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Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks
Real Emotional Trash
Matador Records
March 4, 2008

Stephen Malkmus has come a long way since his days with Pavement, where he stood at the vanguard of the indie rock movement that flourished in the '90s. Now in his 40s, he's married with two kids, and doing things like contributing to fancy art films such as the Bob Dylan retrospective, "I'm Not There," in which he provides the singing voice for -- of all people -- Cate Blanchett. Fans need fear not, however, for as his latest solo album proves, he might have gotten older, but he hasn't grown up. Real Emotional Trash is a trip to Neverland, filled with trippy '70s-style jams and quirky, cocky lyrics that feel like something you'd hear in the teenage wasteland that lies just over the rainbow.

"Dragonfly Pie" opens the album with a Black Sabbathy feel, whiny and dark guitar and an ominous baseline combining with Malkmus' nonsense lyrics into something like the bastard second cousin of "Fairies Wear Boots". Malkmus channels a bit of Jim Morrison on "Hopscotch Willie," a Doorsy jam with a bouncy, hopscotchy vibe, and "Elmo Delmo," a psychedelic little ditty that sounds something like The Grateful Dead crashed the set of Sesame Street to hang with Mr. Hooper. Album closer "Wicked Wanda" ends the album with a discordant "Strawberry Fields" melody and quirky lyrics that, at times seem to be reaching towards "Over the Rainbow." And if there's an Oz then there' a tin man looking for a heart, and he need look no further than the epic 10-minute-long title track. The trashy emotional heart of the album starts out as a ballad and builds slowly to a crescendo before crashing down into an amazing reprise that cements Malkmus' place in history as the true Wizard of Odd.

Favorite Track: "Real Emotional Trash"

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Michael Fiegel is a freelance writer and graphic designer. His diverse background includes journalism, radio copywriting, technical writing, game design and music reviewing. He is best known as the creator of the Internet cult sensation, Ninja Burger. He can be reached at or at his website,

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