Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks Wig Out at Jagbags

[Matador; 2014]

Styles: rock, indie rock, poppy prog rock, post-Pavement rock
Others: Pink Floyd, Grandaddy, Led Zeppelin, Phish, Thingy

Wig Out at Jagbags in Lists: A Tribute to the Outgoing Festive Season and All Those Who Care About A Song, Album, or Film Only to the Extent That It Can Be Regarded As “The Best”

Top 5 Remarks A Music Critic Might Predictably Make in Introducing Their Review of Wig Out at Jagbags

1. One entry for jagbag in the Urban Dictionary defines it as a term for “the semen filled reservoir-tip of a used condom;” most other entries list it as a composite of jerk off and douche bag.

2. On the subject of masturbation, Stephen Malkmus’ unapologetic embrace of semi-proggy musicianship would appear to be an antagonistic rejection of his tenure in Pavement and the weight of expectation.

3. As if the band were bowing to that expectation a little more these days, Wig Out at Jagbags continues The Jicks’ gravitation toward more traditional song structures and lengths.

4. Yet it’s still not a Pavement album.

5. Although, it is an album that was recorded in the Belgian Ardennes, and it should also be noted that Malkmus has been living in Berlin for the past two years, not that Wig Out sounds particularly German.

Top 10 Themes Broached on Wig Out at Jagbags

1. Creativity as a secular form of guilt-ridden, self-constraining penitence (“Shibboleth”)

2. The incoherence and absurdity of young folly (“Surreal Teenagers”)

3. The fatalistic inability to remove yourself from the pursuit of a widely celebrated or hallowed goal (“Planetary Motion”)

4. The trials and tribulations of ambition; the futility of the unending struggle (“The Janitor Revealed”)

5. The inevitabilities of love and lust; the headlong dive into what you know is going to hurt (“J Smoov”)

6. Mass-Communication and the homogenized banality it engenders (“Chartjunk”)

7. The stagnation inherent to nostalgia; the desecration of radicalism into cliché (“Rumble at the Rainbo”)

8. Mutual nostalgia as a basis for coupling (“Lariat”)

9. Relationships and their failure to correspond to ideals and fantasies (“Houston Hades”)

10. Stoic unwillingness to dilute yourself in seductive trysts and facile conformity (“Independence Street”)

Top 5 Time Signatures Used on Wig Out at Jagbags

1. 7/4 (the verses of “Janitor Revealed”)

2. 7/8 (the chorus of “Janitor Revealed”)

3. 6/4 (pretty much every every song)

4. 4/4 (ditto)

5. 6/8 (the pinball freak-out at the end of “Rumble at the Rainbo”)

Top 10 Moods Evoked by Wig Out at Jagbags

1. Optimism (“Chartjunk”)

2. Sleepy melancholia (“J Smoov”)

3. Wry nostalgia (“Lariat”)

4. Lazed excitability (“Scattegories”)

5. Diffuse, cryptic anger (“Shibboleth”)

6. Blithe effervescence (“Surreal Teenagers”)

7. Playful cynicism (“Rumble at the Rainbo”)

8. Jaded humor (“The Janitor Revealed”)

9. Smart-Alec detachment (“Cinnamon and Lesbians”)

10. Mature temperance (“Independence Street”)

Top 10 Hooks on Wig Out at Jagbags

1. The “Surreeeaaalll Teeeen-agers” refrain that Malkmus animatedly stretches into the air during the fizzing coda of “Surreal Teenagers”

2. The perky rhythm guitar that finishes “Houston Hades,” buoyed further by Malkmus’ insistent repetitions of “Tearing it away”

3. The anticipatory horns that raise “Chartjunk” to an affirmative pitch during its intro and climax

4. The circling of synthesized strings that douses the chorus of “J Smoov” and its “You’re afraid” quip with an off-kilter pathos

5. The 6-bar southern melody that forms the spry backbone of “Lariat”

6. The dogged strumming that closes “Lariat,” recalling the naive bliss of “Gold Soundz”-era Pavement

7. The cyclical 70s riff that bookends the otherwise MOR-ish gentrification of “Cinnamon and Lesbians”

8. The equally 70s staccato headbanging that switches between 6/4 and 5/4 for “Planetary Motion”

9. The mischievous, fuzzy lead guitar that departs from the chorus of “The Janitor Revealed” into the song’s briefly ominous lull

10. The even fuzzier, even rawer lead guitar that jumps out from the puckish strut of “Scattegories”

Top 10 Quintessentially Malkmus-ian Lyrics/”Witticisms” on Wig Out at Jagbags

1. “If love is like Hades/ For all you Slim Shadies/ It’s no wonder he smashes guitars” (“Houston Hades”)

2. “In a race/ To the inside of your face” (“J Smoov”)

3. “A love like oxygen/ So foxy then/ So terrific now” (“Lariat”)

4. “If you choose to copulate/ You better get home fast” (“Surreal Teenagers”)

5. “Condoleezza’s Rice/ Scattered on the floor” (“Scattegories”)

6. “Come downtown ‘cause we’ve got a cure for your headlice/ We’ll do it for free” (“Cinnamon and Lesbians”)

7. “We are returning/ Returning to our roots/ No new material/ Just cowboy boots” (“Rumble at the Rainbo”)

8. “We lived on Tennyson, and venison/ And the Grateful Dead” (“Lariat”)

9. “Actually, I’m not contractually/ Obliged to care” (“Chartjunk”)

10. “I’d like to move to Micronesia/ With my man-servant John/John is ever so loyal/ He’s pugnacious in that regard” (“Surreal Teenagers”)

Top 10 Songs on Wig Out at Jagbags

1. “Surreal Teenagers”
2. “Houston Hades”
3. “J Smoov”
4. “Chartjunk”
5. “Shibboleth”
6. “Lariat”
7. “Planetary Motion”
8. “The Janitor Revealed”
9. “Rumble at the Rainbo”
10. “Scattegories”

Top 5 Stephen Malkmus (and The Jicks) LPs

1. Wig Out at Jagbags1
2. Face The Truth
3. Mirror Traffic
4. Real Emotional Trash
5. Pig Lib

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Listen to Wig Out at Jagbags

1. It came top on the above list

2. Its songs are well-constructed, well-paced, and all subtly different from each other

3. It’s personable and inviting, like an old yet slightly dappy friend

4. It has less guitar solos than previous records

5. It will familiarize you with the material The Jicks will be playing on their upcoming tour

Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Wig Out at Jagbags

1. It came top on the above list

2. It’s not particularly anything you haven’t heard before

3. Some of the lyrics will irritate those who already find Malkmus irksome as a songwriter

4. It often fetishizes the 70s, the only decade to give the 80s a run for its money in terms of tastelessness

5. And for the most part, it’s a little too “safe” and unadventurous

1. Album positioned at number one primarily for the purposes of marketing and doxastic manipulation.

Links: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Matador

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