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Video of the Moment #2461: Spoon

 
By on Friday, 27th October 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Texas indie rock giants Spoon released their latest album, their ninth called ‘Hot Thoughts’, back in March when Carrie and I were at SXSW 2017. I had some thoughts (no pun intended) on the title track single after seeing them perform in Austin. Their latest music video for ‘Do I Have to Talk You Into It’ is a fun one, in that frontman Britt Daniel is the subject to their director Brook Linder’s whims on Photoshop. That is, Daniel’s famous form is altered, erased and reduced to a skeleton through Linder’s strokes of a mouse. Watch the new video from Spoon below. To read more of our past coverage here on TGTF on Spoon, go here.

 

Spoon / June and November 2017 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 19th April 2017 at 9:00 am
 

Texas indie favourites Spoon have announced a trio of live dates in England in November 2017. These are in addition to another trio of dates in the UK in June already on sale. The group will no doubt be playing classics from their back catalogue alongside new tunes from their newest album, ‘Hot Thoughts’, which was released in mid-March on Matador Records. You can read my review of the title track single through here; the group performed at SXSW 2017 last month. The new winter dates will go on sale this Friday, the 21st of April, at 9 AM. To read much more on TGTF about Spoon, use this link.

Tuesday 27th June 2017 – Manchester Gorilla
Wednesday 28th June 2017 – Glasgow Arts School
Friday 30th June 2017 – London Forum
Monday 6th November 2017 – Brighton Concorde 2 (on sale Friday 21 April 2017)
Tuesday 7th November 2017 – Liverpool Arts Club (on sale Friday 21 April 2017)
Thursday 9th November 2017 – Cambridge Junction (on sale Friday 21 April 2017)

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Live Gig Video: inside Spoon’s ‘Eno’s’ residency, set to ‘Hot Thoughts’

 
By on Wednesday, 12th April 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

I can personally attest to the fact that The Main Thursday night during SXSW 2017, dubbed jokily ‘Eno’s’ for Spoon‘s 3-day residency during the week, was a hot, sweaty, uncomfortable mess. I was there for the final of 3 nights where Britt Daniel introduced excited fans to their then upcoming album ‘Hot Thoughts’, their ninth and marking their return to Matador Records. (You can read my review of the sultry title track single through here.) Seemingly as proof of the low production values of the residency at the Main, the band have released this live video taking badly shot clips from the shows. You could never accuse Spoon of wasting their money on ridiculous stage setups! Watch it below. Our archive on Spoon on TGTF is right this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrLVAQYfeZ4[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017: BBC 6 Music at the British Music Embassy, plus Spoon and friends at The Main (Thursday night, part 2) – 16th March 2017

 
By on Monday, 3rd April 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

Thursday night at SXSW 2017 at Latitude 30 was a showcase sponsored by BBC 6 Music and the UK Association of Independent Music (AIM). Carrie covered the first act, and I’ll let her tell you about her experience herself. I was able to catch the next three acts on the docket. Lookman Adekunle Salami, who goes by the more streetwise moniker L.A. Salami, is a singer/songwriter who has gentle and bluesy sides to his music.

LA Salami, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

Maybe I had missed his softer, introspective numbers because I arrived after my 5 bands in an hour test, but I was surprised by how loud he and his band was for what I did manage to catch. I realise that the British Music Embassy is the place for UK acts to be seen and to make an impression and while I did enjoy the funkiness of the performance, I felt disappointed the set sounded very similar from song to song. NPR seem to have realised this too, as they invited Salami to perform an acoustic number solo on the rooftop of the Hilton Austin, which I would have enjoyed more.

Meilyr Jones, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017, 2

I’d been pulled left and right to see Meilyr (pronounced “MAY-leer”) Jones at SXSW, and Thursday would be the night I would finally get my chance. There are certain moments you always remember if you are covering SXSW as a music journalist: during the soundcheck, Jones waving and grinning slightly maniacally at me like I was a little kid as I was setting up my camera is one of those moments. Emcee for the evening Steve Lamacq commented that his sound reminded him of Aretha Franklin. White man from Wales, black woman from Detroit…how and why, exactly, would those worlds ever intersect?

