Stephen Malkmus - Traditional Techniques: Pavement singer goes back to basics
Pavement headline this summer’s editions of the Primavera festival in both Barcelona and Porto, evoking fond memories of when they played in 2010 alongside Pixies and Pet Shop Boys.
Best known as lead singer, guitarist and principle songwriter with Pavement, Stephen Malkmus has ruled out any new material from the reformed cult icons for the time being, choosing to focus instead on his third solo album, hot on the heels of the electronica fused Groove Denied, which was only released last March.
If Pavement and Malkmus’s other band, The Jicks, are primarily about skewered indie rock, as the title suggests, Traditional Technqiues is more in line with the acoustic, alt-country tinged oeuvres of friends and associates such as the late David Berman – as Malkmus was also a member of Silver Jews – or Pavement classics like Range Life or Gold Soundz.
Lead single Xian Man is a gentle groover, a catchy country pop number featuring intricate jamming and Malkmus’s laconic and iconic vocals. Shadowbanned is accompanied by a brilliant video featuring a cast of famous friends like Kim Gordon, Conor Oberst and Kurt Vile, plus a playful Instagram filter entitled Becoming Stephen Malkmus.
This latest offering from camp Malkmus will certainly chime with his long-term fanbase, even though it probably won’t exactly set the world on fire. On recent form, Stephen Malkmus has been prolific, consistent and challenging. While we would dearly love Pavement to surprise us with something of the same calibre of their 90s’ run of classic albums, this will more than make do.