Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Real Emotional Trash


Stephen Malkmus throws fans a curveball with Real Emotional Trash, said Matt LeMay in On his fourth post-Pavement record, the indie-rock intellectual plays down his wonkiness and gives us an “unabashedly rock-’n’-roll band album.” Backed by a group that includes drummer Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, he delivers the “most aesthetically cohesive” effort of his solo career. Malkmus has long seemed unconcerned with making music for the masses, said Ben Ratliff in The New York Times. He’s been more preoccupied with dawdling around on the guitar or building a Scrabble-worthy vocabulary. But this album has him revisiting “the most sentimental rock of all: 1960s hippie rock.” Real Emotional Trash builds “very direct jamming” into almost every song, yet Malkmus keeps his psychedelia from getting too tripped-out. Even the 10-minute title track is ultimately controlled, starting off slow and ruminative, but ending as a galloping good time. Most important, Malkmus sounds comfortable with himself, said Bret McCabe in The New York Sun. Real Emotional Trash exhibits all his charms and quirks: his “wiggy way with a guitar solo,” his literary trick of turning nonsense into coy and undeniably clever pop songs, and his ability to “stitch a gem of a melody out of seemingly clumsy instrumental collisions.”