Monday, January 20, 2014

The Rails

I shudder to think how long I could have gone not knowing that Richard and Linda Thompson have a daughter. Related: Richard Thompson - Acoustic Classics
Richard Thompson - Electric

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Wig Out at Jagbags

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks at the Transit Bar was the kind of intimate show you don't see very often from someone that recognisable. Performance wise, the Pavement reunion show I'd seen a couple of years earlier was leagues ahead, but although the Jicks can't boast anything approaching Pavement's legendary canon, it was great to stand a few feet away from Malkmus in a venue the size of a shoe box, request "Discretion Grove" and have him say "we can sort of play that one. If it sounds bad, blame this guy."

"Discretion Grove" didn't sound bad, and going by the fact that I didn't get lynched on the way back to my car, the rest of the audience agreed. But then that song, from Malkmus's first album with the Jicks back in 2001, is a pretty straight forward rocker and not indicative of the rhythmic flourishes and circuitous guitar playing he favors now. Those things were in abundance that night, 2011's Mirror Traffic comprising most of the set along with at least three songs destined for Jagbags. Malkmus rightly disliked Pavement's slacker reputation, as the often unhurried nature of their songs and Malkmus's ability to "project uncaring", as David Berman put it, obscured the meticulousness of their construction. Jicks songs are even more meticulous, yet sound even more free spirited in spite of it.

Wig Out at Jagbags is Malkmus's sixth solo/Jicks/whatever you want to call it album, making it one more album than he recorded with Pavement. It's taken almost twice as long to record those six as Pavement their five, but it's understandable that Malkmus is not in a hurry at this point in his career. This is turning out to be more concert review than album review, but listening to Wig Out at Jagbags drives home the point that the Jicks are better live than on record. If you haven't seen a Jicks show, listening to it will make you wish you had. If you have, it'll make you wish you were at one. At just over 40 minutes, the album does its thing and fucks off before it has a chance for redundancy. It's low stakes fun and not unwelcome, even if it's not what I used to associate with its principle creator.

Sex, War & Robots