This week's ALT 104.5 New Music Discovery of the Week is Spoon "Wild"
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Spoon’s tenth album, Lucifer on the Sofa, is the band’s purest rock ’n roll record to date. Texas-made, it is the first set of songs that the quintet has put to tape in its hometown of Austin in more than a decade. Written and recorded over the last two years – both in and out of lockdown – these songs mark a shift toward something louder, wilder, and more full-color.
From the detuned guitars anchoring “The Hardest Cut,” to the urgency of “Wild," to the band’s blown-out cover of the Smog classic “Held,” Lucifer on the Sofa bottles the physical thrill of a band tearing up a packed room. It’s an album of intensity and intimacy, where the music’s harshest edges feel as vivid as the directions quietly murmured into the mic on the first-take. According to frontman Britt Daniel, “It’s the sound of classic rock as written by a guy who never did get Eric Clapton.”
While Spoon’s last album, Hot Thoughts (2017), bristled with drum machines, synths, and astral moods, the nonstop touring that followed in its wake tugged the band back toward a stripped-down sound. “I liked where we’d gone on Hot Thoughts – it had a specific style and it covered new ground for us – but we kept noticing on the road that the live versions of the songs were beating the album versions,” says Daniel. “And it got us thinking: The best rock music is not about dialing in the right patches and triggering samples. It’s about what happens in a room.”
It took some relocating. In fall of 2019, Daniel moved back to Austin from Los Angeles. A month later, guitarist/keyboardist Alex Fischel followed him with a car full of gear. The move to Texas added up for a lot of reasons: Daniel was born and grew up there, and his family never left. Drummer Jim Eno has his Public Hi-Fi studio in Austin, which allowed the band the luxury of recording at whatever pace they liked. Above all, regrouping in Austin would help the band break with the sound and the feeling of the last few Spoon albums.
That return felt like less of a homecoming than a jolt to the system. Here was an opportunity to write amidst the creative lawlessness that inspired Daniel to make music in the first place — a city where everything from outlaw country to psychedelic punk have long co-mingled at honky-tonks, house shows and backyard barbecues.
“We wanted to make a record where we could experience and draw from a scene,” says Daniel. “Where Alex and I could write all day, then go out and see Dale Watson at the Continental, then come back home and write some more.”