In the autumn I saw Parquet Courts in concert. The adulation they received from their young fans got me thinking about underappreciated American rock bands. Allow me to elucidate—with reference to the works of The Walkmen, Dirty Projectors and more. Continue reading Great Underappreciated Songbook
The recent debate between David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors and Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, on the state of indie rock, brought to the public’s eye an issue I’ve been grappling with for a little while. In an age of such discontent, even a radical moderate such as myself can find some solace in the sometimes-disproportionate anger of politically-conscious hip hop. Continue reading Beats, rhymes, and the radical centre
…because they’ve got plenty of their own.
Four years ago, people found Transference off-putting: long, melancholy songs riding on seemingly-endless grooves before cutting out mid-phrase; sparse demos peppering a nocturnal landscape of blank-eyed art rock. They were mistaken, of course, but let bygones be bygones. Continue reading Spoon don’t need your soul
The world is plagued with pardoners, shucks and saviours, and they’re all bearing down on Britt Daniel. Continue reading No time for holy rollers
It’s no understatement to write that Spoon‘s forthcoming eighth album, They Want My Soul, is an album I eagerly anticipate, and from which I expect taut, muscular quality. From the contents of an All Songs Considered interview with the band’s Britt Daniel and Jim Eno which features snippets of new material, I also expect sweetness and light (“I Just Don’t Understand”), dreaminess and R&B (“Inside Out”), rawness and interference (“Knock Knock Knock”). Continue reading Spoon — Rent I Pay
With violent simplicity, a four-day holiday teases with the trappings of summer. Relinquish reason, and fall for this meteorological trick. Continue reading RSD07
Regular readers will know how much I admire the music of Spoon. Any year without new music from Britt Daniel’s outfit is a marginally less enjoyable one; this one, I hope less so, thanks to his side-project with Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade, which is known as Divine Fits. They release an album, A Thing Called Divine Fits, at the end of August, and you can try a track out for size (geddit?) above. “Would That Not Be Nice” nods lovingly at the vocal manipulations of Transference, and the stripped-down garage rock guitars of Kill The Moonlight. There’s also a healthy shot of the Costello-does-soul vibe from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, via the long-limbed bassline. But you shouldn’t think of it as a career-spanning Spoon redux, compressed into four minutes. Continue reading How does it fit?
A while back, I wrote of Spoon and My Morning Jacket, who have been busy keeping rock music alive in an era of laptops, turntables and synthesisers. But now that those bands have become deconstructionists and funk-explorers respectively, who fulfils the role of the revivalist? Continue reading Mahgeetah: rock music in America
Reading Mark Richardson‘s latest Resonant Frequency column, which is all about BASS, and our perceptions of and reactions to it, I was charmed to learn that his favourite song of all time is Aphex Twin’s “Flim“. It’s a gorgeous composition from a musician who often prefers to alarm the listener, and it also represents electronic music at its most elegantly sequenced—calculated, even.
Thinking about “Flim” in such a way made me jump to maths, and from there to Spoon’s “My Mathematical Mind“, which is the rigid arithmetic to Aphex Twin’s differential equation. Or, if you consider the way it builds and grows and complexifies, it’s more like an exponential function.
No verse or chorus in sight, Britt Daniel plies layer upon layer as the song wears on, rocketing it skyward at an ever-increasing pace. Atop an octave-jumping piano drone, we get skronky guitar-work, frazzled brass and crashing percussion. And then, right at the end, the elements coalesce and the track coalesces into serenity, like the eventual solving of an equation. How very mathematical indeed.