For April 2020, to get bloggers in the same spot, WordPress Discover has returned. This week WordPress Discover is helmed by blogger Krista Stevens.
Today’s theme is “music.” Krista asks about favourite albums. My favourite album going is the Indie effort Groove Denied, by Stephen Malkmus, which came out on the Ides of March last year, 2019.
It was exciting to learn about it. It’s the second reinvention of himself Malkmus has presented, the first his solo career that followed his famed 1990s band Pavement, and now with what I’d estimate is a trilogy of albums so far, after five years between album releases. What I mean is that Pavement did albums in the nineties, which were Malkmus along with several bandmates, and then there were several Stephen Malkmus solo records in the 2000s and 2010s, which ended with what to me was a fairly loud silence, a paradox.
After five years, Malkmus reinvented himself with kind of a second solo career. The highlight for me was the album from 2019, Groove Denied.
If you don’t know about record albums, the groove is what the arm of the record player reads to play the music. I take that the expression “Groove Denied” is a reference to streaming services that play digital recordings. A record player is an analogue machine.
It is interesting for me that Malkmus’ vocal delivery, although perhaps a little dimmed by the passing of years, remains, to my ear, identical to how he sounded when he played with Pavement.
The songs Stephen Malkmus composes have always been brilliant, in my humble opinion, but Groove Denied seems outstanding. There are three music videos for Groove Denied, handled in the United States by Matador Records, and it was a treat to watch them last year on YouTube.
Last year was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pavement record that went into the Top 5 of the year, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, in 1994. The X shape on the cover of Groove Denied reminds me of the X Stephen Malkmus is wearing in the Pavement Slow Century DVD, when he comments on Pavement’s feud with the Smashing Pumpkins.