Review: Hot Thoughts by Spoon

Hot Thoughts by SpoonSpoon’s last album, They Want My Soul from three years ago, saw the band somewhat double down on the catchiness factor – it’s something they’ve always done, but it seemed to be more prominent in that case. Their new album, on the other hand, could seem like a U-turn, but not really. Hot Thoughts can still be catchy, but it sounds like the understated sort of catchy. Blame it on a slight hip-hop influence (the cool kind), but more importantly, Britt Daniel and his troupe introduce a bunch of electronic layers, making the sounds feel like a slight meander rather than a more urgent affair. It’s not really a reaction but an evolution: once the record is done, and all the initial shock has worn off, you realize that the “messy” sound clicks together. Why they’d go for something this subtle at this point in their career is beyond me, though. [NB]3/5

What did we learn on the blog over the last five years, Niko?

Happy birthday to us!

On Saturday morning I made some tweets, inspired by yet another tweet I saw. “Remember when all pop was throwaway and ‘indie’ was better than anything else?” I pondered. “Now, there’s such a thing as ‘indie pop’, and even the ‘bad’ pop is now getting cool kid cred. So, you know, it’s all fluid. But we want to be icy cool. Icy cool to the point of frozen.”

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Five years in: (some of) the earthings! story in photographs

Honestly, there really isn’t a lot of story to tell, unless I decide to act like a really big thing and insist that the mundane things earthings! has done over its five years of existence is worth telling. But isn’t it fun to be able to post a photo album of scenes captured from those five years – at least scenes that don’t involve me writing paragraphs in front of a laptop from my so-called desk, or sometimes at various hotels across the region – and say something about the “story” of earthings! across its five years of existence? Yes, right? So, well, here it is – a slightly random compendium of photos, of the people we met, the people we became friends with, and in between, some photos that didn’t quite make it to these pages. This is, after all, a personal blog masquerading as a music blog. You get the idea. [NB]

“Come on out. Don’t be another fool.”

“My Girl You Blush” by Moi Caprice | Here’s another one from the Danish, because lately I’m gravitating back to P6 Beat, perhaps in an attempt to be, err, alternative again. This one’s old, though. Twelve years old, in fact: this was released from the 2005 album You Can’t Say No Forever. But I think what attracts me to most Danish alternative is how, err, fuzzy is all sounds. I didn’t want to say “twee” but there’s a synonym I can’t protest against. Moi Caprice – they were founded in 1993, so they’re definitely veterans – may have the crunch, but this song, at least, has that dreamy element. Perhaps not as dreamy as, say, Shy Shy Shy, but you get the idea. This bounces along, but keeps half of you in dreamland. It’s discombobulating, perhaps, but the good kind. [NB]

“When I hear those drums late at night, I know I’m in love.”

“Two Doors Down” by Mystery Jets | Jeany mentioned them yesterday, so perfect time to write about them again. Yes, we talked a lot about British indie in the early days. This was before earthings! was born. It’s a funny sequence of events. I first heard Jeany while listening to a podcast of Danny Wallace’s first seven-week stint on 6 Music. She was talking about what she can see outside of her apartment’s window in Times Square. A few months later, we started to chat – and it’s not because I sought her out after the podcast. It just happened. We haven’t ever met offline but she’s one of my closest friends. Our early conversations were soundtracked by the resurgence of British indie in the latter part of the noughties: we were left adrift by XFM, began listening to the first version of NME Radio (which had this Mystery Jets song on high rotation, which is why I loved it) and then both decided we preferred the BBC better; me to 6 Music, she to Radio 1, with the inevitable crossover. So, there’s that. An origin story. And I still love this song, even if I haven’t listened to it in years – this happens when you decide a so-called music blog is worth doing. [NB]