Pavement frontman continues to sparkle … hard

At this point, Stephen Malkmus has been a part of the Jicks longer than his initial run as the frontman of Pavement. And while the Jicks will likely never draw or incite hero worship like Malkmus' former band (the one-two punch of Slanted and Enchanted and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is perhaps rivaled only by the Pixies' Surfer Rosa and Doolittle in terms of seminal indie-rock pairings of the late '80s/early '90s), his more recent output is worth digging into, including new Matador album Sparkle Hard. (Safe bet)