Even though he loves The Ramones, Britt Daniel sometimes gets tired of that straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll 4/4 beat. Daniel is lead singer and guitarist with acclaimed Austin indie rockers Spoon.
“It makes it a little more fun if we can find a groove,” he tells me. “It sort of comes instinctually.” We’re talking about Spoon’s latest release, Hot Thoughts, the band’s ninth studio record and first since returning to well-known indie rock record label Matador.
Daniel calls returning to Matador a homecoming but also a new beginning. “A lot of what we’re doing is new,” he says. New, like adding some disco boop and electronic beep to Spoon’s usual post-punk whoop.
It all amplifies the band’s long-evident blue-eyed soul and classic R ’n’ B influences. Album track “Can I Sit Next to You” practically glides across the dance floor, and the song “Hot Thoughts” is hot ‘n’ sticky, low key punk-funk.
Daniel takes it as a compliment when I say, in my opinion, Spoon’s always been a little dance-y. That side of what they do is often overlooked; audiences and critics focus on their taut, minimal and meticulous indie pop songwriting. Daniel thinks Spoon doesn’t fit that indie-rock slacker stereotype, preferring the just-so perfectionism of Phil Spector or Brian Wilson.
But dancing, after all, is often a mating ritual for humans. Does Daniel feel Spoon is music for those who get the objects of their desire — or for those who don’t? “Definitely the latter,” he says with a laugh, adding that, like a lot of the best indie music from the ’80s, there’s a melancholy heart to Spoon: music for people who like to dance when they’re sad, just as much as when they’re happy.
Spoon plays with Kentucky garage-punkers White Reaper 8:30 pm Saturday, Jan. 14, at McDonald Theatre; $31.50 advance, $37 door, all-ages. — Will Kennedy