Pavement had given Stephen Malkmus the perfect forum for his anecdotal stream-of-consciousness lyrics and laissez-faire delivery. His progressive and classic rock influences juxtapose nicely against his no frills sonics (a wah-wah pedal is his primary indulgence) and his free-spirited and shameless background vocals that recall girl-group pop in their whimsy. Real Emotional Trash works best at its most compact. The simple catchiness of “Out of Reaches,” the New Wave-inflected “Gardenia” and the psychedelic brood of “Cold Son” are like quick snapshots of the influences running around Malkmus’ musical vocabulary. The ten-minute title track serves several different masters, beginning with a trudging Velvet Underground rhythm that eventually smoothes out into a highway cruise, while the six and a half minute “Baltimore” includes a few twisty instrumental passages that suggest someone’s been listening to Jethro Tull. Malkmus has never been shy about cutting and pasting from wherever it suits him.