Normally the Sunday Music Spotlight is all about the little guy – bands that are underexposed or new on the scene. This week we’re going in a different direction, highlighting a former little band that has exploded in the last couple of years, Spoon.
Spoon started in 1994 in the indie music incubator that is Austin, Texas. The story goes that guitarist and lead singer Britt Daniel met drummer Jim Eno at a party and they decided to form a band. They took the name Spoon from a song by 70s German band Can, which was featured in a movie they both liked. In 1996 Matador Records put out the band’s first CD, Telephono in 1996, leading to what appeared to be their big break, their signing with Elektra Records in 1998. The label released their sophomore album, A Series of Sneaks, then promptly dropped them. Yoink.
Rather than fold up and die the band decided to soldier on. They signed with indie powerhouse Merge Records in 2000 and started building momentum. Their first full-length album for Merge was Girls Can Tell, and it outsold all their previous releases, combined. Then their next album Kill the Moonlight did the same the following year. After seven years of touring and recording Spoon was ready to take off.
The band released their fifth album, Gimme Fiction in 2005. It debuted at #44 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, signaling Spoon’s arrival in the mainstream. Their music was featured on TV shows like The OC and Veronica Mars. They did the soundtrack for Will Ferrell’s Stranger Than Fiction. They appeared on Letterman and Austin City Limits. It didn’t really look like they could get bigger.
Then this summer rolled around, and the band released Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, their ludicrously-titled sixth album, and it debuted at #10. And deservedly so; it’s a virtual masterpiece. Tracks soaring with horns juxtapose with minimalist piano songs, creating a varied sonic pallet.
Spoon - The Underdog
If there was a Nobel Prize for “Use of a Horn Section” this track would be in the running (along with The White Stripes “Conquest”). This song is the best kind of infectious musical velcro. It will get stuck in your head for days, and you won’t mind a bit. “The Underdog” is a strong contender for Song of the Year.
Spoon - You Got Yr Cherry Bomb
Eno’s drumming propels Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga‘s opening track. Yet another masterful horn arrangement adds texture. This is modern rock at it’s best.
Spoon - The Way We Get By
This track from Kill the Moonlight provided the fuse for Spoon’s explosion into the mainstream, and it’s easy to see why. The combination of the repetitive piano licks and Daniels’ raspy vocals forms a delicious smoothie of laid-back rock.
The official video for “I Turn My Camera On”, not to be confused with the endearing dancing peep
Performing "The Way We Get By" at SXSW