Fronting Pavement — one of the nineties’ most-celebrated, least-rehearsed indie bands — seems like strange preparation for a career in progressive rock, a genre dominated by practiced virtuosos. Give Stephen Malkmus credit, then, for sticking with it. On his last two albums with the Jicks, the songs got buried under ill-advised keyboard solos and amplifier flatulence, but Real Emotional Trash dials down the wankery and lets the hooks float closer to the surface. “Cold Sun” is as stunning as anything he’s ever written, and the title track pulls off the rare feat of being catchy and ten minutes long. Take that, Dream Theater!
Real Emotional Trash