*

Offline Snupes

  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
  • The worst-hated god who perpetrated odd favors.
    • View Profile
Listening to Spoon's Entire Discography
« on: June 24, 2019, 04:14:00 AM »
So this thread is kind of odd, because I've already heard every full release from Spoon, but I realized there were a bunch of EPs I never listened to, so I decided this would be as good a time as any to listen through the entirety of their works in order. I'm mainly interested because there are pretty drastic shifts in their style across the years, and I'm curious to see if any of these EPs sort of fit as missing puzzle pieces between them, bridges that, well, bridge the gap between sounds. Full disclosure: I fucking love this band to death but I'm gonna try my best to speak from some sort of vague, hand-wavy """objective""" standpoint. Y'all know by now I'm not exactly the best at reviews but, whatever, I enjoy doing them so I'm gonna do 'em. Starting off with my first bit of new Spoon, their first ever release:




Title: Nefarious (EP)
Release: 1994

All songs written by Britt Daniel.

Tracklist

1. Government Darling (2:33)
2. This Damn Nation (2:31)
3. Nefarious (2:45)
4. Not Turning Off (3:01)

It's fascinating seeing the dirty, grimy origins of a band that you know is, now, incredible. I did my best to dive into these really early records without the headspace of knowing a good chunk of the rest of their discography. In that mindset, this isn't exactly phenomenal, but it's a very promising little taste of a small group with big ambitions. They don't know where they want to go or what they want to be, yet, but they know they want to do something off the beaten path. It's not exactly groundbreaking for indie rock, but it's an hors d'oeuvre, a little sign that maybe you should keep an eye on this band. It's brazen and clearly punk-inspired with the way they twist and bend instruments and keep you guessing at what they're going to do, but with more of an ear for rhythm and melody that can dig its way into your brain. The lyrics are pretty meh at this point, with Britt not seeming to really have anything to say but having a lot of lines that sound neat on their own without really adding up to anything more.

In the grand scheme of their work it's not much, but as a garage band it's impressive.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2019, 04:29:23 AM by Snupes »
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

*

Offline Snupes

  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
  • The worst-hated god who perpetrated odd favors.
    • View Profile
Re: Listening to Spoon's Entire Discography
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2019, 04:26:27 AM »


Title: Telephono
Release: April 23, 1996

All songs written by Britt Daniel, except where noted.

Tracklist

1. Don't Buy the Realistic (3:54)
2. Not Turning Off (3:08)
3. All the Negatives Have Been Destroyed (2:37)
4. Cvantez (2:45)
5. Nefarious (2:47)
6. Claws Tracking (Britt Daniel, Andy Maguire) (2:32)
7. Dismember (1:45)
8. Idiot Drivel (1:39)
9. Towner (aMiniature) (3:05)
10. Wanted to Be Your (1:52)
11. Theme to Wendel Stivers (1:58)
12. Primary (1:10)
13. The Government Darling (2:23)
14. Plastic Mylar (3:27)

Only the slightest of slight evolutions from Nefarious; Spoon more or less still sounds like a particularly creative group of friends playing in their garage (which, to be fair, is basically what they were!), and there's not a whole lot of thematic or musical consistency or coherency along the span of the album. One of the hardest parts of this journey for me is knowing how creative and interesting Britt's lyrics become later on and dealing with how simplistic and somewhat edgy they are in this period of their career. He writes like a lot of wannabe-punk bands did post Sex Pistols: vague epithets and cursing. Aside from a few songs that criticize capitalism or the government with a ten-foot pole, most of it is snarkily aimed at nameless entities, which has little to no impact since we have no idea who these beings are or their relations to Britt. Musically, it's more of the same from the Nefarious EP, maybe with a bit more of the catchy twang you'd expect from a band that's potentially aiming for radio play.

I don't have a ton to say here just because it's basically Nefarious times three. No real interesting evolution to glean here.
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

*

Offline Snupes

  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
  • The worst-hated god who perpetrated odd favors.
    • View Profile
Re: Listening to Spoon's Entire Discography
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2019, 02:32:31 AM »


Title: Soft Effects (EP)
Release: January 21, 1997

All songs written by Britt Daniel.

