Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks: Mirror Traffic (Matador) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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#37 – St. VincentStephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Mirror Traffic


Aug 22, 2011 Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Bookmark and Share

We’re over 20 years into Stephen Malkmus’ musical career and he’s still consistently delivering relevant and entertaining sonic statements packed with erudite lyrics, slippery guitars, and unexpected structural twists. Mirror Traffic, his fifth full-length in the post-Pavement era, smartly summarizes much of his recent work with a series of concise rockers, jammy experiments, and occasional moments of raw emotion.

Mirror Traffic is the most focused Malkmus release since his 2001 solo debut. The principal recording sessions took place last year in Los Angeles where, according to Malkmus’ blog, “68% of the tracking, vocals included, took place on one day, a first for me.” The album was produced by indie rock chameleon Beck Hansen, who has recently spent a lot of time working behind the mixing board with his Record Club project as well as with such artists as Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jamie Lidell.

There are a bunch of standout tracks here. “Forever 28” mines some of the same territory as “Jenny and the Ess-Dog.” “No One Is (As I Are Be)” has a Nigel Godrich-ish sound that recalls many of the songs on Beck’s 2002 album Sea Change. Opener “Tigers” could have been an unreleased B-side from Pavement’s Terror Twilight, and closer “Georgous George” has a wonderful drunken weirdness. But the track you’re most likely to hear on satellite radio all summer long is the tongue-in-cheek (pun intended) lead single “Senator,” which includes the delightful lines: “I know what the Senator wants/What the Senator wants is a blow job.” (

Author rating: 7/10

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