Tuesday 22 Jul

Chevy cruisin’

Chevy Woods with Kevin Gates & more
9 p.m. Sunday 
Vibe Night Club 
227 SW 25th St. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Rock steady

7 p.m. Saturday
Frontier City
11501 N. Interstate 35 Service Road 
Free with park admission 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Narrative verse

L.T.Z. with Jabee, Frank Black & more
8 p.m. Saturday
The Conservatory 
8911 N. Western Ave. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Dancing in the Twilight

Sunday Twilight Concert Series with The Wurly Birds
7:30 p.m. Sunday
Myriad Botanical Gardens 
301 W. Reno Ave. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Next big thing

As far as songs go, few prove as challenging to sing as our national anthem.

It’s a technically demanding tune from first note to last, to be sure, beginning with a low bellow that quickly soars toward star-punching high notes, eventually swelling to a show-stopping crescendo that even the most seasoned performer can have trouble mastering.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Indie · Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks...

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks — Mirror Traffic

Pavement legend still plenty feisty.

Matt Carney August 3rd, 2011

So what happens when you pair a couple of 1990s indie legends, setting the one known for bizarro, folky hip-hop at the control panel, and the one who famously dissed Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots behind the microphone?


If you answered with “an improvement on Malkmus’ last effort flashing some of his funniest, snarkiest songwriting to date,” then you’re correct. Beck effectively tossed out the Jicks’ 2008 LP, “Real Emotional Trash,” replacing an album constituted of skilled, but too-far-extended guitar jams with one that paces more like Pavement’s “Wowee Zowee,” and draws influence from a healthy variety of sources.

And of course, Malkmus’ satire ranks with his finest, most irreverent Pavement lines: “I know what the senator wants / What the senator wants is a blow job!” he declares on “Senator,” before suggesting the establishment “cattle-prod the working classes.”

“Spazz” lives up to its name structurally, at first fancying itself a middle-school punk song before slipping into a shortened jangle-jam shadowed by some funny aural vocal work (this seems more Beck’s doing than Malkmus’ to me) and finally returning to whence it came.

While “Real Emotional Trash” featured a whole cast of characters, each with his or her own lengthy “Marquee Moon”-inspired soliloquy, “Mirror Traffic” keeps things simpler, often building around a single clever lyric (see: “Long, Hard Book”) or else stringing a bunch of them together to facilitate an indie guitar jam circa 1994 (“Forever 28”).

“Brain Gallop” opens up at a trot, ambling along at a delightful, relaxed country tune pace before picking up speed, lazing around again, repeating the process, and finally resulting in the kind of guitar work Tom Verlaine had in mind when he recorded “Marquee Moon.”

“Asking Price” keeps things vague with potshots at the Internet (“revel in the disconnect”), while “Tune Grief” serves as the delightful teenage country-punk shouter.

“Mirror Traffic” is guaranteed to have at least something for everybody who’s ever cared about Stephen Malkmus. The only problem is that once you hear it, it’s replaced by something else that’s mostly different. Or maybe you’re into that kind of thing.—Matt Carney
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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