Wig Out at Jagbags by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks is the New Album Pick of the Week

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Apologies all around for missing the last two weeks.  I was out of town for the holidays and the wife's entire family and I passed arounds all sorts of sickness back and forth and back again.  Truth be told though the last two weeks kind of sucked for new music anyways.  Nobody releases much of anything right after Christmas.  Things are picking up a little bit now, but we're still a long ways away from a truly terrific week.

I grew up musically in the early '90s alternative heyday.  I lapped most of it up including Pavement to some degree.  I never did get completely into that band, they were just a little too hipster for me (and a little too interested in noise over melody) but I owned their albums and dug them enough to pretend to be hipster.  I've not given Stephen Malkmus' solo work enough to its due to make any grand proclamations about it but what I have heard has been really good.  Better than Pavement actually.  Its straight up great rock and roll from what I recall which makes me kind of excited about this new one - Wig Out at Jagbags.  That title still sounds a bit too hipster, but I'm willing to give it a pass and say this is my Pick of the Week.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Scratch My Back & I'll Scratch Yours - Peter Gabriel: Here's another artist I want to like more than I actually ever do.  Gabriel has a long and storied career and plenty of great songs, but there's also a whole lot of stuff that's never managed to grab me in any real way.  This double album has a very interesting concept though.  For the first disk Gabriel covers some of his favorite songs from Paul Simon's "Boy in the Bubble" to Bon Iver's "Flume."  On the second disk some of the artists he covered in the first are found covering Peter Gabriel songs.

The first disk, entitled Scratch My Back was actually released in 2010 and is now being bundled with the second disk, I'll Scratch Yours this week.  Originally the plan was to have all the artists Gabriel covered come back and cover him, but in the end several artists either never got around to creating those songs or ultimately refused to do so.  So new artists were recruited making I'll Scratch Yours not so much a reciprocal cover album, but a pretty cool looking album of Peter Gabriel songs.  Artists  involved include Randy Newman, Regina Spektor, Paul Simon, and Lou Reed plus many more.

Hooker Alone - John Lee Hooker:  A nice two disk set culled from performances at Hunter College in 1976.  In these songs its just Hooker onstage with his guitar, which is likely magical.