Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks

CREDIT: Giovanni Duca/Courtesy of the artist

Needless to say that Stephen Malkmus doesn’t need HearYa’s stamp of approval but I’m here to say that I’m loving what I’m hearing from the his new album. Sparkle Hard is out on May 18th and I have to say this is my favorite stuff of theirs since Real Emotional Trash.

Malkmus started writing Sparkle Hard in 2015. He’d upgraded his home-recording equipment and bought some electronic drums and had been working on the Netflix series Flaked (he penned the incidental music and the end theme song). Demos were done in one day in April of 2017 and then in May, The Jicks started recording at a new studio in Portland called Halfling, which is managed by multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk of The Decemberists, who produced the album.

Self-indulgent escapism has never been The Jicks’ bag, but on Sparkle Hard, the reality of modern life sits closer to the surface, communication cutting to the chase whether it’s a proto-punk grind or a back-porch country duet doing the talking. A cleaner burn for dark and complex times.

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Stephen Malkmus is here

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malkmusI am in a fantasy hoops league and currently reside in second place with Kobe holding up my team. Every fantasy hoops aficionado should read Rotoworld, a site for news, rankings, projections and commentary on sports and fantasy leagues.‚  The site is championed by good friend of HearYa, Steve Alexander (aka Doctor A).

Doctor A also plays in a hoops league with a number of musicians including Stephen Malkmus, Janet Weiss (drummer formerly with Sleater-Kinney, now with Malkmus and the Jicks), Bo Koster (Keyboardist in My Morning Jacket) and others. Doc A’s worlds are colliding and he started posting interviews with musicians – his first is an interview Stephen Malkmus.

After reading this, I found many similarities between Malkmus and myself. We’re both fantasy dorks. We both have kids. We both read Rotoworld. Other than the few genre-defining albums he made, we’re almost identical. Who knew?

Here are a few excerpts.

On Phoenix Suns Guard, Matt Barnes:

Barnes is the epitome of punk in today’s NBA. No more Laimbeers.

On the music he’s listening to:

Crushed Butler. Seriously, this band is sick, and not just because of the Caron Butler reference.

On hearing more and more indie music in television commercials:

No problems – to each his own. Gotta put bread on the table, within reason. It’s like owning Kobe. Sometimes you gotta do it.

On the best live act right now:

Endless Boogie.

And Doc A chimes in with his top 10 Malkmus songs.

10. Gardenia – Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
9. Spit on a Stranger – Pavement
8. Greenlander – Pavement
7. Pink India – Stephen Malkmus
6. Gold Soundz – Pavement
5. Zurich Is Stained – Pavement
4. Summer Babe – Pavement
3. Box Elder – Pavement
2. Frontwards – Pavement
1. Here – Pavement

Feel free to comment with your favorite Malkmus tunes and click here to read the rest of the interview. Here are two from his most recent album Real Emotional Trash.

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks – Cold Son

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks – Baltimore