Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks share new song feat. Kim Gordon
25th April 2018
With the release of their new album, Sparkle Hard, heading our way on May 18th on Domino, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have shared another taste of what’s to come with their new single ‘Refute,’ a country-tinged reflection on marriage and infidelity, featuring guest vocals by Kim Gordon. Per Malkmus, the idea was to “queer the duet”, by messing with “Nashville tropes in light of current trends in evolutionary psychology” and reversing “the classic He Said/She Said narrative, where in this case the ‘wife’ is the cheater, and the omniscient narrator enters at the end to offer cold comfort.”
Watch an acoustic version of ‘Middle America’ here.
Additionally, you can calculate your “sparkle level” by taking the Buzzfeed-style Sparkle Hard rejected album art and playlist generator quiz with absurdist questions penned by the band and with corresponding playlists featuring rejected album art that didn’t make it past legal www.howharddoyousparkle.com
Modesty and plain good manners might prevent them from saying so themselves, but the fact that Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have thrived, rather than simply endured over 17 years and delivered six albums of buzzy, sub-cultural significance, constitutes an impressive legacy. The challenge with album number seven is one that any successful band with integrity faces: how to safeguard that legacy and hold on to their identity without rehashing old ground (unthinkable), and also say something meaningful while (crucially) having fun doing it?
Meeting that issue head on in the run up to The Jicks’ seventh record involved some “navel gazing”, according to singer, songwriter, and guitarist Malkmus and not only in terms of what it means to be releasing music in 2018. If, like him, you’re a voracious consumer of all kinds of culture and feel the need to interact with it, rather than just react, then inevitably “there’s a world that prompts you to put your best foot forward”. With Sparkle Hard Malkmus, Mike Clark (keyboards), Joanna Bolme (bass) and Jake Morris (drums) do exactly that. And they hit the ground running – on air treads.
It’s light ’n’ breezy, head-down heavy, audacious, melancholic and reflective, goodtime and bodacious, and it pulls off the smartest trick: it’s both unmistakeably The Jicks and – due to the streamlining of their trademark tics and turns, plus the introduction of some unexpected flourishes (Auto-Tune, a fiddle, one seven-minute song with an acoustic folk intro) – The Jicks refashioned. If 2014’s Wig Out At Jag Bags balanced the lengthy prog workouts of Pig Lib with Mirror Traffic’s sparky pop moments, then Sparkle Hard bears less obvious direct relation to what’s come before. It also has turbocharged energy and enthusiasm by the truckload.
Self-indulgent escapism has never been The Jicks’ bag, but on Sparkle Hard, the reality of modern life sits closer to the surface, communication cutting to the chase whether it’s a proto-punk grind or a back-porch country duet doing the talking. A cleaner burn for dark and complex times.
Sparkle Hard is available to pre-order on LP (heavyweight vinyl with insert), indie-exclusive deluxe LP (heavyweight coloured vinyl with insert), Dom Mart-exclusive deluxe LP (heavyweight coloured vinyl, insert and 12x12” sticker sheet with 12 individual die cut designs for each of the songs on the album by the creative genius Turbo Island), CD and digital.
UK & European Tour Dates:
Wed 17th October – Albert Hall, Manchester Tickets
Thurs 18th October – SWG3, Glasgow Tickets
Fri 19th October – Vicar Street, Dublin Tickets
Sun 21st October – SWX, Bristol Tickets
Mon 22nd October – The Asylum, Birmingham Tickets
Wed 24th October – Hackney Arts Centre, London Tickets
Thurs 25th October – Concorde 2, Brighton Tickets
Mon 29th October – Lido, Berlin Tickets
Tues 30th October – Stadtgarten, Cologne Tickets
Wed 31st October – Melkweg, Amsterdam Tickets