Tag Archives: Matador

New Spoon video: I Ain’t The One

Video: Spoon – “I Ain’t The One”

Spoon – I Ain't The One (Official Video)

From Hot Thoughts, out now on Matador.

Spoon ain’t the one, the one to get played like a poop butt. See, they’re from the street so they know what’s up.

Wait wait, wrong song. As much as I’d love to hear Spoon cover N.W.A, this is an original and the real star of the show is Alex Fischel’s electric piano. Sometimes you forget that there are other people in the band besides Britt Daniel, but there are and “I Ain’t The One” is a good reminder. When Jim Eno’s drums kick in two solid minutes into the song, you’re like, “Oh yeah, rock and roll!”

Spoon: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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Kurt and Courtney share Continental Breakfast

Video: Courtney Barnett + Kurt Vile – “Continental Breakfast”

Courtney Barnett + Kurt Vile – Continental Breakfast (Official Video)

From Lotta Sea Lice, out October 13 on Matador Records.

As if these two couldn’t get more lovable, now we get to see Courtney and Kurt goofing around their homes with their families, separated by thousands of miles of ocean, but bonded in joie de vivre.

“Continental Breakfast” may sound slapdash but don’t let the effortlessness fool you. Barnett and Vile know exactly what they’re doing, and they do it perfectly. Their intercontinental collaboration reminds us all how fun it can be to hang out with pals and to make new friends, even ones who live a world away. We have a lot more in common than what divides us.

And if Kurt and Courtney succeed in spreading more smiles to the sullen world of indie rock, who can argue with that?

Kurt & Courtney: web, amazon, apple, spotify.

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New Belle and Sebastian video: We Were Beautiful

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “We Were Beautiful”

Belle and Sebastian – We Were Beautiful

Single available now on Matador.

If you haven’t been paying attention to Belle and Sebastian for a while you might not know that they’ve been messing around with dance music lately. In 2014 they released the disco homage “The Party Line” as a preview single for Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, and it’s retained its position on my playlist of “songs to improve moods on long car rides” (along with “Uptown Funk” and “Get Lucky”) since then.

“We Were Beautiful” is more melancholy than “The Party Line” but it features the Glaswegian approximation of the “Funky Drummer” beat, so that’s pretty cool. It also has pedal steel and a mariachi trumpet! Far out.

Lyrically, it’s sad and nostalgic like all the best Belle and Sebastian songs.

We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came and turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise

Stuart Murdoch creates a perfect little snapshot of a world “where the women are oblique and the boys are paper thin, ragged beards upon their chin.” It shares a similar perspective to the The’s “Jealous of Youth” with the narrator reminiscing of days with “nothing on except our boots” and being “intimate around the waist.”

So what is it that “went down” to ruin everything? Life, man. Wisdom makes you old and haggard. Sorry to spoil it for you, kids, but it’s the truth. Use sunscreen and take care of your teeth. The passing of time and all of its crimes is making me sad again.

Belle and Sebastian: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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Courtney Loves Kurt: Over Everything

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile are the cute stoner couple who swear they’re just friends (and don’t even smoke down) and it’s totally true but I still want to believe the better story. To the joy of everyone who loves them both, they announced an upcoming collaboration called Lotta Sea Lice, due October 13 on Matador. If the lead-off single is any indication of the rest of the album then this fall is looking up.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything (Official Video)

Kurt & Courtney: web, amazon, apple, spotify.

Courtney Barnett: web, twitter, fbinstagram, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Kurt Vile: web, twitter, fb, instagram, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Spoon video: Hot Thoughts

Video: Spoon – “Hot Thoughts”

Spoon – Hot Thoughts

They got around to making a video for the title track of their new album, Hot Thoughts, out now on Matador. Lots of footage from SXSW. “If you missed it you may now see it. If you were there you may now relive it.”

