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23 Jan 2010 23:57

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Music: Saturday Mixtape: Are the sad-sap Eels not made for these times?

  • 1. Most bands who aren’t Spoon would take a mainstream-rock-touching victory lap like 2007’s “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” and push even further towards success. But Spoon is Spoon, and Spoon makes songs like “The Mystery Zone” (and albums like the freaking awesome “Transference“) which are challenging (and avoid verse/chorus/verse boredom) but by no means inaccessible. And that’s why Spoon rules.
  • 2. Pitchfork hated the latest Eels album, and we think we know why. The level of directness Mark Oliver Everett touches upon in the songs on “End Times,” especially “In My Younger Days,” is super-high. It ditches the wry humor and straight up goes for the sad sap music. And at 46, the dude’s quickly looking like an elder statesman of the sad sap set. Throughout the late ’90s, music this direct dominated indie rock (see Elliott Smith, Sparklehorse, and well, Eels). And nowadays, it feels out of place. In our opinion, though, that’s why we like it. Even if Pitchfork hates it.
  • 3. Speaking of sad sap music, alt-country guy Ryan Bingham is gunning for Ryan Adams’ mantle and might just win it, thanks to “Crazy Heart.” Bingham – who’s halfway between Adams and Bruce Springsteen – wrote the movie’s theme song, “The Weary Kind,” which is destined to get nominated for an Oscar thanks to the longstanding buzz the movie has.
  • 4. With a frenetic attack reminiscent of Dan Deacon (with way more guitars thrown in for good measure), Fang Island’s “Daisy” is the kind of everywhere-at-once tune we can get behind on its good looks alone. It makes us look forward to their full album, out next month.
  • 5. Are The Avett Brothers as powerful when it’s just Avett Brother? Seth Avett released a handful of albums as Timothy Seth Avett As Darling back in the day, and the band’s old label, Ramseur, re-released them late last year. “Some Bad Dream” shows where The Avett Brothers were headed even if it wasn’t all the way there.

19 Jan 2010 22:37

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01 Nov 2009 11:18

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Music: That giddy sound you hear is us freaking out about Spoon

The decade’s most consistently awesome band has another likely solid album, “Transference,” coming out in January. Get ready to swoon over Britt Daniel again. source

12 Oct 2009 09:57

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Offbeat: Meet the Cub Scout “criminal,” the latest zero-tolerance victim

6-year-old Zachary Christie was a little too resourceful in bringing a combo fork/knife/spoon setup to school. Zero tolerance crashed down on him. source

05 Sep 2009 16:08

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Music: Our Saturday Mixtape decade-in-review continues with 2001’s best

  • 1. Rufus Wainwright came out of the gate strong, and maybe lost a little steam after the second album, but “Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk” definitely isn’t the point where he lost the plot.
    2. Quiet wasn’t the new loud, but the sorta-movement created a couple of pretty solid bands between Kings of Convenience and Turin Brakes, whose “Emergency 72” holds up well considering its current lack of musical context.
    3. Britt Daniel of Spoon made a compelling argument for “The Fitted Shirt,” a style that’s evolved from the days of “ma’am and yes sir” to the style of choice for the male on the prowl. In the process, he made a very compelling argument for Spoon.
    4. It’s interesting how a band known for its guitar-shredding, the White Stripes, first hit mainstream consciousness with “Hotel Yorba,” a three-chord acoustic guitar ditty. No worry; they’d quickly become one of the decade’s biggest bands.
    5. Two years after Dntel’s “This is the Dream of Evan and Chan” came out, the ideas of this song were further explored with the uber-popular (and woefully neglected) Postal Service. And it’s obvious why. Jimmy Tamborello’s glitches and Ben Gibbard’s vocals made perhaps the best argument ever for indie-plus-IDM. source

04 Jul 2009 19:27

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Music: Saturday Mixtape: R.E.M. clear, Spoon noisy, Moby actually good

  • 1. Wow. Michael Stipe sounds so – clear. The remastered version of R.E.M.’s second album, “Reckoning,” needed it, and “So. Central Rain,” a song so muffled we could only make out the “I’m sorrrrrrry …” chorus before, now is as clean as a hybrid car.
    2. Hot Lava named a song after an imaginary Mac command, which sounds silly, but the song is so cheery that you won’t care. Best part? The intro. It shouldn’t work but does.
    3. Phil Ochs was a protest folkie who never gave up on his mission but never measured up to more famous peers like Joan Baez or Bob Dylan. Ochs committed suicide in 1976 – a real shame, as songs like “Links on the Chain” show he had a gift for insight.
    4. Where does a band like Spoon go after finally breaking big? By releasing an odd little EP. “Tweakers,” a noisy instrumental, is the strangest, but it’s great mood music.
    5. Behold, the resurrection of Moby. After years of being seen as a sellout (in a bad way) after “Play” sold out (in a good way), his latest, “Wait For Me,” is getting good reviews. Awesome video aside, “Shot in the Back of the Head” is our favorite. source

22 Jan 2009 14:08

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Music: The new U2 single = Spoon + Of Montreal + Bloc Party

  • How it’s like Spoon First thought when listening to “Get On Your Boots”: Well-placed handclaps, anyone? Yeah, that’s totally Spoon’s territory, as is the random fleeting sound. And the verse totally sounds like Spoon’s “Finer Feelings.” Yeah. Spoon is totally the biggest influence on rock music right now.
  • How it’s like Of Montreal That whole paisley chorus/bridge-going-paisley thing is such a staple of Of Montreal, and they did that whole twelve-songs-at-once thing on last year’s Skeletal Lamping, which was easily 2008’s strangest indie-rock album. U2 wants a piece of that uber-hip Elephant 6 pie.
  • How it’s like Bloc PartyBloc Party is the most U2-like band of the naughts, so it’s inevitable that it sounds like a driving Bloc Party song to some degree. But this doesn’t sound like U2. No, this sounds like U2 playing Bloc Party playing U2. Which is weird. Bono, be yourself again! Get your edge back, Edge! source