Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus just released a new one from his forthcoming album with The Jicks, out May 18. “Refute,” a duet with Kim Gordon, is a country ditty about infidelity. But rather than being the victim of it, as she notoriously was in her marriage with Sonic Youth bandmate Thurston Moore, Gordon narrates the role of “a woman who dared to fall head first for her young au pair.” Malkmus, meanwhile, sings about a “man who dared to fall head over heels for a woman” even though “the world was telling him love is dead.”
In a statement, Malkmus explains that the idea was to “queer the duet” by using “Nashville tropes in light of current trends in evolutionary psychology” and reversing “the classic He Said/She Said narrative, where in this case the ‘wife’ is the cheater, and the omniscient narrator enters at the end to offer cold comfort.”
The country groove is definitely a departure for Gordon, though Malkmus, a noted horse enthusiast, has flirted with it on songs like Pavement’s “Range Life.” He recently told Talkhouse, “I don’t really like country as much as a lot of people. I do like electric country like the Meat Puppets or the idea of the Eagles but not actually the Eagles.” He compared his recent country-tinged songs to “Velvet Underground ‘fourth’ style country.”
You can listen to the song on various platforms here.