Results for Spoon

interviews

Spoon

One of Jim and Greg's favorite albums of the year so far comes from the indie rock band Spoon. Despite the odd title, they fell for the combination of minimal art pop with Phil Spector-like arrangements and orchestrations. This is the band's sixth album, and the fourth they've made with indie label Merge (also home to another indie success story — Arcade Fire). Jim and Greg start by asking lead singer and songwriter Britt Daniel about the approach to this album. He explains that the band was definitely inspired by Motown groups like The Supremes — something that may come as a surprise to fans who are used to a sparser sound.

One of the people responsible for the“Spoon sound”is producer Mike McCarthy. But, the band also worked with Jon Brion on a couple of songs. Other surprising influences: Queen and AC/DC. Songs like "We Will Rock You," and "Back in Black," are fairly simple and minimal, but they have that rhythm and that“thing”that draw you in. Listen to Spoon's take on that“thing”in the songs "Don't Make Me a Target," "Rhythm and Soul," and "Don't You Evah."

Go to episode 102

Spoon

In nearly 20 years, Spoon has managed to release 8 albums, all of them worth a listen, according to Jim and Greg. That is no small feat. Their latest, They Want My Soul, is a real expansion of their sound, from minimal post punk to a more grown-up soul. Lead singer Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno founded the band in 1993 in Austin, and they talk with Jim and Greg about how they have stayed relevant for so long, working with producer Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Low) and calling back to "Jonathan Fisk."

Go to episode 476

Jon Brion

Jon Brion Jim and Greg revisit one of their favorite interviews in the history of the show: a 2006 conversation with multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and film composer Jon Brion. Brion has produced for artists like Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Spoon, and Kanye West and worked as a session player for Macy Gray and others. He's collaborated with filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson, Michel Gondry, and Charlie Kaufman, providing the score for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Punch-Drunk Love, Synechdoche, New York, I ♥ Huckabees, and more.

But Jon Brion is also an accomplished solo artist with one solo album, Meaningless, to his name. Brion has grown a devoted following for his decades-long residency at the Los Angeles club Largo. At his shows, Brion improvises spectacular sets of originals and covers as he shows off his virtuosity on every instrument. He demonstrates his skills through performances of some of his compositions in front of a small audience. He also demonstrates to Jim and Greg the difference between the art of songwriting (as exemplified by Gershwin and Kurt Cobain) and what he calls "performance pieces."

Go to episode 574

Superchunk

It's a cliché to say it, but when you look up "indie rock," you do in fact see a photo of Superchunk. Since forming in 1989, the North Carolina quartet have helped establish indie rock's DIY model, as well as its sound. Superchunk bassist Laura Ballance and guitarist Mac McCaughan also founded Merge Records, one of the music industry's most successful indie labels. The label is still home to the band, as well as The Arcade Fire, Spoon and Teenage Fanclub. Mac, Laura and bandmates Jim Wilbur and Jon Wurster talk with Jim and Greg about how they've done it their way for so long. They also perform songs from their most recent release Majesty Shredding.

Go to episode 269

Divine Fits

Well they are“super”and they are a“group,”but don't let the categorization make you think any less of the new duo Divine Fits. It combines the talents of Britt Daniel of Spoon Dan Boeckner of Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade, and Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, along with keyboardist Alex Fischel. Britt and“serial-collaborator”Dan (both veterans of the Sound Opinions studio) share the singing and songwriting duties, and the musical relationship began with just a simple phone call…not an email! The result is the aptly named A Thing Called Divine Fits. Dan credits Sister Nancy as inspiration for the title. Check out video of their live performance.

Go to episode 366
specials

A Merge Records Retrospective

This economy has not been easy on independent labels, as Jim and Greg reported a couple of weeks ago regarding Touch and Go here in Chicago. So, it's that much more significant to hear of an indie label going strong for 20 years. This week Jim and Greg talk to the founders of one such label — Merge Records in North Carolina. In 1989, Superchunk members Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance founded Merge as a way to release their music and that of their friends. Twenty years later, it's still growing and has launched such bands as Spoon, The Magnetic Fields, She & Him, and Arcade Fire, who gave the label its first Billboard hit.

