spoon - girls can tell

Spoon – Girls Can Tell

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Label :

Merge – 2001

The first songs to be recorded for Girls Can Tell (GCT) were Me And The Bean and Chicago At Night. They were recorded with John Croslin at Music Lane in Austin sometime in either late 1998 or early 1999. Apart from the Music Lane sessions with Croslin, the rest of GCT was made throughout 1999 and well into 2000 at Jim’s converted garage studio next to his home in Austin. It was while making GCT that Jim began taking on the role of engineer for the record and the total recording process was largely a band effort, just the three of us, at least in the early stages. Creating and recording the album was a stressful experience as Spoon didn’t have a label after being dropped from Elektra and Merge wasn’t involved with the band yet. At the time the band didn’t know what the future held and was simply moving forward creatively. Britt had a lot of great new songs and it was obvious that the sound of the band was changing. It’s difficult to remember specifics about making GCT because it all ran together; learning the songs, rehearsing the final versions as a band and then recording them. There was a lot of trial and error when it came to the recording process. Early demos were on a generic Mac computer prior to legitimate analog gear being rented for proper tracking. At the same time, Jim began acquiring his own studio equipment. I can’t remember exactly when but Mike McCarthy eventually came on board as producer and really helped lead the record to completion. With the perspective of time, I’m happy with my work on the record. I distinctly remember sitting in my apartment working on the bass line to Take The Fifth. I believe the verse part was something Britt came up with when he wrote the tune and I expanded on it. The chorus part I created, as well as my entire performance on the recording, was heavily inspired by Gary “Mani” Mounfield from The Stone Roses and specifically his playing on I Am The Resurrection. James Jamerson’s bass playing for Motown is in the part as well. I also like the syncopated bass line I came up with for Chicago At Night. It’s actually a double-tracked bass part (Croslin’s idea) but the way it was mixed on GCT actually causes it to be less audible. Strange. Some of the bass playing on GCT has a demo quality to it as far as parts and performance (Lines In The Suit, Anything You Want, etc.) and that bugs me a bit but the unpolished quality of the record is what’s attracted people to it. What do I know…? I don’t think I used that many different basses on the record. I was almost exclusively playing my Fender Jazz ’62 reissue bass in those days but I did still have my Rickenbacker 4003 bass. Making GCT was really challenging and I learned a lot but by the end of the process I found it very difficult to exist in Spoon. I quit in June 2000 as we were working on the songs for the Love Ways EP but my time with the band wasn’t over.