AoTW :: The Various Adventures of Stephen Malkmus
August 17th 2011
Nick La Rosa
How famous is Stephen Malkmus? Have you heard of him? Well, of course you have, because you're a music-literate internet-reading supporter of community radio stations that probably would not exist in their current form without Malkmus's contribution to indie rock as we know it. (OK, so I'm a fan.)
He is, however, not famous enough to call his new album L.A. Guns, because there is/was already a hair-metal act who go by that name and his label didn't want to risk either a lawsuit or any innocent hair-metal fans accidentally buying clever indie-rock when they were expecting acid-green Flying Vs and spandex. (Factoid: New York magazine's Vulture blog wondered incredulously who was more famous, these so called L.A. Guns or arguably the most influential indie musician of the 90s, and one commenter pointed out that the Guns' frontman was part of the original Guns N' Roses lineup along with Axl Rose. Guess who was who.) If you want a little glimpse into the mind-numbing tweaks and details that go on in entertainment law, check out this email exchange that starts with Malkmus chucking a few tracks over to Silver Jews main man/minor deity (and former bandmate) David Berman for feedback and ends up in a trans-Atlantic mire of lawyers asking other lawyers whether it's ok to not use full stops, maybe, maybe not?
Anyway, he's famous enough for his fifth album with The Jicks, Mirror Traffic AKA NOT L.A. GUNS OK YOU GUYS HANDS OFF THE LAWSUIT BUTTON, to be our album of the week, and to record beautifully-photographed acoustic sessions in shady art-filled corners of Paris. These are the first two tracks from the Beck-produced album; you can hear the rest all over your radio this week.