SM & The Jicks share 'Sparkle Hard: The Movie'
9th May 2018
With the release of their new album, Sparkle Hard, heading our way on May 18th, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks have shared an eponymous documentary short film shot on-location in Portland, OR this past January, directed by Brook Linder. It’s an intimate and brilliant glimpse into the quotidian world of Stephen Malkmus – songwriting legend, tennis champ, horseback rider, band-leader, and all-around charming goofball. “Since watching this doc,” says Stephen, “I’ve improved my tennis game immensely… I’ve shortened my follow through on the forehand and made progress on a buttery topspin backhand.”
Director Brook Linder has shared his inspiration, explaining “I have long been a Malkmus fan, and for years have thought very hard about what I would make with him given the opportunity. He’s such a unique character and there’s obviously so much history involved - making anything at all seemed pretty formidable. To me he is mysterious and nothing is obvious. The idea of making a typical visual to match the sound was out straight away.” Brook, thinking back to when he first saw Malkmus play live, at Pitchfork Fest 2007, recalled “the set was mostly Malkmus and an acoustic guitar, and it was so raw and funny and vulnerable and felt rare and weird. I wanted to capture that side of Malkmus somehow – to grab the mundane details of his life – and it turns out they’re as enigmatic as he is.”
Watch an acoustic version of ‘Middle America’ here.
Sparkle Hard is 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