The New Classic
So how does Generation X go about, like, getting old?
The singer in itchy, sardonic post-grunge art-rockers Pavement, the young Stephen Malkmus was a slacker icon incarnate. Two decades on, 47 years old and releasing his sixth post-Pavement album, how is he surviving middle age?
The answer appears to be by pretending that it is not happening. Twitchy, angular and laconic, Wig Out At Jagbags is a record that implies that within Malkmus’s seasoned exterior still lurks a fresh-faced teenager trying to get out. Had Pavement released this album in 1996, nobody would have batted an eyelid.
Musically and lyrically, Wig Out At Jagbags is a smartass record that regards the world with an aging hipster’s condescension. The staccato opening track Planetary Motion unfolds under a welter of collapsing riffs and bizarre time signatures that can only be defined as lo-fi prog rock.
Malkmus is reliably worldweary and acerbic, sneering at punk rock bands who reform in their dotage on Rumble at the Rainbo: “No new material, just cowboy boots.” Despite this, his sepia nostalgia for his own musical youth of Doc Martens and plaid shirts is palpable: “We grew up listening to the music from the best decade ever,” he drawls on Lariat.
It’s a clever, knowing record, a likeable offering from an aging icon of the generation that eschewed heroes. Is that ironic? Oh well, whatever, never mind…