Spoon are no doubt the best-known Austin band right now. Even their album covers are blogged about. The two albums previous to the newest were big critical and commercial successes, and the newest, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" hit the Billboard Charts at number 10. Here's how I feel about Spoon: First off, local boys make good is always a good thing. Even though Spoon (co)leader Britt Daniel has called Portland home since 2006, Spoon are essentially an Austin band, and this newest album was mostly all recorded in Austin. I've always really liked them and loved several of their songs, just not over-the-top loved as much as some do. The first song on 2002's "Kill the Moonlight", "Small Stakes" (mp3), helped me put into words the thing that I liked about them: the angst, the build-up never quite unleashed, detached yet steady anticipation building into nothing but itself. The songs now still have some of that urgency, but not as much of the stark angularity. This newest has been out for a couple of months now, and critics from Pitchfork to AMG are praising it to the heavens, and it's not all wrong: the newer sounds are more soulful, have more varied instrumentation, are fussed over, but it's sometimes a bit too fussed over. I wish in the case of a lot of their songs that I could hear the studio less, that the production was more stripped down. I don't know why I think that, it's hard to put in words why I feel that's the case here because I love these things about Super Furry Animals. But on this newer Spoon it's like the emotions are trying to escape the studio. Here's three versions of "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb", it's interesting to hear the different takes because it kind of makes me wish they had gone with the less fussed-over alternate mix throughout the whole album, the sound of foot-stomping on a wood floor and hand claps over the sound of a tambourine being struck with a stick in a studio, or at least the more live-sounding tambourine on the KCRW version. There's still Spoon's looseness and swagger on the new album, but I want it to be even looser I guess. I like the alt mix of Cherry Bomb because it just has a first-take kind of spontaneity that fits them well. Still, though, all said - they've obviously taken their time with it, it's a pleasing listen all the way through, is still full of great chops and mid-tempo energy, and I'll probably change my mind and think this album version's better in a few months.

You can stream all of "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" over at Merge, and buy it there, too, and listen to select tracks from all of Spoon's releases at their site.

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