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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Pig Lib
Matador Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
While watching Pavement's video retrospective, The Slow Century, I found a hidden feature that weird computer geeks call an 'Easter Egg'. With my remote I highlighted the 'P' in Pavement, and suddenly Stephen Malkmus is standing at a microphone in front of a crowd. There is a pair of handcuffs dangling from the stand, and he picks them up and says that they "symbolize what it's like to be in a band". Shortly after this statement, Pavement finished their last show together.

Instead of isolating himself and proceeding to work completely alone like a more clean cut J Mascis, Malkmus instead found himself working with drummer John Moen and bassist Joanna Bolme on a new record of catchy pop tunes that would reverse the direction he had taken on Terror Twilight, Pavement's last record. The resulting record, released in 2001, made their contribution somewhat invisible since Matador released the album under the simple moniker Stephen Malkmus, rather than crediting it as an album by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks.

Two years later, the group has released Pig Lib under the proper moniker. Despite the fact that the band's name still makes it sound like a one man show, there is a much more apparent collaborative feel to it than Malkmus's last two records (Terror Twilight was basically a solo record since guitarist Scott Kannberg wrote none of the songs on it). Especially on the album's closing track, "Us", when the Jicks are all singing along together, the group sounds much more like a team than Pavement ever did.

There are, however, many similarities to Malkmus's old group in that it is the strangest and goofiest work Malkmus has produced since Wowee Zowee. Pig Lib brings Malkmus back to the pre-Brighten the Corners era when Pavement was still "free and loose". The first Malkmus solo record may have been the reaction against the dark Terror Twilight, but that record was not nearly as engaging and exciting as Pig Lib is.

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks are not merely replicating the spirit of a bygone era. Their strange, unorthodox version of Rock 'n' Roll is something that is completely unique and in many ways better than what Pavement would have sounded like if they had continued on. Pig Lib is able to capture the sound of both a brilliant musician free of his hand cuffs and a reversion back to his old band's best work at the same time.

Reviewed by Tom Nash
A former LAS staff member based in Vienna - that\'s Virginia, not Austria - Tom graduated from high school and we are all just so, so proud of him.

See other reviews by Tom Nash

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