Meilyr Jones, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

Listen to the big band foot-stomper ‘How to Recognise a Work of Art’, and you will understand exactly what Lammo means. The man also appears not to know – or understand – that the human body has limitations: this set was the first time I’ve seen anyone attempt the caterpillar on the Latitude 30 stage, coupled with what looked like spastic pop locking. Of any act I saw at SXSW, he was the unlikeliest (I thought anyway) to have fan boys, but there were a group of guys down the front who dance and screamed and shouted for more. He was their ‘Don Juan’, if you will. As echoed by many I spoke with, Jones was definitely an unexpected find for many in Austin for the week For sure, the British Music Embassy will never be the same again.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlGwQYCw-5E[/youtube]

She Drew the Gun from the Wirral were up next. Louisa Roach and her band won Glastonbury’s 2016 Emerging Talent competition and they are a favourite of 6 Music’s, so their appearance on this night isn’t a surprise. After such a strange yet weirdly engaging set from Meilyr Jones, it was hard to get back into more standard indie rock mode. The socially conscious ‘Poem’ is a fragile moment deserving kudos for its content, but I felt unconvinced this was the year for them to come out to SXSW. After a handful of songs hanging out in that weird no man’s land between indie and folk but being neither fully, I left for my next adventure.

She Drew the Gun British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

As mentioned in my review of the sexy title track single ‘Hot Thoughts’, Texan band Spoon took over The Main for a 3-night residency at this year’s SXSW. It was all in anticipation of the release of ‘Hot Thoughts’ the album on Friday. To be honest and based on how many people I guessed would want to see them, I didn’t think I had a chance to get into The Main for any of the nights they were playing. However, I had some luck that morning in getting a press pass for the final night, so that I could hear the single that had impressed me so much being played live.

For all 3 nights, barring the special guests announced on the day (Tuesday’s was The New Pornographers, Wednesday’s was !!!), nearly all of the bands supporting Spoon were from the local area. A fave of Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Sweet Spirit are proud to be an Austin band; their ‘St. Mojo’ album out this Friday is being released on Austin’s Nine Mile Records. ‘Collective’ is a better word to describe them than ‘band’: they currently have nine members and somehow all of them, plus all their equipment fit on the stage.

Sweet Spirit, The Main, Thursday 16 March 2017

I’ve seen ‘country rock’ bandied around to describe them, but you’ve never heard a country rock band like this before. ‘Take Me to a Party’, they do. With that many members, theirs is a cacophonous but entertaining mélange of sound and attitude. While I don’t think I’d choose to listen to a band like theirs – there’s nothing subtle or really artful about their music – they’re definitely a band who will get folks dancing. Trouble is, we were packed in like sardines on the floor, so dancing was impossible.

With anticipation building in the Main, I was pretty sure I was the only person in the room that didn’t know who would go on next. At first, all I saw was a cowboy-looking guy pacing on stage with visible anxiety and wondered who he was. It has been a while since his band went on an extended hiatus, with many of their members going on to their own solo projects. But I will always think of Hamilton Leithauser as popular Noughties American band The Walkman’s frontman. For his last solo album, he joined forces with Rostam Batmanglij, formerly of Vampire Weekend, to come up with ‘I Had a Dream You Were Mine’. Oddly for someone who has spent most of his adult life performing to people, I never got the sense that he was 100% comfortable on stage. Maybe he felt naked with his wingman Rostam?

Hamilton Leithauser, The Main, Thursday 16 March 2017

Older and wiser than his Walkmen days, Leithauser’s new career as a solo artist has been an interesting evolution. There’s a country air to some of the songs on his latest LP (‘Peaceful Morning’), which makes sense given his preference for an acoustic in live performance. But on LP opener ‘A 1000 Times’, he goes from crooner to tortured performer in the span of 4 minutes. Which is the real Hamilton Leithauser or rather, which guise will he choose going forward? Food for thought.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9FILAkKinQ[/youtube]

Britt Daniel had spent the evening passing in and out of the green room to periodically check on the proceedings. But now it was time for the main event, Spoon. The crowd roared to life when Daniel and co. took the stage; Daniel rewarded some fans who had probably been stood there since the venue opened that night by shaking outstretched hands and kissing ladies’ palms. ‘Do I Have to Talk You Into It’ to start the set seemed like a knowing joke to the devoted; ‘Hot Thoughts’ quickly followed it, bringing up the energy in the room that seemed to have been sapped out during Leithauser’s set.

