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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Spoon’s rocky road to fame

The O.C. launches Texas band's career

Published: April 18, 2008
Section: Arts, Etc.

You know those bands whose mainstream popularity is helped greatly by its music’s appearance on a television show or movie? Like The Shins and Garden State or Kimya Dawson and Juno. Well, Spoon is one of those bands and its breakthrough was thanks to The O.C.

After relatively rough beginnings, Texan indie rock band Spoon was probably pretty thankful when The O.C. picked up its single “The Way We Get By.” In 1995, the band signed with Matador Records, and within the year, released its first full-length LP, Telephono, which was met with mixed reviews. What was noticed though was that the album was the beginning of Spoon developing its own fresh sound.

Less than a year later, Spoon released its second EP, Soft Effects, which was successful enough that the band was soon signed to Elektra Records in 1998.

This was their first major label deal and that May, Spoon released A Series of Sneaks. Unfortunately the album did not live up to Elektra’s sales expectations and the band was dropped within four months of the release.

The man responsible for signing Spoon in the first place, Ronn Laffitte, was also fired. Spoon was furious and recorded two songs in response: “The Agony of Laffitte” and “Laffitte Don’t Fail Me Now” which questioned the label’s ethics and empty promises.

In 2000, the band was signed with Merge Records and released the EP Love Ways. In 2001, the band released its third LP, Girls Can Tell which was more successful than its previous LPs combined. A year later, the band released Kill the Moonlight, which contained The O.C. famed “The Way We Get By.” By the time their next album, Gimme Fiction, was released in 2005, the band was becoming more famous; the album debuted at number 44 on the Billboard 200.

Britt Daniel, the band’s singer/guitarist collaborated with Brian Reitzell to compose and arrange the soundtrack for the 2006 film, Stranger than Fiction. A year later, the band released its most recent album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, which debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200.

Many people give bands grief for “going mainstream.” I disagree. I think that Spoon was a great band before The O.C. and continued to be a great band after they became better known.

I personally was very happy when I started hearing Spoon’s music on the radio, because it’s a great feeling when your band begins to be appreciated by a wider audience. Even though I was not an O.C. fan in any capacity, I was still glad to know that they were smart enough to feature Spoon music.

I am also a big fan of the band’s most recent release, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. “The Underdog,” “Don’t You Evah,” “Rhythm and Soul,” and the iTunes bonus track “Deep Clean” are all winners in my book. The whole album is a good listen, but those four especially get me going. Some of Spoon’s stuff can sound repetitive, but I like that they have such a distinctive sound.

I would suggest giving Spoon a listen. If you like more mainstream music, then check out “The Way We Get By” or “I Turn My Camera On.” If you’re into other great tracks then definitely check out “Rhythm and Soul.” It’s a great band and I think that they can offer a little something for everyone.