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Real Emotional Trash

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Audio CD, March 4, 2008
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Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - "Cinnamon and Lesbians"


the title.
new album called Wig Out at Jagbags. Jagbag is a great word. A smeared aspersion, not profanity, but derived from one….. watered down for the airwaves, or the assembly line. To Wig out--we've all been there. We ARE there, at least i Am.

And the "I" on a record is speaking for/as/to you, so If you’re not wigging out, go no further, dear ... Read more in Amazon's Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks Store

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Real Emotional Trash + Mirror Traffic + Face the Truth
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 4, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B0012IWHN2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,901 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Dragonfly Pie
2. Hopscotch Willy
3. Cold Son
4. Real Emotional Trash
5. Out Of Reaches
6. Baltimore
7. Gardenia
8. Elmo Delmo
9. We Can't Help You
10. Wicked Wanda

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Stephen Malkmus has never made a record that covered nearly as much stylistic ground as this nor, it could be argued, has Stephen made an album until now that packed as much of an emotional (not nearly trashy enough for some) wallop. "Cold Son," "Out of Reaches" and "We Can't Help You" are amongst the more gorgeous, contemplative songs Malkmus has recorded, though we should stress a) there's no shortage of dark humor scattered through RET and b) Malkmus remains a sh*t-hot guitarist (ridiculously so).

If you’ve never heard Stephen Malkmus, you might want to begin with one of the more accessible of his four solo albums, be it the self-titled debut or 2005’s watertight Face the Truth. But if you’re familiar with his individual work or that of his former band, Pavement, Real Emotional Trash will settle right in as the next chapter of the eccentric Portlander’s prolificacy. Leading the Jicks this time is ex-Sleater-Kinney drummer (and backing vocalist) Janet Weiss, who--while she never lets loose to pound her skins to oblivion--does manage to reel in the band on extended jams like that of the intricate "Elmo Delmo," a bluesy murder yarn called "Hopscotch Willie," or the sprawling 10-minute title track. Malkmus’s guitar fixation tends to overshadow his roguish, pop-sharp song craft this time around, with fewer catchy choruses and more axe-driven bypasses, save for the peculiar "Cold Son" and the joyful live-show staple "Gardenia." Then again, Trash's capriciousness and experimental willingness are what gave Malkmus an audience in the first place--and what promise to keep it coming back for more. --Scott Holter

Customer Reviews

Please buy it, and make sure he makes a few more.
William Ramsay
Calling this one of the very best records of his career - if only for its ambition, unique yet subtle genre-melding and skillful playing - would not be inaccurate.
Gregory William Locke
Like I said above, long story short--this is a damn fine album, and a very rewarding listen, if you're ready to put just a little time into it.
Steven DeCaluwe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steven DeCaluwe on March 9, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Long story short--another excellent effort from Malkmus, in what's becoming a very rewarding solo career, more focused on pure songwriting and musicianship than his first gig (it's hard to believe that the # of Jicks discs is creeping up on the # of Pavement discs. Of course, that discounts all the b-sides, singles, outtakes, Peel sessions, etc. But I digress...)

Anyway, yes, this album is a little bit of a grower. Yes, some of the songs are quite long. But as one of the earlier comments suggested, the Jicks make the run-time worth it, and once you become familiar with some of the songs' twists and turns, tracks like 'Hopscotch Willie,' 'Baltimore,' and the glorious title track become the highlights of the album. Don't confuse the term 'jam' with endless, pointless solos. In each of the more discursive tracks, malkmus uses his instrumental prowess (and the newly amped-up Jicks, thanks to Janet Weiss) as a bridge to take the song from point A to B, rather than as mere navel gazing. So settle in and get familiar with these songs, the trip is worth it.

The shorter songs are just as nice, relying more on killer melodies, touching lyrics, and inventive arrangements to establish a variety of moods, from the somber "Cold Son" and "Out of Reaches" to the peppy and smitten "Gardenia."

