What Favor Did Stephen Malkmus Do For Lorde?

The past and perhaps future Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus has reconvened his band the Jicks for a new album called Sparkle Hard. It’s coming out next month, and it’ll be the first new Jicks album since 2014’s Wig Out At Jagbags. We’ve already posted the early songs “Middle America” and “Shiggy,” and another new track, “Refute,” features guest vocals from former Sonic Youth co-leader Kim Gordon. But Malkmus thought about using a different guest vocalist for the song. He thought about using Lorde.

In a mysterious and intriguing bit from Pitchfork’s new interview with Malkmus, Pitchfork’s Alex Frank speaks with Malkmus about Lorde, and Malkmus remains as evasive as possible. Here’s that excerpt:

MALKMUS: I thought if Kim couldn’t do it, I was gonna ask Lorde to do it, ’cause I thought Lorde owed me a favor.

FRANK: For what?

MALKMUS: I did something for her. I don’t wanna say. I did her a favor.

FRANK: But you can’t tell me what?

MALKMUS: Not really. It wasn’t a big deal. It’s not very exciting. It obviously wasn’t big enough to get her to potentially sing on a tune. Maybe her parents are Pavement fans or something, so I’m still hoping.

This whole exchange seems designed to leave us guessing, and, well, mission accomplished. So what favor did Stephen Malkmus do for Lorde? Did he clear a Pavement sample for a forthcoming Lorde B-side? Did he let her use his NBA League Pass password? Did he tell her where to get the best fries in Portland? Did he teach her how to shoe a horse? We need to know!

Improbably, Kim Gordon and Lorde now have two things in common. They both, of course, filled in for Kurt Cobain when Nirvana were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.