Whenever Rocks Off thinks about Spoon - which, over the past decade, has been quite a bit - the one word that always comes to mind is "punctuation." No other band we can think of consistently crafts songs that are so heavily punctuated, from Britt Daniel's sharp-as-glass guitar riffs to Jim Eno's metronomic drumming to keyboard vamps as regular as sonar pings. Spoon's songs may be busy and frenetic sometimes, but they're never, ever cluttered. "[Daniel] is taking familiar things and putting them back together in a certain way that's specifically Spoon," Mac McCaughan, former Superchunk front man and owner of Spoon's label, Merge, told The New York Times in a front-page Arts & Leisure article this past Sunday. Rocks Off has spent the past couple of days listening to Spoon's new Transference - out next Tuesday, and available for $9.99 at Cactus Music for one week only - and, like the band's previous six albums, we don't quite know what to think of it yet except that it sounds very much like a Spoon album. This means that, almost without fail, in six months we will love it to death and in six more months it will be vying for the top spot on our best-of-2010 list.
Other than that, our early read is that scruffy rocker "Got Nuffin'" reminds us ofKill the Moonlight
's "Jonathon Fisk," "Out Go the Lights" may be Spoon's saddest song (and one of its most beautiful) since "Advance Cassette" all the way back on 1998'sA Series of Sneaks
, and surefire single "Written In Reverse" has the same kind of saucy poise as "I Turn My Camera On." What McCaughan said about Daniel's songs being "specifically Spoon" holds true throughout; just like in the past, the songs start off sounding like other Spoon songs and gradually reveal their subtle uniquenesses over time. They're already starting to do that. Daniel's lyrics, though, remain reliably oblique. ("I'm [usually] just trying to fit the mood of the song," he told theTimes
.) This week SXSW announced that Spoon will headline National Public Radio's showcase at Stubb's Wednesday, March 17.(NPR is also streaming Transference all week on its "First Listen" page.)
The band begins the first leg of its spring/summer tour the next day in New Orleans. No Houston date is listed yet, but before our buddies over at
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start going into conniptions like they did whenVampire Weekend announced its Houston-less spring tour
, we're pretty sure that full house in the Warehouse Live video at the top of this blog is a good sign Spoon won't forget about Houston anytime soon. Whenever they do get here, Rocks Off will be first in line, and not just because one of our old friends from Austin is usually working the merch table.