The Skinny: Fourth release from these British dream-poppers, packed with jangly alt-country and dusky psychedelia. This is the indie sound of the Aughts (2000s) — laid-back, spacey and heady. If you’re having trouble sleeping, or need a soundtrack for your meditation experiments, don’t pass this disc by.
Sounds like: Flaming Lips, Band of Horses, Stars, Galaxie 500, Nick Drake, Wilco, Sufjan Stevens, Neil Young, Elliot Smith
Deeper Thoughts: Released in 2003, Spoon and Rafter is exactly the type of music I was into in this period. I was off on a Wilco bender and I loved the poetic lyrics and the occasional flights of whimsy here. The tunes are tender, atmospheric and thoughtful (just like me). The members trace their roots to the British shoe-gazing movement and they don’t stray far here — the melancholy introspection just keeps coming. Primarily based around acoustic strumming, simple piano chording and keyboard swirls, they add in theremin sounds, glockenspiel and the ache of longing. Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell have a sweet vocal sympathy. But this really is a somnambulant indie snoozer from the ultimate opening act — friendly and non-threatening.
The Sonics: This is a pleasant disc with a gentle sound. The mix is busy, but well-balanced. Nothing is particularly dominant. Lots of stuff crammed into the mid-range frequencies. Has a Velvet Underground, home-made sonics vibe.