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Published: 2014/03/11
by Ron Hart

Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks
Wig Out at Jagbags
Matador

Stephen Malkmus performing CAN’s motor-psych masterpiece Ege Baymiasi and then putting it out as a Record Store Day exclusive last year was no random act of coolness.

The fearless leader of the recently reunited Pavement has been living in Berlin with his family for the last couple of years (though they have just moved back stateside, returning to the Pacific Northwest area), so a copious absorption of Krautrock was nothing less but directly in the cards. And though Malkmus cites the storied Deutschland metropolis of Cologne—the Liverpool of experimental German rock—as the primary inspiration for his latest album with longtime band The Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags is arguably the catchiest and most traditional pop recording he has created since his self-titled debut back in 2000.

Working inside of a Belgium farmhouse with Remko Schouten, Pavement’s regular live soundman, a portion of these dozen new tracks, granted, to veer off into Gas territory on the Wowee Zowee -esque “Independent Street” and the jagged “Shibboleth”. But its sing-alongs like “Surreal Teenagers”, “Cinnamon and Lesbians” and the horn-and-strings-assisted “J Smoov”—quite possibly Malkmus’s finest song of his solo years—that truly makes this such a wonderment of a listen.

With songs about tripping face at breakfast time, Mudhoney summers and the joys of family life, Wig Out at Jagbags is a prime portrait of an artist settling comfortably into elder statesmanship while expertly keeping his trademark style of songcraft at an all-time high.

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