Thursday, November 21, 2013

Music Library: Spinal Tap, Spinanes, Spirit Caravan, Spiritualized, Spokane, Spoon, Squirrel Bait, Squirrel Nut Zippers, St. Vincent, Stan Getz

Spinal Tap - This Is Spinal Tap (1984). While I still love the movie, part of the problem with an ironic comedy album is that it fizzles after time.

The Spinanes - The Imp Years EP (2000). Pretty great indie-rock band from Olympia, WA.

Spirit Caravan - Dreamwheel EP (1999) and The Last Embrace (compilation, 1999-2003). This is an absolutely awesome short-lived doom metal trio led by Scott "Wino" Weinrich. The Last Embrace is a compilation containing tracks from both of their full-length albums, a few EPs, and some nonalbum tracks.

Spiritualized - Lazer Guided Melodies (1992) and Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (1997). Spiritualized is a band that I like, but I have never made the plunge to pick up more of their albums. Part of this is because I think Lazer Guided Melodies is only so-so, even though Ladies And Gentlemen is excellent, partially an outsider's take on soul music.

Spokane - A Small Commotion (compilation, 2008). The quietest of all bands, Spokane plays a form of ultra-polite folk-rock that's barely there.

Spoon - All The Negatives Have Been Destroyed EP (1996), Soft Effects EP (1997), A Series Of Sneaks (1998), 30 Gallon Tank EP (1998), Love Ways EP (2000), Girls Can Tell (2001), Kill The Moonlight (2002), Gimme Fiction (2005), Sister Jack single (2005), Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007), Get Nice! (2007), Transference (2010). One of my favorite indie-rock bands, Spoon is built on the rock-solid rhythm machine of Jim Eno's drums and Brett Daniel's chunka-chunka guitar. The early EPs (sorry, I don't have their first full-length Telephono, although I wish I did), and Sneaks are building to the greatness of 30 Gallon Tank's "I Could Be Underground," Girls Can Tell, and Moonlight. Fiction, Ga Ga, and Transference are all also excellent, albeit a small step back in quality from their peak. Get Nice!, a bonus disc of demos that came with Ga Ga, is not so great.

Squirrel Bait - Skag Heaven (1987). The Louisville, KY hardcore band that splintered into Bastro, Gastr del Sol, and Slint, and later provided some integral components to the Chicago avant-rock scene. This is great stuff, with elements of math rock and start-stop dynamics.

Squirrel Nut Zippers - Hot (1997). Chapel Hill's contribution to the 90s swing revival has a love of all music from the early 20th century, which they mix into a pan-retro melange of blues, swing, calypso, and hillbilly music on this album.

St. Vincent - Marry Me (2007). The super-talented Annie Clark makes music that is incredibly odd and very, very good, and there really is no reason why I haven't picked up her 2nd and 3rd albums. I listened to them streaming, and I thought I had bought them at one point, but apparently not. Anyway, Marry Me, her debut, with its sly Arrested Development-joke title, is funny and surprising and heartfelt, and there are not that many artists who make music that can claim all three of these adjectives at once.

Stan Getz - Diz and Getz (1953), The Steamer (1956), Getz/Gilberto (1963). Getz was a giant of the saxophone, and these three albums show off his range from the smoking bop album with Dizzy Gillespie to the cool jazz of The Steamer to the uber-cool Brazilian samba fusion of Getz/Gilberto, recorded with guitarist Joao Gilberto, his wife Astrud (who Getz seduced), and Tom Jobim.


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