Recently Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks released the beautifully breezy single 'Middle America', showing the former Pavement-man at his sharpest and most enjoyable for a while. Now comes the follow up single 'Shiggy', and the news that the Jicks will be releasing a new album called Sparkle Hard on May 18th.

'Shiggy' is a little more weary-sounding than its predecessor, with a thick and fuzzy bass forming the core, with splashy drums adorning it, and of course Malkmus at his post delivering effortless hooks and insightful poetry. Although the song is relatively sludgy for the Jicks, and the lyrics are a bit more serious, Malkmus is playful as ever in his vocal performance, sliding from his sing-speak up into a helium-filled shriek at certain points. It sounds like he and his band have been rejuvenated, and we hope it stays uniformly this way through the new album.

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks' Sparkle Hard comes out through Domino on May 18th, and can be pre-ordered here. They'll be heading to the the UK to play these dates:

Wed 17th October – Albert Hall, Manchester
Thurs 18th October – SWG3, Glasgow
Fri 19th October – Vicar Street, Dublin
Sun 21st October – SWX, Bristol
Mon 22nd October – The Asylum, Birmingham
Wed 24th October – Hackney Arts Centre, London
Thurs 25th October – Concorde 2, Brighton
Mon 29th October – Lido, Berlin
Tues 30th October – Stadtgarten, Cologne
Wed 31st October – Melkweg, Amsterdam