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Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

January 7, 2014 at 5:31 AM

The Jicks outlive Pavement with ‘Wig Out at Jagbags’ | New recordings

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, ‘Wig Out at Jagbags’ (Matador)

When Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus began The Jicks in 2000, the specter of the indie-rocker’s old band loomed.

In time, however, the Portland-based four-piece found its own loose, noodly style. Its sixth full-length “Wig Out at Jagbags” crosses a milestone: The Jicks have outlived Pavement.

Malkmus is an unapologetic music nerd: The album’s title nods to the 1987 LP “Wig Out at Denko’s,” by emo-punks Dag Nasty, and its songs make lyrical references to Eminem, Mudhoney and the Grateful Dead.

“Lariat” is textbook Malkmus — rhyming “Tennyson” and “venison” to an elliptical melodic figure — while “Rumble at the Rainbo” distills a faux-Johnny Rotten sneer, dub-reggae bridge and mosh-worthy breakdown into 90 irreverent seconds.

Occasionally, Malkmus’ deadpan delivery balances precariously between homage and spoof — the Al Green-styled “J Smoov,” for example — and his esoteric wordplay can be difficult to parse, especially for first-timers.

Yet where Pavement’s anarchic sound offered glimpses into Malkmus’ adventurous guitar work, The Jicks’ tidier arrangements have allowed it to blossom. “Jagbags” is smart, nostalgia-free pop rock from a group that simply loves to play.

Editor’s note: The Jicks perform April 12 at the Neptune Theatre.

Other new releases

Breaklites, “I (Heart) America” (self-released)
Peter Gabriel, “Scratch My Back & I’ll Scratch Yours” (Real World)
Kid Ink, “My Own Lane” (RCA)

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: 'Wig Out at Jagbags', New Recordings, Stephen Malkmus

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