Home Read News Stephen Malkmus’ Traditional Techniques Tops Today’s Album Announcements

Stephen Malkmus’ Traditional Techniques Tops Today’s Album Announcements

The former Pavement crew chief goes acoustic (sorta) on his latest solo outing.

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Stephen Malkmus has never struck me as much of a traditionalist. So colour me intrigued to find out the ex-Pavement foreman has titled his March 6 album Traditional Techniques — and to learn it is a folky offering. Of course, Malkmus being Malkmus, this ain’t likely to be your daddy’s back-porch twanger, as the first single Xian Man suggests. According to the press release that dinged into my in-box this A.M., “Malkmus’ third solo LP without the Jicks (or Pavement), is new phase folk music for new phase folks, with 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 JicksSparkle 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. 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. Centered 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 Halfling engineer/arranger-in-residence Chris Funk (The Decemberists).” See you there. Not a Pavement fan? Your loss. Perhaps you would prefer another of today’s new album announcements from the likes of Paramore’s Hayley Williams, roots rebel Pokey LaFarge or indie queen Waxahatchee. Read all about ’em below, or hit the Upcoming Releases page and run naked through the mindnumbingly long list in full.

January 24

Jann Arden | Blood Red Cherry 20th Anniversary Edition

January 31

Millsart | Snippets: Every Dog Has Its Day Vol. 5
Swash | Osiris Reaps EP

February 7

The Delay In The Universal Loop | Inner Capitalism
Radian | Chapters

February 14

Seven Spires | Emerald Seas

February 28

Julia Bondar | I Want Forbidden EP
Ethical Governor | Unmanned Autonomous Force
Inno | The Rain Under

March 6

Stephen Malkmus | Traditional Techniques
Ross The Boss | Born Of Fire
Vredehammer | Viperous

March 13

Sam Doores | Sam Doores
David Reece | Cacophony of Souls
Yumi Zouma | Truth or Consequences

March 20

Staghorn | Corvus IV

March 27

Activity | Unmask Whoever
Dana Gavanski | Yesterday Is Gone
In This Moment | Mother
Jordana | Classical Notions of Happiness
Waxahatchee | Saint Cloud

April 3

The Claudettes | High Times In The Dark
Ellis | Born Again
Pure Reason Revolution | Eupnea
Tops | I Feel Alive

April 10

Brass Owl | State of Mind
Kool Keith x Thetan | Space Goretex
Pokey LaFarge | Rock Bottom Rhapsody

May 8

Hayley Williams | Petals For Armor