Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Stephen Malkmus


When a band breaks up and the front man emerges as a solo act, fans and critics get their knives ready - look for instance at the scathing attacks on Sting by former Police fans and the music press.

But the consensus seems to be that Stephen Malkmus - ex-singer and frontman for much beloved indie-rock band Pavement - is off to a good start in his solo career. With his new, self-titled release now out on Matador, and with an imminent Japan tour, fans get a chance to decide for themselves.

Pavement first came on the scene in 1989, when college dropouts Malkmus and Scott Kannberg hooked up in Stockton, California. The pair later expanded to include Gary Young on percussion, Bob Nastanovich on drums and Mark Ibold on bass. The quintet debuted with Slay Tracks (1933-1969) in 1989, soon becoming heroes of the indie scene thanks to Malkmus' caustic but witty observations and the band's likable lo-fi sound.

A decade-long mission saw Pavement steadily ascend to the top of the alternative circuit, to occupy a hallowed ground shared by groups such as Sonic Youth (whose feedback-drenched experimental approach was a major influence), and Yo La Tengo. But at the peak of their career, Pavement disbanded.

Malkmus emerged on his own with a live solo debut at New York's temple of indie-rock, the Bowery Ballroom, on Jan 25, during which he crash-tested tracks off his brand new album, Stephen Malkmus.

According to a Spin reviewer, the show was stellar: "Malkmus has gone from front-man to only-man, and the role suits him well," the critic opined.

Malkmus was accompanied by his new band - The Jicks - who will no doubt join him in Japan as well.

Stephen Malkmus plays Shibuya Club Quattro on May 16-17. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana