Hello all. It’s been another tough week for the music world with the loss of the great Ric Ocasek of The Cars. What can I say that those who knew him, worked with him, were influenced by him, and loved him, haven’t said already?

Taking a look at our charts now, this might be the first time ever that an non-English language single has been #1! French-Canadian band Corridor have broken that barrier with “Topographe.” And there’s also a new #1 album, which while in English, comes from a Norwegian artist, Girl In Red. It may only be her Beginnings, but the future does indeed look bright for the young Marie Ulven.

Foals are once again at #2 on the singles chart with “The Runner,” followed by last week’s top track, “Violence” by Grimes, The Griswolds at #4 with “Nice To Meet Ya!” The first of three ties in a row comes at #5 between Bombay Bicycle Club‘s “Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)” and Beach Bunny‘s “Prom Queen.” Then at #7 are Girl In Red’s single, “Bad Idea!” tied with “Heavenly” from Cigarettes After Sex. Finally, the top ten closes out with a three-way tie at #9 between Mallrat‘s “Charlie,” Metronomy‘s “Wedding Bells,” and Temples‘ “You’re Either on Something.”

A couple of those names show up in the top five albums as well, including Metronomy, whose album is at #3, but above that at #2 is Twin Peaks‘ new one, Lookout Low. Mallrat also crosses charts with Driving Music tied at #4 with Kim Gordon‘s forthcoming debut solo album (how is that even possible?), No Home Record. Then a fella who’s recently been confused for Beto O’Rourke, (Sandy) Alex G, appears at #6 with House of Sugar. The debut EP from U.K. band Squid, Town Centre, is at #7, followed by a three-way tie at #8 to bring us to ten. That features new or forthcoming releases from Bon Iver, Death Cab For Cutie, and The New Pornographers. You can of course get more details and go even further down the charts below.

To close things out today, I’ll encourage you to also continue reading for a fantastic interview with Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, conducted by FMQB’s Joey Odorisio (where the aforementioned Beto will also come up). Enjoy that and I’ll be back here for more SubModern stuffs next week.

~ Josh Landow
Twitter: @JoshTLandow
 

Updated 9/18/19

#ArtistTrackLabel
1CORRIDORTOPOGRAPHESUB POP
2FOALSTHE RUNNERWARNER
3GRIMESVIOLENCE4AD
4THE GRISWOLDSNICE TO MEET YA!NOTTING HILL / INGROOVES
5tBEACH BUNNYPROM QUEENMOM + POP
 BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUBEAT, SLEEP, WAKE (NOTHING BUT YOU)CAROLINE
7tCIGARETTES AFTER SEXHEAVENLYPARTISAN
 GIRL IN REDBAD IDEA!SELF-RELEASED
9tMALLRATCHARLIENETTWERK
 METRONOMYWEDDING BELLSBECAUSE
 TEMPLESYOU’RE EITHER ON SOMETHINGATO
12tTHE 1975PEOPLEDIRTY HIT / INTERSCOPE
 KIM GORDONAIR BNBMATADOR
14tFKA TWIGSHOLY TERRAINYOUNG TURKS
 LUCY DACUSDANCING IN THE DARKMATADOR
 THE OCEAN BLUEPARAGUAY, MY LOVELORDA
 TEGAN AND SARAI’LL BE BACK SOMEDAYSIRE
 WEEZERTHE END OF THE GAMECRUSH
19tDJ SHADOW [FT. DE LA SOUL]ROCKET FUELMASS APPEAL
 GREEN DAYFATHER OF ALL…WARNER
 KYLE CRAFT & SHOWBOAT HONEYO! LUCKY HANDSUB POP
 M83LUNE DE FIELMUTE
 PIP BLOMFRECKLESHEAVELY / PIAS
 REX ORANGE COUNTY10/10RCA
25t(SANDY) ALEX GSOUTHERN SKYDOMINO
 FOSTER THE PEOPLEPICK U UPCOLUMBIA
 MICHIGANDERMISERYC3

 

Updated 9/18/19

#ArtistAlbumLabel
1GIRL IN REDBEGINNINGSSELF-RELEASED
2TWIN PEAKSLOOKOUT LOWGRAND JURY
3METRONOMYMETRONOMY FOREVERBECAUSE
4tKIM GORDONNO HOME RECORDMATADOR
 MALLRATDRIVING MUSICNETTWERK
6(SANDY) ALEX GHOUSE OF SUGARDOMINO
7SQUIDTOWN CENTRESPEEDY WUNDERGROUND / PIAS
8tBON IVERI,IJAGJAGUWAR
 DEATH CAB FOR CUTIETHE BLUE EPATLANTIC
 THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERSIN THE MORSE CODE OF BRAKE LIGHTSCONCORD
11tTHE FUTUREHEADSPOWERSNULL
 LOWER DENSTHE COMPETITIONRIBBON
 THE LUMINEERSIIIDUALTONE
 PIXIESBENEATH THE EYRIEINFECTIOUS
 THE SAFESWINNING COMBINATIONACTION WEEKEND / BICKERTON
16tBELLE AND SEBASTIANDAYS OF THE BAGNOLD SUMMERMATADOR
 CEREMONYIN THE SPIRIT WORLD NOWRELAPSE
 FRANKIE COSMOSCLOSE IT QUIETLYSUB POP
 IGGY POPFREELOMA VISTA / CONCORD
 MIKAL CRONINSEEKERMERGE
 THE REGRETTESHOW DO YOU LOVE?WARNER
 SURF CURSEHEAVEN SURROUNDS YOUDANGER COLLECTIVE
23tCLAIROIMMUNITYFADER
 DEVENDRA BANHARTMANONESUCH
 JAY SOMANAK KOPOLYVINYL
 SLEATER-KINNEYTHE CENTER WON’T HOLDMOM + POP
 WHITNEYFOREVER TURNED AROUNDSECRETLY CANADIAN

 

SubModern Interview: Britt Daniel of Spoon

By Joey Odorisio

Spoon (photo: Oliver Halfin)

Spoon (photo: Oliver Halfin)

For over two decades, Britt Daniel and his band Spoon have been releasing critically acclaimed records and steadily building a fan base to the point that the Austin, TX band has become one of the true veteran mainstays of the indie rock world. Pulling from an impeccable catalog full of beloved tunes, Spoon has released Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon, collecting most of their best-known songs.

Spoon spent most of the summer on the “Night Running” tour, opening up for Beck and Cage the Elephant on the co-headlining powerhouse trek. Before the tour’s stop in Camden, NJ, Daniel sat down to chat with FMQB’s Joey Odorisio about best-of sets, their surprising ties to Presidential candidates and more.

FMQB: What can you tell us about the new single “No Bullets Spent?”

Britt Daniel: “No Bullets Spent” was a song I wrote last summer in New York City. I was there for most of the summer once we got off tour and I just went immediately back to writing some songs and that was the first one I got. It was based on an old instrumental track called “Dracula’s Cigarette,” [which] was on this weird record called Get Nice. I always loved that track so much and had an idea that I was gonna turn it into a song with words. That was the original idea: I’ll just take that instrumental track, write words on top of it and we’ll be done.

I did that, but then I got tired of that groove so we ended up changing it all up. You wouldn’t probably recognize it as being “Dracula’s Cigarette,” but that was the original way it started.

FMQB: In the lyrics, you sing, “you picture yourself,” which is a lyric in other Spoon songs, like “The Mystery Zone.” Is that intentional?

Britt: “Picture yourself” – it was on “The Mystery Zone,” it was on “The Underdog”…it was in “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” I like that line, it’s a good starter. You just say “picture yourself” and things start happening.

FMQB: How has the “Night Running” tour with Beck and Cage the Elephant gone?

Britt: It’s been a blast, honestly. The tour has its challenges for us because it’s gonna be still sunlight out when we play. That’s not quite as fun as playing in the dark. You’re a step down in vibe and the lights help with everything. But despite all that, most of the shows have been kind of fantastic and we’re having a really good time.

All the bands are buddies and I know all the crew by now and there’s a hundred crew people on this tour, it’s insane how big it is. It’s a traveling city.

FMQB: Do you go back with Beck a ways?

Britt: Actually Matt [Shultz] from Cage invited me to do this tour. He asked me to do it and then said, “Oh and by the way, Beck is going to be on the tour.” And I was like, “Oh! Why didn’t you say so?”

FMQB: In every interview you’ve done for Everything Hits at Once, you’ve had to defend making a best-of record in the age of streaming. I know you’ve always namechecked The Cure’s Standing on a Beach as your entry point into that band and a reason for releasing one.

Britt: There’s two parts to it. There’s the marketing part. That’s kind of what a greatest hits record is about. It’s more of a marketing experience than a normal record and it worked perfectly for me, because I had never heard a note of The Cure. I bought that record because I knew The Cure was this New Wave band that people love, bought it, became obsessed and from there bought all their record.

And it actually works as an artistic record in and of itself. I still go and throw on that compilation Standing on a Beach because it’s a great collection of those songs and sometimes that’s just what I want to hear.

