Stephen Malkmus has always been an enigma, both in the pioneering indie-rock band Pavement and with his band The Jicks. On "Wig Out at Jagbags" (Matador), Malkmus may seem more straightforward, but trying to follow his winding logic will still get you lost. On the first single, "Lariat," he declares, "We grew up listening to music from the best decade ever -- talkin' 'bout the Eight-ti-ties," after admitting, "We lived on Tennyson and venison and the Grateful Dead." In "Rumble at the Rainbo," he waxes nostalgic about moshpits over jangle rock and a reggae breakdown before getting to some punk. Luckily, he keeps the trip entertaining.
STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS
"Wig Out at Jagbags"
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE A charming grab bag of styles and indie-rock ideas.