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With John Vanderslice and Sleepy Kid. Monday, September 16, at the Grog Shop.

Austin, Texas rockers Spoon are low-concept. So low-concept, in fact, you'd think they adhered to some Dogme 95-esque set of musical principles, such as: song title must be taken from the song's chorus; handclaps and "ooh-ooh-oohs" mandatory; must jangle. Of course, it's unlikely that Britt Daniel and his Spoon cohorts have actually articulated any of this to themselves; one senses they've been too busy drinking Bud and punching each other, when they're not committing another taut, near-perfect rock song to tape.

Of course, a back-to-basics approach is one thing, and then there's writing great songs. Gritty-voiced Daniel (who sounds like a cross between early Elvis Costello and Ray Davies) basks in the light of the rock muse: Since the release of Spoon's debut Series of Sneaks, he's hardly sounded a false note, and every album between Sneaks and Kill the Moonlight contains at least one song -- usually more -- that's so damn good, it practically melts your mind.

Meantime, Daniel's stripped down his always-spare sound to the point where, on Kill the Moonlight, you can't locate even a single extraneous tambourine echo. There's more instrumental and production variety than meets the ear, but his songs are the musical equivalent of sharpened knives. And in concert, Spoon slays.

Speaking of Previews

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