FMQB: Which of your peers have done a best-of record? Beck doesn’t even have one!

Britt: Yeah, I guess he doesn’t…

FMQB's Joey Odorisio with Britt Daniel of Spoon

FMQB’s Joey Odorisio with Britt Daniel of Spoon

FMQB: It depends on the rights, because he’s been on different labels. You had to deal with that for Everything Hits at Once…your songs were from three different labels, right?

Yeah, we had to navigate that and it was not easy. All the Elektra stuff we got back and we gave to Merge, so it was Merge, Matador and Loma Vista we had to negotiate with.

FMQB: That makes it much easier than if you’re negotiating with an Interscope and their catalogs, like Beck would.

Britt:Yeah, in the end we own all those records, we just licensed them out. And a lot of those bands that put out records on major labels, they do not own those records, you know, they never will.

FMQB: Other than The Cure and obviously Spoon, who else can you think of that have good, entry-point greatest hits album out there?

Britt: Elvis Costello’s Girls Girls Girls is another one, it’s not in print and hasn’t been for a while, but that’s how I found out about him.

FMQB: Is it weird doing promo for a best-of collection? Do you ask yourself, “Didn’t I already answer every question about “I Turn My Camera On” 14 years ago?”

Britt: A little bit. Honestly, it’s been pretty surprising how much interest there is in it, because we’ve done reissues before and they just kind of came and went. But then we did this greatest hits and it’s been about as much press and radio and stuff to do as there has been with a regular record, so it’s cool…I was surprised.

FMQB: I’m guessing it’s also a lot easier to tour on a best-of, since obviously you don’t have to learn a new record to go out on the road.

Britt: Yeah, a lot of the songs that are on the best-of are songs that have never left our setlist. We never got tired of playing “I Turn My Camera On” or “The Underdog” or “Inside Out.”

FMQB: But you do have a new member in the lineup (bassist Ben Trokan replaced Rob Pope earlier this year).Has that been tricky with a different member in the band who just jumped on board?

Britt: The announcement would make you think that Rob quit right before the tour, but he let us know last Halloween and I spent a couple months trying to talk him out of it. In the end, we sat down in Williamsburg and he said, “You know, I’ve got a three-year-old and a five-year-old and I can’t spend as much time away from them anymore.”

Spoon - Everything Hits at OnceFMQB: “Don’t You Evah” is on Everything Hits at Once and it has such a great backstory to it that many people may not be aware of…

Britt: Yeah, there was a band called The Natural History that we toured with a few times and became buddies with them. Once one of those tours was over, I went back to Austin to write an album and Max and Julian [from the Natural History] went to New York to write an album. We started trading tapes of songs that we were working on. And one of the ones Max sent me was “Don’t You Evah.” I loved it, I put down some ideas for it, some percussion ideas, maybe some guitar. I sent it back and said, “This one’s great! They’re all great but this is my favorite one.”

Two years later, I was starting to come up with songs for another album and “Don’t You Evah” had still never come out. I said to the rest of Spoon, “I know this hit that nobody knows and we can maybe snag it.” And that’s what we did.

Eventually that song did pretty well and we did a “Don’t You Evah” EP and we put out their version on that EP as well as some remixes.

FMQB: The other thing that’s unique about this collection is that they’re “hits” that come from all over, from movies or commercials, and not just specifically radio hits, like you’d see 20 years ago.

Britt: For us, it’s a different level of goalposts, you know? When that “Don’t You Evah” EP came out, so few people were buying singles that it was I think the #1 single the week it came out, in terms of sales. It terms of airplay, it was zero…nobody was playing it. That was the kind of weird following that we had, that people who listen to this band wanted to buy it and they were excited about that.

FMQB: How surreal is it that your band is intertwined with two different Presidential candidates at the same time right now?

Britt:It’s pretty surreal. Well the Pete Buttegieg one is particularly surreal, because I didn’t have any contact with him or that he knew us or anything and he doesn’t have a Texas connection. I started getting these emails one day saying, “I’m sure you’ve seen this but there’s a video of Pete Buttegieg playing your song [“The Way We Get By”] before he goes onstage one night.” And it kind of blew my mind.

FMQB: He’s become friendly with Ben Folds and played on stage with him too. And then Beto O’Rourke obviously does have a Texas connection.

Britt: We kind of came to him… I had been hearing about Beto for a while and I have buddies in certain Texas politics who hip me to certain things going on and I get pretty interested in that stuff. So I kind of knew about this up-and-comer and that he was coming to Austin to do a fundraiser when he was running for Senate. We offered to play it and that’s where I first met him.

FMQB: What’s next for Spoon when you’re done this tour?

