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Preview: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Noah Bonaparte Pais previews the Portland band coming to the Parish at House of Blues March 6



There are two paths you can take when you find yourself an aging rocker who also happens to be an incipient parent: shake a fist at the dad-rock tag, a la Jeff Tweedy, or embrace it with self-deprecation and class, like Stephen Malkmus. Read anything about Malkmus these days and he's not reliving the past by stoking the undying embers of Pavement — a band so influential that 20 years on, there are still new and heated Internet arguments over which of its first two LPs is the greatest indie rock album of all time. (It's Slanted and Enchanted, right? Even Malkmus concedes.) Despite the inevitable reunion, reissues and regurgitations by dozens of imitators, Malkmus is more comfortable talking about his kids' potty mouths, or posing for Rookie's "Ask a Grown Man" video segment, or referring to his former adopted hometown of Berlin as the hip, isolated center of Europe, "at least if you are an American dad." After two years in Germany, Malkmus moved his family back to Portland, Ore., but Wig Out at Jagbags (Matador) — his sixth release with pseudo-solo backing band the Jicks, or one more than Pavement produced — is very much a European baby: recorded in a Belgian farmhouse by original tour sound man Remko Schouten, laden with prog-twisted guitars, classic-rock rambles and pop-referential and -reverential lyrics. ("We lived on Tennyson and venison and the Grateful Dead/ It was Mudhoney summer, Torch of Mystics, Double Bummer.") There are also horns aplenty (in Malkmus-speak, "Indie guys trying to sound Memphis") and enough crooked hooks to carry all of his disjointed, unjaded revelations to the end. Fatherhood should always sound so holy. Purling Hiss opens. Tickets $16 in advance, $18 day of show. — NOAH BONAPARTE PAIS

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