SPOON with MELIGROVE BAND and PALOMAR at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, April 26). $6. 416-598-4753. Rating: NNNNN
austin pop/rock combo spoon's
singer/guitarist, Britt Daniel, may not have a publishing deal -- derailing his ambition to also write music for film -- but the group's punchy and dynamic new Girls Can Tell disc (Merge) is as catchy as anything selling by the truckload.
Then again, bigger, when it comes to labels at least, is not always better. As Daniel points out from home on the eve of a tour with Guided by Voices (the band opened for them here last night and stay on to headline the 'Shoe tonight), "Merge Records only has a staff of five people, and in the two months this album has been out we've already Soundscanned five times as many copies as our Elektra album."
That album was 98s clever and very melodic A Series Of Sneaks, which came after several fine releases on champion indie Matador. Quality of music notwithstanding, Spoon was soon bounced from the major imprint.
Daniel remains hopeful that Girls Can Tell will cut through and connect. And it should, seeing as it gathers additional steam from being, apparently, a breakup record.
Though lyrics are subjective and Daniel demurs when queried, an opening line like "Don't say a word/ the last one is still stinging" seems to point to a man grappling with heartache. And Daniel will admit the song Anything You Want -- a clear capitulation to a departed lover -- was a doozy to record.
"The first time I sang it with all the lyrics I had to go drink a couple of beers first. And I had to ask Jim (drummer and partner Jim Eno) to face the other way. It was rough because the studio was one big room with no barriers, and I felt like I was really laying it on the line.
"It really bums me out when I see bands like Limp Bizkit or whatever getting publishing deals," Daniel sighs. "I mean, those aren't songs. Have those guys ever listened to the Beatles? It's a bad time to be making tasteful music and for trying to get that music out to a big audience."