Spoon

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

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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.

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