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Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Date: Mar 31 2008

Themes: Alternative, Music


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Do you the expression, “big fish in a small pond”? It just means that it’s easier to be important in a smaller community.

Though you may not have heard of him, Stephen Malkmus is one of the biggest fish in pretty decent-sized pond. The one with Modest Mouse, the Shins and Spoon. The pond called indie rock. The album Slanted and Enchanted by his band Pavement was named the best indie rock album ever by Blender. The album is simple but very creative rock music with strange and memorable lyrics.

Malkmus’ new band, the Jicks, has a more instrumental focus. They sound not unlike the Grateful Dead, although they just got a new and powerful drummer.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Mason:  You know, it’s a funny thing, I kind of missed the whole Pavement wagon...

Jason:  ...yeah, I did too…

Mason:  But a friend of mine got way into them after college and that was right when the Jicks were starting to happen with Stephen Malkmus, so I caught their CD release show for their first album they put out, what, four years ago.

Jason:  Oh, OK. I caught their show for their new album that just came out, Real Emotional Trash.

Mason:  There was a show? When?

Jason:  Yeah. They had a secret show.

Mason:  Like, recently?

Jason:  Yeah. It was only announced the day of the show.

Mason:  And I totally missed it.

Jason:  It was fun. They just played the album in order. But they’ve got Janet Weiss from Sleater-Kinney on drums now.

Mason:  Nice! And Quasi, don’t forget about Quasi. I loved Quasi. Way better than Sleater-Kinney.

Jason:  But her drums are so loud that I noticed throughout the show they had to keep turning up the rest of the band because on the first song, all I could hear was drums, even though the amps were miced and everything. She just hits really hard and has loud drums.

Mason:  Interesting.

Jason:  But she fits right in. It sounds great.

Mason:  Yeah, I mean, because they play some really technical stuff, you know. The Jicks are really, you know…

Jason:  They do like guitar harmonies and stuff, which is pretty technical for like, just a rock band.

Mason:  Lots of arpeggios, you know. That’s what Malkmus is into these days.

Jason:  Definitely. He’s into jamming. He’s, like, into playing guitar more than singing.

Mason:  Huh. Totally cool. I’m game for that. Raise the bar of the collective musical intelligence.

Jason:  Yeah! Totally.



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Even though Pavement is his most well known band, Mason didn’t discover Malkmus until he formed the Jicks. He saw the release show for their first album.

Jason just recently went to a secret Jicks show to celebrate their new album. The show was put on by MySpace and announced very last minute. Mason missed it. It sounds like he would have liked to have gone.

When Jason saw the Jicks, he noticed how loud and powerful their drummer, Janet Weiss is. She used to play with Sleater-Kinney and Quasi, and she seems like a good fit for the Jicks, especially since the music they play is a little more complicated than the average rock band.

What do you think the best indie rock album of all time is? Have you ever seen a secret show?

Photo of Jason’s trip to the arcade with Malkmus and Weiss by Nilina Mason-Campbell.



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06:13 AM Dec 23 2016 |




I never hear this band:)

01:07 PM Feb 12 2009 |



United States

My favorite band is JOnas BRothers, I think they are amazing. Three brothers created their music career. Their music is pretty awsome. when they first released their first album, no one really knows them becasue they aren't very popular, but then they didn't give up on their careers, just keep trying and keep trying ..Finally, They wrote one song call year of 3000, this song is very Orphean and makes alots of people fall in love with their music..



01:27 AM Aug 27 2008 |


United States

hey i can’t listen any of these audio

06:43 PM Apr 05 2008 |




thanks for the lessons i like it

11:26 PM Apr 02 2008 |

omega omega


I've never heard about this band, but I thing I'll find their later.

04:00 PM Apr 02 2008 |




R&B and soul music are the best! ;)

12:22 PM Apr 02 2008 |





08:13 AM Apr 02 2008 |





08:12 AM Apr 02 2008 |





08:11 AM Apr 02 2008 |

aquamarine jenny


is good

07:40 PM Apr 01 2008 |



    i like more…

09:51 AM Apr 01 2008 |

Ivan Bear


i don't like rock very much, for it's a little noise to me. but i should admit that rock is indeed a good form of music. people in rock band can enjoy themselves and get totally relaxed. that's quite cool.

06:12 AM Apr 01 2008 |


South Korea

Very i

10:20 PM Mar 31 2008 |




I love rock bands!!

07:46 PM Mar 31 2008 |




I dont' know anything about these bands and singers but i like Indie rock and  alternative rock bands, there is a band which i've heard it's called ALKALINE TRIO. Guys! very good songs!

07:45 PM Mar 31 2008 |




oh my gold,I've never heard these bands.What a pity.

01:40 PM Mar 31 2008 |




Ilike too

12:57 PM Mar 31 2008 |




There are many rock bands, but actually the best band is Pennywise…..The best hardcore….

10:57 AM Mar 31 2008 |



I haven’t heared the singers they were talking about.In the field of rock music Linkin Park was definitely the best I think.

09:45 AM Mar 31 2008 |

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