Stephen Malkmus unveils new solo record alongside ‘Xian Man’ single

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Stephen Malkmus has announced details about his new album, Traditional Techniques – out March 6 via Domino – alongside lead single, ‘Xian Man’.

Traditional Techniques is Malkmus’ third solo LP without the Jicks (or Pavement) and is new phase folk music for new phase folks.

It’s packed with handmade arrangements, modern folklore, and 10 songs written and performed in his singular voice. An adventurous new album in an instantly familiar mode, Traditional Techniques creates a serendipitous trilogy with the loose fuzz of the JicksSparkle Hard (2018) and the solo bedroom experiments of Groove Denied (2019).

Taken together, these three very different full-lengths in three years highlight an ever-curious songwriter committed to finding untouched territory.

Listen to ‘Xian Man’ by Stephen Malkmus on the Official Fantasy Premier League playlist on Spotify.

Malkmus took on Traditional Techniques as a kind of self-dare. Conceived while recording Sparkle Hard at Portland’s Halfling Studio, Malkmus had observed the variety of acoustic instruments available for use.

The idea escalated within a matter of weeks into a full set of songs, and shortly thereafter into a realised and fully committed album. When he returned to Halfling, Malkmus drew from a whole new musical palette–including a variety of Afghani instruments – to support an ache both quizzical and contemporary.

The resulting Traditional Techniques is expansive and thrilling. Alongside gorgeous folk music, there are also occasional bursts of flute-laced swagger, straight-up commune rock (‘Xian Man’), and mind-bending fuzz.

Centred around the songwriter’s 12-string acoustic guitar, and informed by a half-century of folk-rock reference points, Traditional Techniques is the product of Malkmus and Halfling engineer/arranger-in-residence Chris Funk (The Decemberists). Additionally, Matt Sweeney (Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Chavez) plays guitar throughout.

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