2020 album also available on CD.
American singer songwriter Stephen Malkumus is releasing his third solo album (without the Jicks or Pavement) entitled ‘Traditional Techniques’ which is new phase folk music for new phase folks, with Stephen Malkmus as attuned as ever to the rhythms of the ever-evolving lingual slipstream. It’s packed with handmade arrangements, modern folklore and 10 songs written and performed in his singular voice. An adventurous new album in an instantly familiar mode, Traditional Techniques creates a serendipitous trilogy with the loose fuzz of the Jicks’ ‘Sparkle Hard’ (2018) and the solo bedroom experiments of ‘Groove Denied’ (2019). Taken together, these three very different full-lengths in three years highlight an ever-curious songwriter committed to finding untouched territory.
The versatile Malkmus is most renowned for the work he has done with his highly influential and critically acclaimed band, Pavement, but he has also participated in other side-projects that are notable. He was a former member in David Berman’s band Silver Jews, he has played in a band with Sonic Youth members Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, and most recently he has been performing his solo material with his band the Jicks. But his strengths lies in his ability to switch and evolve his music palette from indie, blazing guitar rock, 70s prog and psychedelia and now to his unique take on folk sound is encapsulated in ‘Traditional Techniques’.
Malkmus took on Traditional Techniques as a kind of self-dare. Conceived while recording Sparkle Hard at Portland’s Halfling Studio, Malkmus had observed the variety of acoustic instruments available for use. The idea escalated within a matter of weeks into a full set of songs, and shortly thereafter into a realized and fully committed album. When he returned to Halfling, Malkmus drew from a whole new musical palette--including a variety of Afghani instruments - to support an ache both quizzical and contemporary. The resulting Traditional Techniques is expansive and thrilling. Alongside gorgeous folk music, there are also occasional bursts of flute-laced swagger, straight-up commune rock (“Xian Man”), and mind-bending fuzz.
Centred around the songwriter’s 12-string acoustic guitar and informed by a half-century of folk-rock reference points, ‘Traditional Techniques’ is the product of Malkmus and Halflingengineer/arranger-in-residence Chris Funk (The Decemberists). Additionally, Matt Sweeney (Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Chavez) plays guitar throughout, creating gorgeous folk music, with the occasional bursts of flute-laced swagger and straight-up commune rock.CD in printed inner wallet and 8-panel poster booklet.LP with 2-page insert and black poly-lined inner sleeve.
Tracklisting: ACC Kirtan / Xian Man / The Greatest Own In / Legal History / Cash Up / Shadowbanned / What Kind Of Person / Flowin’ Robes / Brainwashed / Signal Western / Amberjack