Malkmus on Letterman, 4/10

In yesterday’s article about Stephen Malkmus, I suggested that Indie Rock’s golden child will never be accepted as a mainstream rocker, despite his label’s attempts to position him as some kind of Thinking Man’s Duncan Sheik.

Proving my point, Malkmus appeared last night (with his band, The Jicks) on The Late Show. Somehow, I don’t think your average Casual Music Buyer is at Tower right now, lining up to purchase the album.

Performing “Jennifer & The Ess-Dog” from his self-titled solo debut, Malkmus was his normal, apathetic self. You could chalk it up to nervousness, if he wasn’t in the middle of a tour that has seen venues much larger than The Late Show studio audience. So that’s not it. What it comes down to is Malkmus own persistence in holding down the ‘Slacker Genius’ tag. “Jennifer & The Ess-Dog” is a gorgeous song, with a sunny disposition and a cool vocal hook. It has the potential to sell a few records to those who can’t argue about which is better, Westing & Musket or Butterglory’s Crumble.

Instead, his charmingly detached performance even elicited a smirk from Dave, who post-song snidely asked “So, how’s Portland?” It was seemingly all Letterman could muster from a pleasant enough, yet forgettable performance from the Northwest quartet modeling the latest in thrift-store chic.

Steve Malkmus: Slack Motherfucker.


(Update: 15 years later, we added video of the performance! – ed. 4/11/2016)

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