Even if I hadn’t had my headphones turned up too high, that strong grungy rock opening on the Malkmus/Jicks new album, Wig Out at Jagbags, would probably still have made me jump a little; it was that invigorating. That experience of track 1 was followed by a very loose-jointed Pavement-esque track 2 that evoked some good memories of where Malkmus has ventured before. After that came “Lariat,” a very catchy tune and probably my favorite song on the album (also the one with the most entirely disconcerting lyric), and those three songs pretty much sum up the whole album, grungy, loose-jointed, and catchy . . . and disconcerting. In all seriousness, what supernatural power does a common “chariot” possess enabling it to be the vehicle of choice for bridging an abyss? Is the suggestion made by this lyrical chariot some sort of reverse pastoralism? Instead of returning to nature, we’re told to return to militarism, empire, conquest? Like I said, the implications are just … disconcerting.
Suggested Use: Someone once said, “When in doubt, read Thucydides.” I say, “When in doubt, listen to Malkmus.” Though none of the content in this album really tops Beck’s 1994 advice of, “Get crazy with the Cheez-Whiz,” I do feel there are some solid rules for living waiting to be mined from Wig Out at Jagbags, especially if you are finding yourself on the edge of “wiggin out.”