Tracklist

1. Mountain to Sound (3:50)
2. Waiting for the Kid to Come Out (2:40)
3. I Could See the Dude (1:59)
4. Get Out the State (2:50)
5. Loss Leaders (3:30)

This EP starts out with the track "Mountain to Sound", which is immediately and startlingly more modern Spoon than the album that I know follows. It sounds like it could be a rough cut off of They Want My Soul, an album they drop in 2014. Droning and layered guitars, vocals dead center and contributing to the soothing chaos. The rest of the songs that follow are surprisingly prescient in how forward-sounding they are. I guess I found the exact point at which Spoon became amazing. Their ambitions are much higher and it's clear they spent a lot more time on the production and planning of this album. The mixes are (relatively) clear and passions are lit. I'd argue this is basically a shoegaze album, honestly. At moments I'd believe you if you told me I was listening to My Bloody Valentine. I wasn't expecting such a leap in quality, and I'm glad I listened to this.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 02:35:28 AM by Snupes »
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

*

Offline Snupes

  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
  • The worst-hated god who perpetrated odd favors.
    • View Profile
Re: Listening to Spoon's Entire Discography
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2019, 03:18:23 AM »


Title: A Series of Sneaks
Release: April 28, 1998

All songs written by Britt Daniel, except where noted.

Tracklist

1. Utilitarian (1:51)
2. The Minor Tough (2:43)
3. The Guestlist/The Execution (2:03)
4. Reservations (2:36)
5. 30 Gallon Tank (Britt Daniel, Jim Eno) (4:00)
6. Car Radio (1:30)
7. Metal Detektor (3:39)
8. June's Foreign Spell (3:00)
9. Chloroform (1:10)
10. Metal School (Britt Daniel, Josh Zarbo) (2:54)
11. Staring at the Board (0:54)
12. No You're Not (1:43)
13. Quincy Punk Episode (2:17)
14. Advance Cassette (2:54)

Right off with the first few notes of "Utilitarian", what many consider to be the first Spoon album kicks off to a much more brass and brazen start than their works prior, production sharp and layered. Britt Founds out that his voice sounds great when he's straining it and we get almost a modernized punk record, the kind of sound you'd describe coming from a group of ragtag misfits. It feels like the energy of their Soft Effects EP channeled a lot more directly. I feel like one of Spoon's greatest strengths is the ability to convey mood and emotion through their instruments and production. Take a track like "Quincy Punk Episode", which—right from the start of the drums and echoing guitar—there's a sense of urgency and immediacy. At this point their songs are starting to get very pared back, mixes clean and grooves and rhythms distinct. Their wondrous ability to make complex and challenging tracks simultaneously catchy is starting to be honed by now. It's their big turning point and the start of their career getting really exciting, for me.
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

*

Offline Snupes

  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
  • The worst-hated god who perpetrated odd favors.
    • View Profile
Re: Listening to Spoon's Entire Discography
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2019, 03:34:55 AM »


Title: 30 Gallon Tank (EP)
Release: May 5, 1998

All songs written by Britt Daniel, except where noted.

Tracklist

1. 30 Gallon Tank (Britt Daniel, Jim Eno) (4:02)
2. Car Radio (Different) (1:30)
3. Revenge! (2:47)
4. I Could Be Underground (2:08)

Well, "30 Gallon Tank" was on the last record and "Car Radio (Different)" is, in contrast to its title, not really different to the album version. That means, essentially, two new Spoon tracks. "Revenge!" and "I Could Be Underground" are very different to each other in terms of mood and pace, but they both signify a very important shift from Spoon from the brash and direct to the more meandering and theatric. The music becomes a little bit more pulled back and given more room to breathe, but with plenty going on to keep you engaged. This is a perfect lead-in to the Girls Can Tell era.
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

*

Offline Snupes

  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
  • The worst-hated god who perpetrated odd favors.
    • View Profile
Re: Listening to Spoon's Entire Discography
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2019, 03:55:26 AM »


Title: Love Ways (EP)
Release: October 24, 2000

All songs written by Britt Daniel.

Tracklist

1. Change My Life (4:29)
2. I Didn't Come Here to Die (3:08)
3. Jealousy (2:09)
4. The Figures of Art (1:46)
5. Chips and Dip (4:02)

Sexy, sexy, sexy, and much more indicative of the fully-realized Spoon I know and love. The first two tracks are rather sprawling and feel like hints of what we'll hear later more in-depth on Gimme Fiction, but the last three feel much more like a continuation of what we just heard on the 30 Gallon Tank EP. Slightly more clear and mystical, but still a bit rough around the edges. I don't have a whole lot more to say than that. "Jealousy" is probably my favorite cut on this.
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

*

Offline Snupes

  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
  • The worst-hated god who perpetrated odd favors.
    • View Profile
Re: Listening to Spoon's Entire Discography
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2019, 11:44:10 PM »


Title: Girls Can Tell
Release: February 20, 2001

All songs written by Britt Daniel, except where noted.

