Music News

Spoon: Transference in "Nothing Not New"

Welcome to "Nothing Not New," a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.

Artist: Spoon
Title: Transference
Release date: January 19, 2010
Label: Merge

Apparently, Spoon's been around for a while, but my debilitating case of "aesthetic atrophy" has prevented me from being aware of the Texas band's achievements up to this point. Perhaps when 2011 rolls around I'll seek out some of Spoon's back catalog (any suggestions where to start?) because I like Transference. It's certainly one of the better releases I've heard in these early stages of "Nothing Not New."

Transference is full of understated guitar-and-piano pop/rock songs and a few really good hypnotic rockers. I like the way Spoon keeps it basic -- un-showy songwriting, simple arrangements, and less-than-fancy production. According to New Times contributor Michael Lopez, this is the first time Spoon has served as their own producer. Good move on their part. There's nothing resembling a "hit" on Transference, but the album succeeds on its own terms, as unadorned mood music.

I'm curious to hear what longtime Spoon fans have to say about it. Leave a comment below, why don't you? And while I have you here . . . I watched the rock documentary It Might Get Loud last week and generally thought it was decent, if a bit serious, given the subject matter and the premise. What did you think? Also, did I break the rules of "Nothing Not New" by watching a movie about music released before 2010? This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.

Best track: "The Mystery Zone" and "Got Nuffin," the latter being one of those great hypnotic rockers. 
Rotation: Heavy
Deja Vu: A couple of songs remind me of other songs here and there (Gang of Four, David Bowie), but Spoon has a unique sound, unlike this band.
I'd rather listen to: Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Grade: B+

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Jay Bennett
Contact: Jay Bennett