I don’t know why, but Spoon are one of those bands I’ve never given enough of a chance. I suppose I could chalk it up to the fact that there are too many options out there these days, that the market is simply too oversaturated, though it’s not as if I hadn’t heard of or known about them.
In fact, I even own some older Spoon albums like 2005’s Gimme Fiction and 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. But that still wasn’t enough for me to ever dive deep into their catalog and get hooked. In more recent times, they’ve been that band with the “Cherry Bomb” song in that ubiquitous Dr. Pepper Cherry commercial to me. It’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve taken more of an interest after hearing what the group has shared so far from its upcoming ninth LP Hot Thoughts.
I’d like to think it didn’t take me nearly 25 years to come around to Spoon’s unique sound that borders somewhere between indie rock and psychedelic rock (call it psychedelic indie rock if you want), but that’s unfortunately not the case. I can’t call myself a fan yet, but as it’s often said, there’s no better time to start than now, right?
My curiosity in the Austin outfit took me to Santa Monica on a Tuesday night, where it was playing a private show for KCRW’s Apogee Sessions less than 24 hours after performing in front of a capacity crowd at The Observatory in Santa Ana for its second U.S. show of 2017. Apogee Studio has been home to a number of special performances over the years, one of which was The Avett Brothers in September (read our review here), but this one felt extra special due to the fact that we were hearing songs that hadn’t been officially released yet.
Hot Thoughts won’t drop until next week — March 17th to be exact — but KCRW DJ Anne Litt assured us before they hit the stage that just like every Spoon album that had come before it, this one really was “the masterpiece.” Less than three years have passed since Spoon put out their last studio album They Want My Soul, long enough for frontman and founding member Britt Daniel to leave Los Angeles and return to his home state of Texas. Daniel, who serves as the band’s primary songwriter, has watched Spoon go through a bevy of lineup changes over the years, including the recent departure of multi-instrumentalist Eric Harvey, but through it all, drummer Jim Eno has remained his partner in crime. It’s essentially why Daniel decided to move back to Austin, where Eno’s studio Public Hi-Fi is located and some of the tracks for Hot Thoughts were laid down. And along the way, they’ve added several talented players like Rob Pope (bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Alex Fischel (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals) and Gerardo Larios (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), with the latter signing on to replace Harvey as a touring member earlier this year.
At the center of it all, though, is and always has been Daniel, and as Spoon kicked things off with a new tune called “Do I Have to Talk You Into It” before seguing into the title track from their forthcoming album, it was easy to see why he remains the band’s guiding force. After he won us over with another Hot Thoughts track entitled “I Ain’t the One”, Daniel sat down with Litt for a few minutes to discuss the writing and recording process for the album. For those of us lucky enough to be in the room, it was a chance to learn more about what makes him tick. In total, Spoon performed five songs from the new record, including “First Caress” to open a brief encore that left us eager for more. But as the five-piece rocked “Rainy Taxi” from 2014’s They Want My Soul to close, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is one band I never should have slept on.
Do I Have to Talk You Into It
The Beast and Dragon, Adored
I Saw the Light
I Ain’t the One
Rent I Pay
Can I Sit Next to You
My Mathematical Mind
First Caress (Live debut)