I've always found Stephen Malkmus' solo stuff to favour a quirkiness that quells a lot of the emotion or whatever that made a lot of Pavement songs so amazing, especially the stuff before this new one, Real Emotional Trash, which is due out in March. Funny, this title. The album is certainly free of emotional melodrama but less filled with the wacky pantomime shit of his previous records like Pig Lib (which I love, kind of like how I love The Fiery Furnaces, whose keyboards give off those weird childlike textures and totallly forced quirk working wonders somehow. It's a very interesting sound, though it seems a lot of people find it a little on the annoying side). It's probably more Pavement-esque, it's heavier on the guitars, especially on the opener where the come in all heavy-metal up in yr grill. It's title track streches 10 minutes of less in yo face noodling but doesn't reach those heights of 'Fillmore Jive' or anything but how could it? 'Gardenia' is pop gold, even if it's not quite the gold sound, it's definitely good stuff but it's on that Jicks plain sort of noodley vibe, never straining for the high notes but just happy to coast.
[Stephen Malkmus MySpace]