All 3 entries tagged Spoon

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August 25, 2009

Wot I Bought : July (part 2)

One thing that Emusic seems to be alright at, is stocking those little filler EP’s and singles that seem to get lost and never listened to when you’re wandering through your CD collection. I managed to gather a few, and all these bands have been featured on this blog sometime before I’m sure…

The National – Wasp Nest

The National - Cherry Tree

At the same time as grabbing this, I picked up the self-titled debut, but that, understandably, felt a little unfocused. By contrast, this stop-gap EP between the sophomore LP Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers and the breakthrough Alligator is happily a more succinct distillation of what the band are all about. It features a song each from both those albums (in my opinion, the best ones – a live version of Murder Me Rachael and All The Wine) along with five non-LP originals.

At worst, these do feel like outtakes from the albums, and keep a rather stately pace compared to the featured two, but The National have always been about these understated buildups. Matt Berninger’s deep distinct vocal wrapped around cycling guitar and piano figures or sometimes also a battering rhythmic section (see the end of Cherry Tree or Murder Me Rachael), cementing the identity the band have built up over the course of their career. Rinse, lather, soak, if you’re feeling better… repeat. While it’s no means the best place to start (I’d say the latest, Boxer), if you don’t have the time to delve into the back catalogue, this allows you to dip in at your leisure.

Start with: All The Wine
Spotify Band Page | Buy at Amazon
Unfortunately, it’s not on Spotify, but ‘All The Wine’, ‘Murder Me Rachael’ and ‘Wasp Nest’ are…

Spoon – 30 Gallon Tank EP

I love Spoon, so I was a little gutted that the Emusic catalogue could only muster up this EP as an offering. The titular single was taken from their sophomore album Series of Sneaks (back in ‘98!), and has the guitar squall of debut Telephono and the more careful arrangement and production approach that would come to the fore with next album Girls Can Tell. That said, unless you really like the band I can’t recommend this record alone, the ‘remix’ of Car Radio (subtitled ‘Different’) is pretty much unlistenable, and the other two tracks pretty much define the term ‘B-side’.

However! Don’t let it put you off the idea of getting into Spoon… they are great! Honest!

Start with: something else in the catalogue…
Spotify Band Link | Band Website
As with The National, not on Spotify, but its got the two most recent albums… listen to them!

The Clientele – That Night, A Forest Grew EP

The Clientele - That Night, A Forest Grew

I have posted about the last two Clientele albums on this blog and this EP acts as a compass pointing towards the next one, Bonfires on the Heath, arriving anytime soon. That forthcoming album will feature one of the tracks here, Share the Night, that shows a blissed out, dare I say, funky side to the Clientele.

All the tracks here share a similar ‘bounce’, an energy that expounds upon the previous effort’s glimmers of sunshine. However, Alistair still sounds as resigned as ever (“Somehow in this dream I’m getting tired” he laments in jaunty opener Retiro Park) yet the Zombies guitar freakouts that poked their head out from the haze on Impossible and Garden at Night make a return with more purpose and more vigour.

A great EP from these guys (and gal), making the wait for the new album, if not unbearable in anticipation, at least somewhat bearable with four fun pop songs to stick on repeat while we do…

Start With: Share The Night
Spotify Band Link | Buy at Amazon
No EP on Spotify, but you can download the new track ‘I Wonder Who We Are’ for free here

Okkervil River – The President’s Dead

Okkervil River - The President's Dead

I’m going to see the band up in Glasgow in a few weeks, and in a moment of momentary madness I grabbed this single, even though you can download the track for free here and listen to the B-side The Room I’m Hiding In on Spotify.

That said, I love the song, it’s by no means their best, but a great stream of consciousness opening with a simple four chord turnaround before eventually bursting (literally) into a glorious one-line title-repeating chorus with that keyboard line that sounds like it’s breaking the speakers it’s being played through. These things don’t have to be complicated… just good. The B-side is less good, but who cares? This is goooood.

Spotify link

The Long Blondes – (various B-sides)

Just a couple left here from the now (very sadly) broken up Sheffield five-piece, so I’ll make it easy for you. B-sides are generally composites of other ideas or experiments… aren’t they?

