Forget cohabiting and childbirth. When all the records you once revelled in start reaching their milestone second and third reissues, that’s when it’s appropriate to start mourning your age. In just a few months, it’ll be almost 21 years since Pavement released their third record, Wowee Zowee – an opus full of stoner oddities, and songs about castration, brazil nuts and other stuff only Stephen Malkmus could apply his half-baked, poetic genius to.
It’s a decent milestone to reference – as Steve Bourke has done. S M Jenkins (Malkmus’ alias on Wowee Zowee) is the new name of the Step-Panther frontman’s solo project. ‘Mikrowave’ is the first track off his upcoming EP, Out There In The Zone.
Bourke wrote and recorded the EP when he was living in “relative isolation” in Mittagong, in the NSW Highlands located 110KM out of Sydney. Bourke is on his lonesome here, so Step-Panther fans shouldn’t be expect the Superchunk anthems (cc: ‘User Friendly’, ‘Zombie Summer’) the band stirred up on Strange But Nice.
‘Mikrowave’ rolls on at a steady pace with the kind of breakfast positivity Kurt Vile rallied when he brought out ‘Walkin’ on A Pretty Day’. Try as you may – it’s hard to hate this song. Bourke’s nuances are affected with that self-effacing slacker drawl, here ironically singing about “saving time” instead of wasting it. Bourke notes that the track was about “trying to make the best out of whatever you’ve got going on”. And he does – as he murmurs some perspective over ‘Mikrowave’s melodic mid-tempo guitar line, assuring us that it’s alright to be just where you are.
Out There In The Zone is set for release in late February.
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