Britt Daniel talked to Esquire about the inspiration for the song:

Daniel got the idea from a Japanese kid in Shibuya who hit on his girlfriend. “He was smoking a cigarette, and couldn’t really speak English, but was pointing to her teeth and saying her teeth were so sexy and bright,” Daniel says. “And I thought that was a pretty far out, maybe desperate but funny way of hitting on her.” So, Hot Thoughts are thoughts about sex, which is a topic Spoon has never really overtly covered so overtly in a song before.

“Your teeth shining so white / Light up this side street in Shibuya tonight.”

That interview also reveals that Spoon considered packing it in after “the rare misstep Transference in 2010.” I didn’t realize that album was considered a failure. I dug it.

Spoon: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.

Spoon: The Band We Can All Count On

They say you shouldn’t trust anyone who doesn’t like puppies or babies. That’s kinda how I feel about anyone who doesn’t love Spoon. I mean…what’s not to love? Soulful vocals and witty lyrics; smart, economical instrumentation; beats and rhythms that make you DANCE; all peppered with hoots, hollers, grunts and groans that let you know rock music is supposed to be visceral.

Full transparency: Jake Brown was not always on the Spoon train and I can tell you that there were several whispered conspiratorial conversations around the office keg. We considered executing the 25th Amendment until he started to come around. I am pleased to say the state of the GLONO union is now strong.

Hot Thoughts is Spoon’s ninth studio album and builds on the same blue print established way back on 2001’s Girls Can Tell. This is a band who is consistent, if not creatively challenging. Once they broke (albeit slightly) from the jagged corners of their first two albums, the mold was set and they’ve honed the product more than redesigned it. And I am totally down with that. It’s a wonder how consistent, and consistently good, Spoon is. Given how shitty things are elsewhere in this country it’s really nice to know we can count on a solid record from this band every 24 to 36 months.

One area of exploration I have enjoyed from these guys is their occasional dips into dance-y pop music. I think it started with 2005’s “I Turn My Camera On,” which is a staple of any indie kid’s dance mix. This year we have “Can I Sit Next To You” as an early contender for Summer Jam 2017. It’s the kinda song that will make middle-aged dudes pine for pool parties that don’t include swim diapers.

If you’re reading this then you probably already have the new album so I’m not going to sell it. But I’d love to open up a conversation in the comments about the elements of Spoon that make them our favorite band. Because there are common elements, some of which are noted above and some of which get turned into criticism for other bands. Why?

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New Spoon video: Can I Sit Next To You

Video: Spoon – “Can I Sit Next To You”

Spoon – Can I Sit Next To You

From Hot Thoughts, due March 17 on Matador.

Like a lot of Spoon songs “Can I Sit Next To You” takes a few spins to reveal its mysteries. Simple and supple, groovy and woozy, each sound placed deliberately in the mix, this becomes the soundtrack to walking through crowded streets on a sunny day. “Gonna get kicks every night / no one’s holding me back / no one’s changing my mind.” Let’s go.

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Cat Power – Sun

Cat PowerSun (Matador)

The story goes that when Chan Marshall set off to begin the follow up to the very hard to follow up The Greatest, she presented her progress to a friend. She could tell that the new material didn’t grab her friend in quite the manner that she hoped, and after some additional probing, the friend declared that the new songs sounded pretty much like any other Car Power song.

And Chan Marshall was tired of sounding like the “old” Cat Power.

More power to her–pun intended–as the process of avoiding stagnation has given rock and roll some of its best moments.

It has also given it some of its worst, and the risk for epic failure gets greater when artists begin to incorporate other styles and genres that are way beyond their limits. For example: Bob Mould may be a fine dj on the weekends, but that doesn’t mean he makes a mean EDM record.

More to the point, it doesn’t mean that I want to hear a Bob Mould EDM album either. I want my musical heroes to be brave enough to listen to that bit of self-doubt in their heads that says, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.”

