Saturday, March 08, 2008

SPINANES - Manos LP (Sub Pop/1993)
Well, strike me down and call me a nancy-boy: there are albums you cherish, worship and get all fire-and-brimstone over, and there are records you find yourself defending as simply damn good examples of songcraft and musical execution. The Spinanes LP - this Spinanes LP - from 1993, entitled Manos, is one of them. I bought this at the time coz they were being bandied about by the likes of Feminist Baseball mag, Tim Adams and all those other icons(?!) of early '90s undie-rock I looked up to as superb practitioners of song. Nothing more, nothing less. Uber-noise jerk-off hipsters won't be ripping this out at their next krautrock/power-electronics record party, but on the sly, they'll slap it on, kick back and very damn likely dig the tunes within. I took the plunge and, well, I guess the fact that I still own this LP 15 years later speaks volumes for the fact that I certainly never regretted my decision.
The Spinanes were a Chicago two-piece outfit from the '90s comprising of singer-guitarist Rebecca Gates and drummer Scott Plouf. They released a couple of singles on the Imp label (lo-fi hepcat label of the day and brothers-in-arms w/ Shrimper and all their brethren) before jumping ship to-then Grunge Central, Sub Pop. They released two albums as a duo on the label, before Plouf left and Gates kept the Spinanes moniker as a solo project for one last album. I have not heard the subsequent LPs after Manos, but I can state that the level of songcraft and the guitar-drums interplay on Manos are quite stunning. Plouf hits his skins hard and always keeps the beat basic and surprisingly heavy in approach, almost like a cardigan-wearing Jon Bonham. He accents every riff to perfection, never clutters a song up w/ unnecessary fills, and lets Gates' guitar and vocal delivery work in perfect synchronicity w/ his beats. Now, before you accuse me of dissecting their music like a scribe for Modern Drummer magazine, I will state that I'm only saying all this because one must get the point across that their minimal line-up works so frighteningly well. Gates never gets flash w/ the guitar licks - just power chords and strums straight from the Indie Rock 101 Handbook - though her sweet voice and surprisingly cynical and bittersweet lyrics (am I wrong here in assuming that some of the songs from Manos are political??) give it an edge which actually makes me remember the record once the needle's left the groove.
I'm not going to say you should rush and out get Manos; it's a record which will simply fill the gap when you feel like hearing some really well-penned pop music, and let's face it: there is nothing wrong with that. There are 12 songs on Manos and they're all good. Case closed.


HMK said...

Manos is a genius record. I'm jamming to Valency as I write this.

Make it louder!

You might dig this:



SP said...

Any chance it would be possible to upload this record? I've already spent $50 on music this week. :-P

SP said...

Any chance it would be possible to upload this record? I've already spent $50 on music this week. :-P

Dave said...

SP: you gotta be shitting me. You want people to continue to bother making music, you gotta be prepared to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

nobody forces anyone to make music. there're better paid jobs in fact. and the truth is that there are so many bands that I don't know if I want to be bothered by another insignificant band, so yeah uploading music helps to decide if you like something or not