Britt: We started a record in February and we were working on it right before we went on tour. So we’re going to go back to that. I’ve got a few more songs to write. [Drummer] Jim [Eno] keeps telling me we’re about a third of the way through it, so we’ll see.

FMQB: Did going back through your entire catalog for this project influence the new material in any way?

Britt: It reminded me that there’s certainly some great drum sounds that I hadn’t thought about in a while, that made me think we could try doing drums like this again. When we recorded everything on tape, everything was a bit more stripped down. And as probably happens with every band, you move into digital and there’s limitless tracks and limitless possibilities and things get more complicated. I do like that more simplistic sound, it’s something to shoot for now and then.

 

 

SubModern Session: Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws
Run Around The Sun
(Merge)

Initially a duo consisting of guitarist Rachel Aggs (Shopping) from London and drummer Eilidh Rodgers from Glasgow, Sacred Paws have an expanded lineup and sound on their sophomore release Run Around The Sun, released in May on Merge Records.  I recently sat down with the pair, who now both reside in Glasgow, to chat about the new album, and the full band performed songs from it, which you can listen to in the player below.

FMQB:  For a while, you were a long distance band.  How did that work?
 
Rachel Aggs:  It was really wild that we did that.

Eilidh Rodgers:  For a long time, yeah.  Like six years or something.

FMQB:  Being so far apart, how did you even get the whole thing started?

Eilidh:  We were playing in another group together [Golden Grrrls] and we wanted an excuse to hang out a bit more, so we sort of just started Sacred Paws, and we’d travel, and hang out, and play gigs, and practice, and stuff.

FMQB:  Was it always one of you going to the other place, or was it a back and forth?

Eilidh: It was a back and forth, but probably more often in…
 
Rachel:  I spent more time coming to Glasgow, because I think Glasgow sort of accepted us.  We got gigs there and we were very taken in by the musical community there.  I really enjoyed having a reason to go and visit to be honest.  It was ages of people asking me when I was gonna move there.  I was like, "soon, soon." 

FMQB:  And you did.

Rachel:  I did, eventually.

Eilidh:  I mean… I traveled.  That makes it seem like I didn’t make the effort.  I was in London a lot.  Some people thought I lived in London.  [laughter]

FMQB:  But Glasgow won.
 
Eilidh:  Glasgow’s cheaper.

FMQB:  Immediately I was caught by how upbeat and jubilant your songs are.  But sometimes when that’s the case, the subject matter can still be dark or depressing.  Is that the case with you guys?
 
Eilidh: On occasion I guess some of the songs aren’t as happy as they first appear.  I think it’s important for us to make exciting music that feels cathartic in a way.

Rachel:  We have to sing about things that are on our mind, which are usually things that are bothering us or making us sad.  And I think, like you said, it’s a catharsis.  It’s a way of dealing with stuff.  I think in order to make something joyous, you have to have gone through something to get to the point of joy.  So, there’s always a dark side of the cloud or whatever.
 
FMQB:  I’m admittedly not familiar with your first album, so let’s go backwards and tell me what difference I’d notice going back to listen to that after Run Around The Sun?

Rachel: I think the first record was very much a culmination of everything we’d been doing for about six years, so it maybe sounds like that.

Eilidh: They’re not worlds apart.  I think maybe this record is step forward with the songwriting.  We have choruses, if you’d call them that, whereas with the first record, it was almost like we’d never heard a song before.

Rachel: Yeah, totally!  The songs were definitely less traditional in their structure and a bit weirder in general.  But, I don’t think they sound wildly different.

Eilidh:  The compositions are similar.  They’ve got the same brass and production.

FMQB: Yeah, I was gonna ask if the brass was a new addition for this album.

Eilidh:  No.  Same formula.

FMQB: Now, you don’t have a brass section with you on tour, so are there ways to substitute that?

Eilidh:  Well sometimes Jack will try to play the brass melody on guitar.
 
Rachel: He manages it! [laughter]  Yeah, we haven’t quite reached the level of bringing a three-piece brass section on tour with us.  One day!  We play as a guitar band live and it’s got that energy and that vibe to it.  I think if we did introduce much more it would be a very different type of show.  But we still try and bring the energy to the live show.  That’s sort of why we ended up putting so much stuff on the record, because it didn’t sound as fun as it felt to play when we recorded it.  It was like, if you add instruments it translates that energy that we try to do live.  I don’t think you need all that stuff going in in the live show.  It can be really minimal and still be fun. 

Hear some examples of Sacred Paws’ high energy live performance in their SubModern Session and find out more about them via Merge Records.
By Josh T. Landow