Chan Marshall shouldn’t be making records like Sun, plain and simple. That’s my opinion, and it comes from the same one that thinks The Greatest was a risky album on its own. It, and to a lesser extent Jukebox, positioned Chan into promising new direction. Instead, she has now squandered that promise into a half-baked record of songs that seem to insinuate that the recording session for Sun was nothing more than one big distraction.

There are beats, rhythms, vocoders, beeps, and other creations that seem to be the result of a shopping spree in the electronics area of Guitar Center. There’s no rhyme or reason to when and why these sounds are introduced in a song, so you’re left to assume that shit just kept getting added on until Chan finally had the empathy to say “Stick a fork in it. It’s done.”

The nonsense starts early. The opener, “Cherokee,” gradually brings the listeners into Chan’s left turn, starting with a shimmering guitar before the manufactured beats make their entrance.

And you know what? It’s ok for a moment. When Chan mutters “Never knew love like this,” she sounds like she’s on the other end of a dial-up internet connection. Big beats come in and things get a little shaky, but again, Marshall hides it with a great chorus of repeated “Marry me to the sky,” bringing a bit of a lyrical connection with the song title.

Then, at exactly 3:05 into “Cherokee,” the sound of a fucking hawk or some other bird comes in. Immediately, I was like “What the fuck was that?!”

I quickly rewound and discovered the truth, and it was at that moment that I decided that I didn’t like the new Cat Power album.

The title track is just an overloaded mess of processed vocals and I’ve even started to lose interest into the briefly infectious lead-off single, “Ruin.”

My wife, who owns quite a large collection of Glee product, declares “3, 6, 9” as “strangely good” while it only makes me say, “I see what you did there!” What Marshall comes up with is a hooky bit of prose that repeats ad infinitum.

The darker moments are the best, and they will be the only moments that I’ll end up leaving in my playlist after this review posts. “Always On My Own” and “Human Being” are harrowing tales, but it’s “Manhattan” that serves as the best interpretation of Marshall’s desire to be different.

With it’s cheesy drum machine and simple, four-step piano phrase, Marshall double-tracks her voice with an emotive lead over her trademarked low-end mumble. “Don’t look at the moon tonight,” she warns “It will never be Manhattan.”

How can I stay mad at a line like that? I can’t, but I can leave off a good chunk of Sun and wonder if this is the work of a woman who’s heart isn’t in it anymore. Because Sun sounds more like an obligation, if you ask me, with each and every electronic addition seemingly introduced to cover up the fact that the album has very little heart behind it.

It is a record that began with a notion that it needed to be different, when it should have been looked at as a record that needed to be better than The Greatest.

Video: Cat Power – “Cherokee”

Cat Power – Cherokee

MP3: Cat Power – “Ruin”

New Pornographers – Together

The New Pornographers - TogetherThe New PornographersTogether (Matador)

The New Pornographers are one of those bands that I probably wouldn’t have discovered if not for Glorious Noise. The fervor of some of this site’s regular bulletin board contributors was so intense for this band at one point that you actually felt you had to buy a New Pornographers album as admission to reply to any post.

I’d like to know how many of those same supporters feel about this band since 2005’s Twin Cinema, because in my ears, there’s a sense that Carl Newman and company have lost bit a steam in their bid for power-pop perfection.

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Harlem – Hippies

Harlem - HippiesHarlemHippies (Matador)

One of the most wonderful things about garage rock is its inherent sense of brevity. It’s a world where three-chords are cause for a celebration because logic dictates that two-chords is surely enough for any decent rock song. And why waste time on overdubs when the effort of merely rewinding the tape would take thirty seconds away from getting started on rolling tape for a new song?

Harlem, a three-piece garage band from Austin, certainly subscribes too much of the genre’s basic points-and there are more than a few fine examples of their Nuggets devotion on their sophomore effort, Hippies. But like many young Americans, they should go back and study the source material to find out when it’s appropriate to shut the fuck up.

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