Go to episode 173

Summer Road Trip

What better way to round out the summer than with a Sound Opinions (virtual) summer road trip. Too often, New York, L.A. and Nashville get all the music industry attention. But, there are great rock scenes all across the country, so this week Jim and Greg check in with insiders in three music towns coast-to-coast. They talk to Sam Sessa, an entertainment writer for the Baltimore Sun and the host of WTMD's Balitmore Unsigned, Bob Mehr, a music critic at Memphis' Commercial Appeal and Casey Jarman, the music editor at Portland's weekly newspaper the Willamette Week.

Check out these local acts-old favorites and new ones recommended by our city guides.

Go to episode 248
reviews
Hot ThoughtsHot Thoughts available on iTunes

Spoon Hot Thoughts

Austin, Texas-based indie rockers Spoon have teamed again with producer Dave Fridmann for their ninth studio album, Hot Thoughts. The result, according to Greg, is a subterranean disco record where everything becomes a percussion instrument, from the guitar riffs to Britt Daniel's rhythmic vocals. Alternating between minimalist electro-grooves and avant-garde tracks, it's a great Spoon album that the band has been building toward its entire career. Jim concurs, highlighting the inventive drumming of Jim Eno that propels the band. He marvels that Spoon can continously reshuffle the same minimalist ingredients yet always come up with bold new statements. Hot Thoughts gets a double-Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 594
They Want My SoulThey Want My Soul available on iTunes

Spoon They Want My Soul

Next to Yo La Tengo there isn't a longer-running, more reliable indie rock band in business today than Spoon. This year marks twenty years and eight albums for the band, which has had success on both independent and major labels, thanks to a signature sound that only seems to get tighter with each outing. Spoon's latest, They Want My Soul comes four years after the group's previous release and features the same economical and emotional music fans and critics have come to love, but with a subtle twist that Greg feels makes this album more fragile and beautiful than past records. Jim agrees… They Want My Soul is now his second most favorite Spoon album after 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, and he's quick to point out this new album also makes a great dance record thanks to the rhythmic contributions of drummer Jim Eno. Eno's grooves opposite frontman Britt Daniel's vocals have always been the band's secret sauce, and it's still as good as ever. Both critics say They Want My Soul is a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 454
TransferenceGa Ga Ga Ga Ga available on iTunes

Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Spoon also has a new album out called Transference. It's the Austin band's 7th release, and on it they've returned to formula-a very simple one that melds cryptic lyrics with hypnotic rhythms. On their last record, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the band opened up more and included horns and more melodies. Greg wishes they had kept pushing in that direction. Instead they sound like they closed up again. He calls this an album for fans only, and while there are great moments, it's hard to listen to at times. Greg gives Transference a Burn It. Jim is shocked. He admits that Spoon has returned to its artier ways, but he believes it works. For Jim Transference is a great road trip record and a definite Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 216
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Bonus Track Version)Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga available on iTunes

Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

The final album up for review is Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga from Spoon. That's right: five Ga's. The title gives us a tip to the band's attitude. As Greg notes, it seems like they're“intentionally screwing with us.”Taking a cue from Wire and The Talking Heads, Spoon has always specialized in a minimalist sound that is heavy on the rhythms and keyboards, and easy on the frills. That sound continues on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, but Jim was pleasantly surprised to hear the band striking out by including a Stax/Motown sound. He's really excited about this album and gives it an enthusiastic Buy It. Greg agrees, adding that it's how the band uses different elements that makes the sound so special. Nothing lingers for too long, and nothing lacks that all important groove. He also gives Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 84
Majesty ShreddingMajesty Shredding available on iTunes

Superchunk Majesty Shredding

Perhaps no band better symbolizes the indie rock underground than Superchunk. They have been committed to being "indie" both in terms of sound and practice since forming in Chapel Hill in 1989. Two of its members have gone on to run Merge Records, home to Arcade Fire and Spoon. While they never officially broke up, the band hasn't released an album in almost a decade. Majesty Shredding is worth the wait according to Greg. They do pop rock as good as anyone, and Mac McCaughan still sings with the enthusiasm of a kid. Jim agrees, adding that they did lose the plot for a little while. He's happy to hear they have returned to form - simple exuberance - and Superchunk gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 253
A Thing Called Divine FitsA Thing Called Divine Fits available on iTunes

