+ Martin Frawley (Twerps)
Entry Requirements: 18+
432 Presents Stephen Malkmus [solo]
The rumors are true: The “rejected” electronic album that Stephen Malkmus (celebrated leader of alt rock kings Pavement) has been telling everyone about finally saw the light of day on March 15th. But make no mistake, Groove Denied is not a full-blown plunge into EDM or hiptronica. In fact, there aren’t any purely instrumental tracks on the album. Every song is precisely that: a song, featuring Malkmus staples like an artfully askew melody and an oblique lyric.
Groove Denied is Stephen playing hooky from his customary way of going about things, jolting himself out of a comfy routine. As Malkmus commented recently in a recent video interview, “It’s kind of funny to mess with stuff you’re not supposed to mess with.”
The first taste of Stephen’s new groove took the form of lead single “Viktor Borgia,” and its accompanying video starring Stephen alone in a dance club — until he turns into a digital avatar and dance-battles the digital avatars of a Random Businessman and a pony-tailed pop-star named Ariana.
The title playfully merges the name of the comedian-pianist and the ruthless dynasty of Italo-Spanish nobles. With its stately melody and the almost-English-accented vocal, the coordinates here are early Human League or even Men Without Hats. “Yes, I was thinking things like Pete Shelley’s ‘Homosapien’, the Human League, and DIY synth music circa 1982,” says Stephen, adding “and also about how in the New Wave Eighties, these suburban 18-and-over dance clubs were where all the freaks would meet – a sanctuary.”