By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
As with many Americans post-9/11, DiFranco's personal life has evidently nosedived in sync with the deteriorating planetary Zeitgeist. Yet she not only clings to the lifeboat but continues to demand that there be room on it for everyone. With every political lyric or aside, her fans expressed thunderous solidarity, giving vent to the growing rage that the Righteous Babe has consistently been an outlet for. When the topic somehow came to breasts, DiFranco laughed. "Sign of the times, opening the L.A. Weekly. Half the fucking thing is trying to make you okay 'cause somehow you're not," she said, ever speaking truth to bullshit. (Michael Simmons)
at the Troubadour, October 24
Spoon are the epitome of contemporary American indie rock. They live in Austin, Texas, a little college town with a great music scene. They write tight little songs about life's unspectacular cases. It's a lot of littleness. Last year's well-crafted Girls Can Tell was a career breakthough, because it was tighter than anyone else's average indie rock, and they were more strident about setting their sights so low. But is aiming low ever a virtue?
I was watching Spoon from the Troubadour's skyboxlike VIP room, the Loft. A woman dressed in a style notably more upscale than the thrift-store chic displayed by most of those in attendance turned to me and asked, "Is he British? His name is Britt, right?" I did the "I'm not hearing you, and if I am, I'm not caring" nod, but she was on to something. One of Spoon's cardinal virtues is Britt Daniel's voice. The roughness of it is as hard to forget as a sore throat, and, to seal in your remembering, he enunciates every word in a clipped, affected accent. On top of the group's pulsing songs, Spoon bring to mind British post-punk, specifically Elvis Costello & the Attractions as angry young men. Each line propels you gloriously forward.
On record this comes across as controlled brilliance. But their live delivery was lacking. For one, you can see that, far from being angry, Daniel is just being precise and getting his syl-la-bles correct. The band -- longtime collaborator Jim Eno on drums and part-timers on bass and dinky electric keyboard -- came across less like the Attractions and more like posing mods. Spoon knocked out the songs with the effortless skill of a pool shark polishing off a patsy, but it sounded like they were on a very short leash, the rhythms slavishly subservient to Daniel's guitar cues. The compressed pulse and insistent hooks made it hard to lose focus on the songs moment to moment, but the reliance on thrum rather than melody made them equally easy to forget.
I like Spoon, but there's something desultory about music that seems so easy. On their new album, Kill the Moonlight, Daniel celebrates the little things: "Oh yeah, small stakes ensure you the minimum blues/but you don't feel taken and you don't feel abused/Small stakes tell you that there's nothing can do/Can't think big, can't think past one or two and awlright!" But sometimes it's not all right. (Alec Hanley Bemis)