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Posts Tagged ‘spoon’

 

Alright, I’m back from my holiday and I STILL haven’t put together my list of ‘top ten albums of the year’. I’ve been trying for ages and it’s just not happening. There have been a lot of good albums released this year, and a lot of great ones that I haven’t even gotten around to listening to. There are a probably a few albums that I’ve brushed off and will go back to listen to next year and think ‘why did I put that in my top ten!’. But such is life I guess.

 

For me I had two stand out albums of the year – Jonsi’s Go and the National’s High Violet. I can’t even begin to explain how well each of these albums resonates with me. Right from the first listen, I fell in love with both, and both had songs that made their way to my ‘most played’ in iTunes, knocking off songs that had been on it for over a year. I love both of these albums because they’re so different. High Violet is absolutely gut wrenching. It’s just plain depressing. Go is my uplifting album. I like to play its opening track ‘Go Do’ on the bus first thing Monday morning to try and brighten my spirits. They’re albums with so much passion and texture, they’re both moving in completely different ways.

 

My favourite Australian releases were The Boat People’s Dear Darkly and Foreign Tapes by Parades. I’ve loved everything the Boaties have released, and I swear they just keep getting better and better as the years go on. I actually didn’t buy Foreign Tapes until a few months ago. I saw Parades for the first time at Big Sound – and it was in fact the first I’d even heard of them – and was immediately drawn to their style. They’re both great pop albums, extremely catchy and easy to listen to right through til the end.

 

One of the surprises for the year was Arcade Fire’s release, the Suburbs. I tossed up whether or not this was a ‘top ten’ album. I don’t think it is for me. I really do love it, but I think it’s more so because I expected it to be awful.

 

I had a few other highlights, including Hungry Kids of Hungary and Spoon. I loved both of those albums, but I find that I really have to be in a certain mood or frame of mind to listen to them. To me a top ten list means anytime, anywhere, all the way through which is probably why I had so much trouble putting together a list of ten albums this year. Bring on 2011 though! I’m excited to see what it will bring.

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I’m going to be honest; I’m not a fan of the Rocketsmiths. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why, but they just don’t do anything for me. I sat through their set though, and tried to enjoy it. Tried to point out the good things to myself. But despite the energy from the band, it still came across as fairly mediocre. If anyone can offer a less bias opinion of their set I’d be interested to hear it.

But more importantly….Shame on you Brisbane, this concert was not sold out. This is exactly why outstanding acts up end skipping Brisbane when they tour. Luckily the Hi Fi can shut the mezzanine and force everyone downstairs, closer to the front, giving the feel of a more packed out audience.

The curtain to the stage drew to reveal four very smart looking guys. Which is one of the things I love about Spoon. They’re absolutely oozing with cool, but don’t need pretentious clothing or wild antics to make it work. Casual and relaxed, they began with ‘Nobody Gets Me But You’ from their latest release Transference. The sound was a bit off during this song, but was quickly fixed up for the rest of the set. They mainly ran through tracks from Transference and their previous album GaGaGaGaGa, mixing in a few older tracks, and ones that I wasn’t even familiar with.

It was definitely interesting to hear tracks like ‘The Ghost of you Lingers’ and ‘The Underdog’ performed live, since there are so many extras (horns, reverb etc) on the recorded versions. They were impeccable though. Despite the lack of horns on ‘The Underdog’, or the intensity of vocal overdubs on the ‘The Ghost of you Lingers’, the band found a way to make it work, proving their immense talent as musicians.

Some of their newer tracks, like ‘Is Love Forever’, ‘Trouble Comes Running’ and ‘I Saw the Light’ – tracks that may seem a little bland on the album – really came to life when performed live. Britt Daniel’s stage presence is incredibly natural and earnest. He gives off the vibe that he’s just happy that he gets to play music, never making a big deal about anything or hyping up the crowd like some artists tend to do. The other members of Spoon seem quite happy to let Daniel take the lead on thing, but also held their own throughout the set.