Tracklist

1. Everything Hits at Once (4:04)
2. Believing Is Art (4:19)
3. Me and the Bean (John Clayton) (3:33)
4. Lines in the Suit (3:47)
5. The Fitted Shirt (3:12)
6. Anything You Want (2:16)
7. Take a Walk (2:26)
8. 1020 AM (2:10)
9. Take the Fifth (3:56)
10. This Book Is a Movie (3:33)
11. Chicago at Night (2:47)

Spoon's first real full-album foray into quality over quantity. It runs about as long as their two previous albums, but with a smaller tracklist. This is where they start exploring songs that are a bit more winding, imbuing them with the level of diversity you'd normally get from two or three tracks. Their melodies and rhythms get a little bit stranger and slightly more complex, More layers are added—not that that's necessarily a good thing, but Spoon, I think, handles it amazingly. No matter how much is going on at once, it always sounds natural and sounds and instruments dovetail well together. Britt has a go at somewhat smoother vocals to pleasant success, and the whole album feels a little more warm than anything they'd made up to this point. His lyrics at this point are becoming thankfully more opaque and more interesting, exploring ideas other than his usual recycled few. Instead of sounding whiny and cynical, he sounds more earnest and invested than ever in this album, whether telling everyone to fuck off, reminiscing about wearing his dad's far-too-big-for-him shirt, or investigating society's propensity for being in a rush. This album is where I think Spoon moves from good to great, more or less having worked out how to structure songs and albums in a more natural, organic, and tight package. It's interesting second-to-second and is just mmm mmm mmm so good. This is the album that made me realize I loved Spoon as a band (though it's not my favorite) and "Anything You Want" made me cry, so it's good bois.
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

*

Offline Snupes

  • Planar Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
  • The worst-hated god who perpetrated odd favors.
    • View Profile
Re: Listening to Spoon's Entire Discography
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2019, 12:32:55 AM »


Title: Kill the Moonlight
Release: August 20, 2002

All songs written by Britt Daniel, except where noted.

Tracklist

1. Small Stakes (3:00)
2. The Way We Get By (2:38)
3. Something to Look Forward To (Britt Daniel, Miles Zuniga) (2:17)
4. Stay Don't Go (3:35)
5. Jonathon Fisk (3:15)
6. Paper Tiger (3:07)
7. Someone Something (2:48)
8. Don't Let it Get You Down (Britt Daniel, Mel Larson, Jerry Marcellino, Deke Richards) (3:29)
9. All the Pretty Girls Go to the City (3:12)
10. You Gotta Feel It (1:29)
11. Back to the Life (2:21)
12. Vittorio E. (3:39)

From its opening riffs, Kill the Moonlight makes it very clear that it's going to be quite a different album. This is Spoon's weird one. Also their most critically-acclaimed. Also one of my favorite albums ever. I 100% consider this their best work, though they come very close a few times after. It keeps their ear for fantastically-catchy rhythms and vocals, but the actual production and structure is much more experimental. Songs will change as served by the music, constantly shifting pace and style. Many a critic has called the album minimalist, from what I've read, but I think that's wrong. It's definitely a bit less huge moment-to-moment, but there's still just as much going on, it's simply spread out and given room to breath. Every sound, every guitar pluck, every dog yelp, every reversed riff, every beatbox is clear as a bell. I wish I had the technical music knowledge to explain very specifically everything I love about this album, but I don't. It's Spoon instilled with an experimental spirit and determined to push the boundaries of their creativity. With all the energy and passion that was clearly put into this album, I would have fucking loved to have seen it performed live during that time. Everything on this record feels like they've got a fire lit in them and goddang I just think it's basically perfect man.

P.S.
Oh, and Britt's lyrics have started moving distinctly in a more poetic direction on this album. His turns of phrase and manner of writing makes lyrics much more interesting and memorable, and gives you more to think about and dissect. His writing really only improves from this point on.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 12:54:04 AM by Snupes »
Quote from: garygreen date=1480782226
i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.