Spoon, The Main,  Thursday 16 March 2017

But they weren’t there just to preview the new album. Spoon wowed punters with ‘Inside Out’ (with a synthesised harp?) and ‘The Beast and Dragon, Adored’ from earlier albums. I scanned the crowd and saw the look of wonderment on faces and every word to their older songs on their lips. Not only was I out of my depth, it no longer made sense for someone like me who wasn’t a massive fan of theirs to be second row from the front. At SXSW, I’m of the opinion that no-one should stay in a venue any longer than needed, and this is especially true if you’re not paying attention to who is onstage and your sole intention is to get drunk. You can do that in any bar without a band playing.

In a world when a lot of things are inherently unfair, leaving a packed venue to let the next super fan in the queue outside dying to get in is a simple act of kindness not enough people are willing to do. Bending my head down to speak into the ear of the young woman next to me, I told her I was leaving and to get ready to take my spot as soon as I made a move. She had a look of incredulity on her face, but it was clear she was grateful. In the end, this is a music festival for fans and full of fans. BE NICE. It isn’t hard to be nice.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Single Review: Spoon – Hot Thoughts

 
By on Thursday, 30th March 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

While indie stalwarts Spoon have not reached the heights of success that, say, Coldplay or The Killers, they enjoy the admiration of a devoted fan base. They are also a band from Austin, which affords them the privilege of appearing at SXSW really whenever they want, however they want. So it makes total sense that ahead of the release of their ninth album ‘Hot Thoughts’, they were able to organise a 3-day residency Tuesday to Thursday at The Main during the festival this year, culminating with the release of the LP on Matador Records on the Friday. As a further joke, the band dubbed the residency “Eno’s”, after their drummer Jim Eno. (For context: Emo’s is a former SXSW venue in town that hosts indie gigs the rest of the year.) The band further capped things off on release day, performing midday Friday at the Radio Day Stage in the convention center.

Thanks to excellent timing and a press pass, I was able to get into the Main Thursday night in Austin to see them perform. I also purchased the physical LP in person before I left the venue and considered reviewing it as a whole. However, because I’m not a Spoon super fan, I didn’t think by doing a review I’d be doing you, the readers – or Spoon for that matter – any favours. So instead, I’ll be giving my thoughts on the title track single. I ended up hearing ‘Hot Thoughts’ for the first time on a SiriusXM channel, probably Alt Nation, on an unseasonably warm February day in Washington with the windows rolled down. Had I not been prompted by the display on my car’s dashboard, I never in a million years would have guessed it was them. I mean, really. Spoon goes dance pop? With loads of cowbell, handclaps and scandalous, suggestive oohs? Ohhhh, yes.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6KFBFg5q1Y[/youtube]

Disappointingly, to me anyway, ‘Hot Thoughts’ isn’t representative of the rest of the album. What is the song, or the album for that matter, about? In an interview with Minnesotan public radio station The Current during the week in Austin, gangly frontman Britt Daniel was coy reticent, saying simply that perhaps the latest effort is “more sex-focused than our previous albums”. Hmm. ‘Do I Have to Talk You Into It?’, anyone? The more I thought about the song while we were in Austin, the more perfect I felt it was for the carnival of crazy that SXSW is. You’re surrounded by a ton of people from a ton of different places who you’re likely never to see again, and as mentioned by The Current’s interviewer, they’re pretty attractive people too. Daniel sings, “could be your accent mixing with mine / you got me uptight, twisting inside / hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time”. Opposites attract, and let’s face it, the unique lilt of an accent uncommon in your daily life is just one ingredient in the recipe of falling for someone.

Being around someone unusual and in equally unusual environs can further set things up for attraction. Daniel explains the seemingly strange lyric about “your teeth shining so white / light up this side street in Shibuya tonight” was inspired by a Japanese man who commented on Daniel’s girlfriend’s pearly whites as part of a pick-up line. “I thought that was a pretty far out, maybe desperate but funny way of hitting on her”, he said to Esquire. Daniel further admitted to the men’s lifestyle magazine that following Prince’s death last year, he was spurred on to relisten to The Purple One’s back catalogue, which would reasonably account for the new album’s preoccupation with getting it on.

If I’ve learned anything about attraction in this lifetime, it’s that you can never plan for it. It hits you in the face and the stomach. It makes your knees go limp in the presence of this beguiling person. And unfortunately, it blinds you and hopefully, only temporarily. ‘Hot Thoughts’ thoughtfully chronicles the frustration of sexual tension and the inherent confusion in misinterpreting signs: “is it your motion signalling cues…you must be trouble for sure”.