Divine Fits A Thing Called Divine Fits

Jim and Greg are generally dubious of supergroups. Too often they're not the sum of their parts. But Off!'s visit last week had them feeling hopeful about the debut record from yet another indie supergroup, Divine Fits. Divine Fits is composed of songwriters Britt Daniel of Spoon, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade (and Handsome Furs), and drummer Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks. The combination of Daniel and Boeckner, Greg notes, is an interesting and potentially troublesome one. Whereas Daniel is cool and reserved, Boeckner is intense and in your face. So does A Thing Called Divine Fits live up to its lofty pedigree? Greg says it does. Daniel and Boeckner might bring different personalities to this partnership, but the two are kindred spirits when it comes to production style. Both embrace a minimalist, stripped-back approach to recording that Greg says makes listeners hyper-aware of musical details like the occasional castanet or maraca. He gives A Thing Called Divine Fits a Buy It. Jim can‘t echo Greg’s enthusiasm. He says Divine Fits fails by abandoning the most successful elements of its members‘ previous groups. Divine Fits has all the angularity of Spoon, for example, but none of its driving intensity. It has all Handsome Furs’ electronic edifice, without any of the sensuality that made that group compelling. Jim gives A Thing Called Divine Fits a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 355
Blue Planet EyesBlue Planet Eyes available on iTunes

The Preatures Blue Planet Eyes

While Greg discovered Protomartyr at the 2014 SXSW Music Conference, Jim came back from Austin raving about The Preatures. The Australian quintet's new album is called Blue Planet Eyes, and both Jim and Greg think it's the warm, upbeat salve we need during these blistering months. The album was produced by Spoon's Jim Eno, and Greg can hear his taut, syncopated touches all over it. And while Preatures singer Isabella Manfredi is being compared to New Wave divas like Blondie and Chrissie Hynde, Jim adds another joyful influence:“Walking on Sunshine”by Katrina & the Waves. If you're making your list for Santa, add Blue Planet Eyes—a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 470
lists

Best of 2007

It's a critic and a music fan's favorite time of year. Jim and Greg run down their top albums for 2007. You can view their complete lists below.

For more end-of-year discussion, check out the Sound Opinions Message Board.

Go to episode 107

The Best Songs of 2014 - Mixtapes

Before 2014 gets too far back in our rearview mirror, Jim and Greg tackle the timeless art of making a mixtape featuring their favorite songs from 2014. Each host plays a selection of tracks off their mix, but you can stream both in their entirety below.

Go to episode 475

The Best Albums of 2014

Go to episode 471

Top Albums of 2017… So Far

We're halfway through 2017, which means it's time to get a jump on the Best-Of Lists. Here are Jim and Greg's mid-year best Top 10 lists.

Go to episode 604

The Best Songs of 2010 - Mixtapes

At the end of each year, Jim and Greg look back and pick out their favorite songs to make you a mixtape. Think of it as a soundtrack for 2010. They both play samples of the mix during the show, but you can stream both compilations in their entirety.

Go to episode 266
news

Music News

Jim and Greg begin the show with a discussion of Lollapalooza and other summer festivals. There's Coachella in California and Bonnaroo in Tennessee, but Chicago is shaping up to be the major destination for music fans this year. The Lollapalooza lineup is impressive, with a diverse mix of bands including Lolla vets The Flaming Lips and Red Hot Chili Peppers, indie favorites Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins, and Chicago natives Wilco and Kanye West. Plus, the city will be home to two of the biggest independent music festivals: The Pitchfork Music Festival, featuring Destroyer, Art Brut, Spoon and post-punk pioneers Mission of Burma, and the Intonation Music Festival featuring The Streets, Bloc Party, Lupe Fiasco and a rare appearance by 13th Floor Elevators founder Roky Erickson.

Go to episode 21