Five Ways To End It = A Knife For The Girls x “Couples” more dance-y direction
Fulwood Babylon = Giddy StratospheresGiddy + (backing vocals x (chorus + reverb)) + a groove to kill for…

In layman’s terms, yeah, pretty good actually…

Spotify Link

Next up: rather predictably… August! In another predictable move I’m going to change the format again! And do single albums again, because I tend to write more, and more clearly… I think.


August 11, 2006

Stop Me If You've Heard This Already

I'm fascinated by the subliminal way songs seem to sound directly like each other. Someone commented on the Elastica post that the song Connection is said to rip the riff from Three Chord Rhumba by Wire (who have also just been covered). I don't know how deliberate it was, but I've got a couple of occurances here that are so unlikely to not be anything but pure coincidence.

Spoon – The Streets

Spoon - Streets

I was completely flummoxed by this pairing at first, because the Spoon song appeared way back in 1998 album A Series of Sneaks. Yet I only got the album around when the second Streets album A Grand Don't Come For Free was about to be released.

Mike Skinner details a laddish holiday out on the pull, while the Spoon boys take a shorter slower stomper through the riff. I love 'em both, so take your pick here:

Spoon – Utilitarian MP3 Expired [buy A Series of Sneaks]
The Streets – Fit But You Know It MP3 Expired [buy A Grand Don't Come For Free]

The Avalanches – Jens Lekman

The Avalanches - Jens Lekman

This second pairing seem a little further apart but they are closer and more obvious than you might think. Jens Lekman has obviously inadvertantly sampled the same record as those Avalanches, and despite the differing genres these artists represent, they are both relaxed bittersweet tales of love. I prefer Jens Lekman's cut, just for the beautiful lyric of a simple misunderstood conversation and the brilliant double drum loops, beating the Australians at their own sampling game.

"She said our love was make believe,
But I thought she said maple leaves,
And when she talked about a fall,
I thought she talked about Mark E. Smith,
I never understood at all"

Here's the pair for your pleasure:
Jens Lekman – Maple Leaves MP3 Expired [buy When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog]
The Avalanches – Since I Left You MP3 Expired [buy Since I Left You]


July 09, 2006

Meet the Contributors: James Riley

As much as I hate having to choose favourites, this is a list of things…

Name: James Riley
Number one in UK when I was born: Michael Hardcastle '19' (n-n-n-n-nineteen)
First album bought: Suggs – The Lone Ranger
First single bought: Coolio – Gangsta's Paradise (had to get that in there)
First gig attended: Coldplay at the Manchester Apollo (they were good back then godamnit)
Favourite album: The Shins – Oh! Inverted World
Favourite song: The Walkmen – We've Been Had
Favourite gig: A cross between the Dirtbombs in Manchester's Night and Day, The Rapture at Manchester Academy 2 and maybe Afterburner at the White Horse (haha, gotta fit some self–love in here somewhere)
Favourite band: Right now, it's probably Broken Social Scene
Favourite genre: Four (sometimes 3 or 5!) middle–class guitar lads playing indie rock. I can't help it.
The band you like but are embarassed about/feel is a little out of place in your collection: Smashing Pumpkins… I mean, what's an indie kid doing with loud music in his collection? Especially five albums of it…
Number of CDs bought since 1st January 2006: Around about 20… I'll update you in a week when the loan comes through.
What musical event would you most like to see happen: All the members of The Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene and The Polyphonic Spree forming a mental orchestral supergroup with David Bowie as frontman...obviously
Musical heroes: I'd choose David Bowie, but apparently he's taken (curse you Mat!), so I'd have to say Mick Collins from the Dirtbombs... Detroit garage rock legend
Music's biggest enemy/ies in my opinion are: Band stylists… it's almost cringeworthy some of these photo shoots nowadays.

Today's tunes, brought to you by the letter 'S' (and my love of guitars):

Spoon – Sister Jack MP3 Expired [buy Gimme Fiction]
The Strokes w/ Regina Spektor – Post–Modern Girls MP3 Expired [buy Reptilia single]
The Shins – They'll Soon Discover MP3 Expired [buy Spongebob Squarepants soundtrack]
Supergrass – Grace MP3 Expired [buy Life on Other Planets]
\\


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