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't expound just a little bit on the Jicks' new secret weapon, the aforementioned Ms. Weiss.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Angel LaCanfora on July 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
To explain just how deeply I love this album, let me tell you first off that I'm on my 2nd copy already! That's right, I wore out CD #1. This album rocks; shreds; cooks with gas. Glorious. Hallalujah brothers that there's a songwriter like Malkmus alive today! It's classic rock with indie lyrics. It sweeps, it swoops, it dives, it sings, it sways. Everybody should have a copy. The new Sgt. Pepper.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Opus on March 14, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Stephen Malkmus's trajectory as a solo artist is beginning to remind me of former Replacements leader Paul Westerberg. The casual, offhanded brilliance that was so commonplace for the solo artist's "old" band is still there, you just have to dig a little more for it and put up with more attempts that don't work. Suffice it to say, this album is not the second coming of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. But for what it is, it's enjoyable if you have the patience for extended improvisational passages and an overall retro-70s sound.

This album reminds me quite a lot of some of Sonic Youth's more accessible material (Murray Street), as well as Wilco's latter day work (A Ghost Is Born) and of course Built To Spill (Perfect from Now On). What all of this music has in common is a penchant for extended instrumental interplay. None of this could accurately be lumped under the "jam bands" category (those bands owe more of a debt to jazz and the Grateful Dead, while SM and the other bands mentioned above seem to come more from the Television approach, reference: Marquee Moon), however all of it teeters on the edge of self-indulgent noodling if it's not done right.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Sedgwick on June 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD
If we classify music as art, we should recognize this definition of art: having the capacity to stimulate the senses in unexpected ways, even after after repeated exposure. No collection of an artist's output can be deemed "perfect" due to the subjective nature of art itself. The real test of a piece of art, then, is not how we label it, but how often we are drawn back to it.

That said, Malkmus and his collaborators have produced a recording that sounds great right out of the gate and bears repeated listening. I kept listening to this disk for a solid 8-10 days--to the exclusion of everything else in my library--and have continued to revisit it on a weekly basis. The guitar parts, though vaguely reminiscent of prior artists and styles, are continually intriguing--quite a good thing given that this is a guitar-driven recording. I can't slight the Jicks, whose empathetic support lend this project a dynamism in which Malkmus quirky lyrics and lithe guitar musings thrive. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the entire endeavor rocks!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Ever since Pavement broke up, Stephen Malkmus has just gotten odder and odder. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

And he really doesn't disappoint in his fourth full-length solo album with the Jicks, "Real Emotional Trash," which strikes a brilliant balance between the sounds of "Pig Lib" and "Face the Truth." Malkmus preserves his insane lyrics and fuzz-freakery, but wraps them around some gloriously eccentric psychedelic rock songs.

It opens with a dark, sludgy bassline, festooned in buzzing riffs, with Malkmus droning wearily, "Of all my stoned digressions/Some have mutated into the truth." But the slow grimy grinds suddenly speeds up... and melts away into a sublime little pop melody ("Taken with pride like a dragonfly/dragonfly wants a piece of pie!") that alternates between stoner riffs and delightfully sunny harmonium melodies.

The title track is a ten-minute bounce of peppy, sputtering guitar rock split by a drowsy, ringing expanse, and fading out to a meandering little guitar melody, as if he were falling asleep at the strings.

But he hasn't, because it's just the start of a whole new string of songs -- quirky buzzy pop, loopy little experimental rockers, and a lot of meandering rock'n'roll with fuzzy hard edges and drips of keyboard. It finishes up with two really delicious little songs -- the sunny shimmers of "We Can't Help You" and the intimate psychfolky sound of "Wicked Wanda."

When listening to a Stephen Malkmus album, I'm never entirely sure what he's crafting. "Real Emotional Trash" happily wobbles between pop epic, experimental concept album, and quirky indie fuzz-rocker without committing to any one sound, and Malkmus does a pretty solid job interweaving them together.
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