As it always will be with Spoon, the tracks from GaGaGaGaGa were the most popular, and made up the bulk of the set. ‘Don’t Make Me a Target’ warranted a sing a long from the crowd but the real highlights came in the encore with ‘Black Like Me’, ‘Rhythm and Soul’ and ‘Got Yr Cherry Bomb’. Spoon put on a truly fantastic show – and it’s one that I can’t stop raving about. If they ever do come back (and if they bother to play in Brisbane, you slackers) definitely go see them. You won’t regret it.

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So last Wednesday me and my man headed out to the Hi Fi to see Spoon, with much excitement (review to come soon, I swear!).  After scoping out the grounds for a little while, we headed straight to “our area” in the venue. It’s basically what both of us see to be the perfect part of the Hi Fi. Optimal viewing, with the least amount of people around you coupled with a wall to lean up against. Perfection? Damn straight (no, I’m not going to share where it is. Because it’s mine).

So we claimed our spot. Only to watch a group of already drunk hipsters claim their spots right in front of us. We both shared a groan, recognising that our perfection could have just been trampled. I expected them to rush to the front when Spoon actually took to the stage. They didn’t. They stayed right in front of us, scoffing two drinks at a time. But the worse part was the dancing.

I don’t mind people drinking at concerts, but it’s when they get stupid that it becomes a big deal. I’m a firm believer in if you want to mosh you go to the front, if you want to just stand there and enjoy you go to the sides, and if you want to do any sort of stupid lame ass dancing (this includes choreographed moves, line dancing, Irish dancing, and interpretive dance) you go to the back. Away from people. They had every time of stupid dance move you could imagine. And it took up a lot of space.

Yes, we could have moved away from these people. I realise this. But there weren’t any decent openings without disrupting others. And I’m don’t like disrupting others at concerts, which is why people who get completely wasted annoy me. I will admit it was entertaining trying to watch one guy sit down. It took about half of a song, and he just kind of scraped against the brick wall and then landed flat on his ass. But I just couldn’t help thinking “are they even hearing this amazing band right, or seeing them?”.

I’m not saying I’ve never been drunk at a show. But I’ve never been drunk at a show that I paid more than $2o to see. Just locals bands I had seen many times before. But when are Spoon coming back? Why risk misplacing any little memory from that night? What worth do people actually get from drinking at shows?

Am I just being old and boring, or do people actually agree with me here? Shows in Australia are not cheap. Drinks at venues are not cheap. Nothing about drinking expensive drinks at an expensive show appeals to me. But maybe it’s not about the money?

Do you drink at shows – if so, why? On the same hand, do you avoid drinking at shows? Does anyone have a good story about either being drunk at a show, or witnessing other drunks at shows?

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Spoon – ‘Transference’

9.5/10

Texan indie rockers Spoon have returned with their seventh studio album, ‘Transference’ and the only thing limiting this album’s success, is its predecessor ‘GaGaGaGaGa’. Spoon’s 2007 release brought them some mainstream success and was full of single worthy tracks. ‘Transference’ on the other hand, is more in line with their other releases – not quite as mainstream but still very much in the style of Spoon, blending indie rock with motown influences. It’s almost unfortunate that ‘GaGaGaGaGa’ was such a hit, because it makes this album seem slight by comparison, despite the fact that it is a truly enjoyable album. Some have argued though, that this was intention – that ‘Transference’ was a deliberate step back from the spotlight, allowing the band to further explore their style without putting any pressure on themselves.

A littler rougher than ‘GaGaGaGaGa’, the production isn’t as shiny and the songs are less formulaic, but the sound definitely feels more genuine and relaxed. If there are any hints of ‘GaGaGaGaGa’ on the album though, it would be first single ‘Written in Reverse’ and ‘Trouble Comes Running’, which is stylistically comparable to ‘Got Yr Cherry Bomb’. ‘Goodnight Laura’ is a gorgeous piano ballad that provides a nice break in the album and ‘Got Nuffin’ is the sing-along song that you’ll rock out to. Album closer ‘Nobody Gets Me But You’ is the surprise highlight of the album, funky grooves and crazy piano bursts. It would be real shame if ‘Transference’ got overlooked because of the band’s previous success, because this could easily end up becoming one of the band’s best albums.

 

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