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Wig Out at Jagbags

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

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Album Review

The title is quintessentially Stephen Malkmus — a conflation of two slang terms, one dating back to the hazed-out '60s, the other a vulgar remnant of modernity — and, as it happens, Wig Out at Jagbags also sounds quintessentially Malkmusian. It's elastic guitar rock constructed partially out of cannabis guitar jams and partially out of punk rock squalls, both sides distinguished by wry melodicism and dexterous wordplay, not to mention Malkmus' lingering tendency to hide his accessible inclinations under sheets of six-strings. On 2011's Mirror Traffic, producer Beck prevented the Jicks from taking detours, but here the band is producing on its own, assisted by Remko Schouten, so they're free to follow wherever their whims may take them. In the past, the untrammeled Jicks usually pursued one of their twin obsessions — either riding out a cool, non-funky groove or opening up the skies with guitars, ideally blending the two — but here, there's a distinct mellowing as the forays into psychedelia and noise skronk are tempered as Malkmus once again finds fascination in colorful, swaying pop. Often, this takes the form of updated latter-day Pavement — the sing-song "Lariat" and "Cinnamon and Lesbians" find their roots in Brighten the Corners — but no matter if Malkmus is singing about "music from the Best Decade Ever," there's no sense of nostalgia here, no suspicion that he'd rather be playing with a reunited Pavement than the Jicks, perhaps because Wig Out at Jagbags — the first album he's recorded since reuniting with his '90s band in 2010; it's the also the first without Janet Weiss, who left in 2010 to play with Wild Flag and has been replaced by Jake Morris — is nimble in a way Malkmus has rarely been. As the Jicks trim their improvisations, they retain a mischievous spirit — witness the cheery horn stabs of "Chartjunk," which swaggers like prime crossover Spoon and thereby raises the question of whether the song is a piss-take — which means that even if Wig Out at Jagbags is quieter than, say, 2008's churning Real Emotional Trash, it feels looser than most of the Jicks records; the compositions are tight but the attitude is ragged, which winds up being more infectious and fun than albums where the songs drift but the instruments are tight.

Customer Reviews

Wig out at Jagbags

Quoting Ludovic Hunter-Tilney (the FT) "there's the right ratio of smirking to seriousness" here. No one can doubt with Malkmus's 6th album that pavement was his baby. Long live the "slacker icon."

Musical genius

Tight but with a relaxed feel, can't help but think this is gonna sound amazing in the summer! I didn't think they could get better tha Mirror Traffic but guy 'n' girls you've done it. A masterpiece! Thank you.

Malkmus

Malkmus has been a part of my music life for 22 years now. Firstly with Pavement and then the natural progression with The Jicks. I was getting a little tired of some of Jicks albums where for me they only had 3 or 4 great tracks on them, they rest i could take or leave.
His previous effort "Mirror Traffic" was a wonderful album. Pretty much every track was excellent in my eyes.
I had high hopes for Jagbags. And although i would not rate it as highly as "Mirror Traffic" it is still a great album. Stand out tracks are "Lariat", "J Smoov" and "Chartjunk".

Biography

Born: 30 May 1966 in Santa Monica, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After Pavement announced they were going on hiatus at the end of 1999, the status of one of America's finest indie rock bands was a mystery for the first half of 2000. It became clearer that summer, however, when it was revealed that both singer/songwriter/guitarists Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg were preparing solo albums. Malkmus was particularly busy during that time, performing new songs with Kim's Bedroom — a one-off group that also included Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Jim O'Rourke...
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Wig Out at Jagbags, Stephen Malkmus
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