Getting Better With Age

Indie rock titan Stephen Malkmus and his fellow Jicks haven’t lost any of their edge

Getting Better With Age

Raghav Mehta

What: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Where: Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave.

Cost: $25

When: 8, 6:30 p.m., Saturday,

In the ever-widening sphere of indie rock, Stephen Malkmus is treated like a sacred cow. But unlike some of his mid-âÄô 90s peers (ahem, Jeff Magnum) he didnâÄôt fall off the face of the earth after the dissolution of his old band (thatâÄôs Pavement, for the uninitiated).

In fact, not only is MalkmusâÄô latter-day career still alive and well, his latest work, âÄúMirror Traffic,âÄù is his best solo album to date. And this Saturday the ever-snarky indie rock titan will make a stop at MinneapolisâÄô Pantages Theatre.

Produced by Beck, âÄúMirror TrafficâÄù recalls some of the less raucous moments of the Pavement era, falling somewhere between the fuzzed-out psychedelia of âÄúWowee ZoweeâÄù and the cool slacker-pop of âÄúBrighten the Corners.âÄù MalkmusâÄô previous release, âÄúReal Emotional Trash,âÄù tinkered with more sprawling arrangements and illustrated the groupâÄôs far-reaching sonic palette. But this time around he ditches all of that big-vision experimentation for something a little more hook-heavy and accessible.

âÄúI think people oftentimes see that every record is a reaction to the last record,âÄù longtime Jicks bassist Joanna Bolme said. âÄúI guess the last record was a little more dark and jammy and we wanted to do something that was more light and poppy.âÄù

But thatâÄôs not to say Malkmus and his cohorts are stuck in some sort of post-reunion groove after last yearâÄôs Pavement tour âÄî even if fans want to think otherwise.

 âÄúThey played pretty much every song you could ever want to hear on their tour last year. At this point it seems pretty stupid to show up at one of our shows and request Pavement songs,âÄù Bolme said. âÄúI donâÄôt know whatâÄôs going through [StephenâÄôs] mind âĦ but yeah, itâÄôs annoying because weâÄôve got a lot of good songs of our own.âÄù

But Bolme, who has played with the Jicks since the beginning, doesnâÄôt mind it too much. Songwriting has always been MalkmusâÄô bread and butter, and unlike other has-been rock veterans, his has improved by leaps and bounds with age. And it doesnâÄôt come at the expense of his audience either âÄî if anything, itâÄôs only helped.

 âÄú[The audience] is always a grab bag,âÄù Bolme said. âÄúThereâÄôs some older vinyl buyers in the crowd. Sometimes people bring their kids. Maybe they were Pavement fans and now theyâÄôre Jicks fans, and now their kids are Jicks fans.âÄù