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Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks Announce New Album, 'Sparkle Hard'

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, shown here in glorious black and white, will release a new album, 'Sparkle Hard,' May 18.

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, shown here in glorious black and white, will release a new album, 'Sparkle Hard,' May 18. (Image credit: James Rexroad)

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks have announced a new album, Sparkle Hard. The disc, the band's seventh, will be released May 18 via Matador Records. The former Pavement leader also has premiered a new song, an old-school, four-chord stomper called "Shiggy," which you can sample below. It follows the twangy "Middle America," which saw the light of day last month.

Malkmus started writing Sparkle Hard three years ago. He’d upgraded his home-recording equipment and had been working on the Netflix series Flaked (he penned the incidental music and the theme song). Demos were done in one day in April 2017; in May, he and the Jicks—Mike Clark (keyboards), Joanna Bolme (bass) and Jake Morris (drums)—started recording at a new studio in Portland called Halfling, which is managed by Chris Funk of the Decemberists, who also produced the album.

Self-indulgent escapism has never been the Jicks’ bag, but on Sparkle Hard, the reality of modern life sits closer to the surface—whether it’s a proto-punk grind or a back-porch country duet doing the talking. It's a cleaner burn for complex times.

If 2014’s Wig Out at Jag Bags balanced the lengthy prog workouts of Pig Lib with Mirror Traffic’s sparky pop moments, then Sparkle Hard bears less obvious direct relation to what’s come before. It also has turbocharged energy and enthusiasm by the truckload.

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Sparkle Hard Track List:
1. Cast Off
2. Future Suite
3. Solid Silk
4. Bike Lane
5. Middle America
6. Rattler
7. Shiggy
8. Kite
9. Brethren
10. Refute (featuring Kim Gordon)
11. Difficulties/Let Them Eat Vowels

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks on Tour:
6/1/18 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club SOLD OUT
6/2/18 - Milwaukee, WI - The Back Room at Colectivo SOLD OUT
6/3/18 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall
6/5/18 - Columbus, OH - Ace of Cups SOLD OUT
6/6/18 - Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theater
6/7/18 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
6/8/18 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
6/9/18 - Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace SOLD OUT
6/11/18 - Montreal, QC - Theatre Fairmount
6/12/18 - Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair SOLD OUT
6/14/18 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg SOLD OUT
6/15/18 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg SOLD OUT
6/16/18 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts
6/17/18 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
6/19/18 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
6/20/18 - Athens, GA - The Georgia Theatre
6/21/18 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
6/22/18 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar
6/23/18 - Cincinnati, OH - The Woodward Theater
7/17/18 - Petaluma, CA - Mystic Theatre
7/18/18 - San Francisco, CA - Slim's
7/22/18 - Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom
7/23/18 - Albuquerque NM - Launchpad
7/25/18 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk
7/26/18 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall
7/27/18 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
7/28/18 - Tulsa, OK - The Vanguard
7/29/18 - Kansas City, MO - Record Bar
7/31/18 - Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre
8/1/18 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
8/3/18 - Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theatre
8/4/18 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre
8/5/18 - Portland, OR - Star Theater

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.