album by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, is "Chartjunk," a swaggering, horn-happy 1970s-style rocker. It's an excellent example of the penchant that the former leader of '90s indie-rock avatars Pavement has for playfully indirect rhyme schemes in nonlinear songs with unconventional subject matter. He delights in the dictum that source material for compelling pop songs is anywhere you find it. In the case of "Chartjunk," the inspiration is the NBA. More specifically, it's about former Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles and point guard Brandon Jennings and the relationship between a seen-it-all, would-be mentor and a talented novice tuning out the older man's advice.
February 11, 2001 |
For a while in the '80s and '90s, the American indie-rock world was slacker heaven. It was cool for bands not to care about the details of their music or their Cup-o-Noodles existence. The lazy few with the right blend of rumpled charm and negative ambition ruled a disenfranchised underground, and their primitivist aesthetic, derived from punk, spread like a virus: Those pursuing "cred" couldn't be bothered with growing up, much less anything so banal as getting better on their instruments.
August 15, 2003 |
In 1993, when Radiohead's first hit, "Creep," ruled the airwaves, few would have bet that the British group behind that mopey slice of grunge-pop would amount to anything more than one-hit-wonder status, let alone one day be among the most popular and acclaimed acts in music. The smart money back then was on Pavement, a bunch of quirky indie rockers from Stockton, Calif., who combined post-punk noise with catchy hooks and highly literate, often inscrutable lyrics. But 10 years later, it is Thom Yorke and his crew of mopey Brits who are headlining a worldwide arena tour.
March 28, 2008 |
The title track of Real Emotional Trash, the new album from Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, begins with Malkmus, singing in his conversational voice, cryptic lines about dads on the run and abstract citizens. With its slow, asymmetrical guitar line, the song sounds like typical Malkmus, whether from a late Pavement record or one of his previous solo albums. After three minutes, however, the guitar kicks into a psychedelic solo, the tempo shifts, and we're off on a journey that ends seven minutes and several distinct parts later.
June 21, 1999 |
There are Pavement shows in which Stephen Malkmus pouts until all is lost. And there are Pavement shows in which the rickety grooves, careening guitars and grabby choruses coalesce with sufficient grandeur to argue that indie-rock's leading men are the premier guitar band of the decade. And then there are shows like the one at the Trocadero on Friday night, when the band held its la-la-las and time-signature-shifting tunes together for 90 minutes and its lanky leader seemed pleased to be in a sold- out house of "fine Philadelphians.
May 12, 1997 |
The famously moody Stephen Malkmus was in chipper spirits Saturday. And when the gangly guitarist decides to be charming, witty and engaged with his material, a Pavement show is something to behold. At the sold-out Trocadero, Malkmus stood stage left in plaid pants, kicking like a nerdy Rockette and addressing his own diffident nature with a mixture of ardor and ironic detachment. "I'm of several minds, I am the worst of my kind," he warbled on "Transport Is Arranged," just one of the brittle, melodically inventive rock songs from Pavement's fourth album, Brighten the Corners (Matador)
March 31, 2008 |
"Ah-ooo!" Stephen Malkmus said back to the whooping, sold-out Fillmore at the TLA crowd Saturday night, two songs into his 85-minute set. "Phil-lay!" enthused the Jicks bandleader. "Filet mignon; Philadelphia mignon - that's what kind of steak this town is. " Still pegged from his days leading the defunct Pavement as "the slacker prince of 1990s indie rock" (as the New York Times called him Friday), Malkmus may still exhibit the winning nonchalance that likely prompted Courtney Love to dub him "the Grace Kelly" of same last decade - but the Stockton, Calif.
September 30, 2011 |
Generation X has always seemed the embodiment of Groucho Marx's dictum about not wanting to be a member of any club that would have you. That goes double for Stephen Malkmus, Gen X's aging slacker princeling. As leader of Pavement, Malkmus spent the better part of the '90s zigging whenever his fan base zagged, and the better part of the last decade cranking out the kind of Aspergerian solo records that scare off women and try men's souls. While the pretty, wryly observed pop songs of his latest, Mirror Traffic , mark a welcome return to effortless likability, his performance with the Jicks at the TLA Wednesday night was another matter altogether.