The insecurity doesn’t last long. Daniel turns things around before the end, making a single word change in the chorus so it’s now focused on the object of his affection’s own hot thoughts about him. He’s so confident that he’s hooked her, he throws out the vaguely Shakepearean line “my rhyme maketh you mine”, followed by the declaration, “you know, I think all, I think all your love is enough”. Except for the down tempo bridge, the instrumentation throughout doesn’t change. However, with this mood change before the song’s conclusion, ‘Hot Thoughts’ ends not in defeat, but on a triumphant note that love has won.

Britt Daniel, dear sir, you have a bright future in writing Valentine’s Day cards. You know, if this rock music thing doesn’t work out. Wordsmithing doesn’t come easy. I salute you.

9.5/10

‘Hot Thoughts’, the ninth album from Austin band Spoon, is out now on Matador Records. I know I can’t bring you back with me to The Main, but you can get a taste of Spoon performing ‘Hot Thoughts’ earlier this month, on Jimmy Kimmel Live below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkxz93GohDs[/youtube]

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: FLOODfest’s inaugural event in Austin

 
By on Thursday, 12th March 2015 at 11:00 am
 

This year marks the premiere of FLOODfest at SXSW, sponsored by Flood Magazine and personal media startup Lyve. The FLOODfest bill encompasses four daytime showcases and three action-packed night shows at the Cedar Street Courtyard, beginning on Wednesday the 18th of March and running through Saturday the 21st. Daytime showcases are open to the public with advance RSVP, but admission will be first come, first served based on venue capacity. Each day show will open with a smaller preliminary showcase from 11 AM to 1 PM before the main events begin. Evening shows will require official SXSW badges and wristbands for entry and promise to extend late into the night with big name crowd draws Spoon, Courtney Barnett and Run the Jewels.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/eqd-xQXo7nc[/youtube]

The Wednesday daytime showcase in particular is scheduled to include several acts of interest to TGTF fans. The lineup involves folk punk collective Skinny Lister (read our SXSW preview on them here), rock veteran Carl Barât and his new band the Jackals and populist troubadour Frank Turner, who is in Austin not only to perform his music, but also to serve as a Music Convention panelist and to promote his new memoir ‘The Road Beneath My Feet’ (after SXSW he will return to the UK to promote it on a book tour). The Wednesday night showcase will feature Massachusetts quartet Speedy Ortiz as well as Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, performing in his solo side project guise as DJ Windows 98.

Thursday’s highlights include Years & Years and the Ting Tings (read our SXSW preview on them here) during the day, with the Vaccines opening the activities for the nighttime show. The Friday afternoon showcase will wrap up with Best Coast, and the Friday evening show will feature a set by TGTF favourite and SXSW 2014 alumnus Until the Ribbon Breaks. The festivities will wind down on Saturday afternoon with a showcase of Warner Brothers Records artists including current American radio stars Big Data and Priory.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/vdoym9KNbl0[/youtube]

The full lineup for FLOODfest at SXSW is listed below. However, as always, we recommend that you keep an eye on the FLOODfest Web site for updated information, as acts are subject to change.

Wednesday 18th March

11 AM – 1 PM Dutch Impact Showcase: Taymir, Sevdaliza, Jacco Gardner
1 PM – 6 PM INgrooves/XtraMile Showcase: Avid Dancer, Skinny Lister, Geographer, Carl Barât and the Jackals, Frank Turner
8 PM – 2 AM Taymir, Dotan, Basecamp, Speedy Ortiz, DJ Windows 98, Spoon

Thursday 19th March

11 AM – 1 PM Norway Showcase: Marit Larsen, Haust, Hanne Kolstø
1 PM – 6 PM Paradigm/ASCAP Showcase: Hippo Campus, Swimm, Tove Stryke, Years & Years, The Ting Tings
8 PM – 2 AM The Vaccines, Viet Cong, Metz, King Tuff, Courtney Barnett

Friday 20th March

11 AM – 1 PM Sweden Showcase: Amason, Indevotion, Good Harvest
1 PM – 6 PM Capitol Records Group Showcase: Son Real, BJ the Chicago Kid, James Davis, Seinabo Sey, Halsey, Best Coast
8 PM – 2 AM Mick Jenkins, Nosaj Thing, Until the Ribbon Breaks, Run the Jewels

Saturday 21st March

11 AM – 1 PM Volumen Showcase: The Brevet, Ejambre, Apolo
1 PM – 6 PM Warner Brothers Records Showcase: Dylan Gardner, Mystery Skulls, Priory, Greg Holden, Big Data, Twin Shadow

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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