The Spinanes

The Imp Years (Merge 2000)

If only I had my crystal ball to predict which 90s indie-pop bands will be most fondly remembered by futuristic hipsters who may be able to telekinetically download albums in the shake of an ass cheek. Oh shit, I found it and believe that Portland, Oregon’s Spinanes will be hailed as one of the most beloved voices in this crowded room.

I believe my love for this band is firmly rooted in the fact that they echo many of the moody, introspective and catchy qualities of the Verlaines, Bats, Chills and other hallmarks of New Zealand’s Flying Nun Label. In fact, the chorus on “Hawaiian Baby” consists of a soothing chant of “Verlaines, Verlaines, Verlaines…” Well, you get the idea. Yes, they are somehow indebted to and part of the K records ethos of twee, but their lyrics and music were so much more mature and melancholy that that.

Their debut Manos was full of piss and vinegar. Lots of loud, amplified pop song played at a frenetic pace, but The Imp Years predicts the direction of their later albums more than the debut which followed these classic singles. Rebecca Gates carries much of the action as there is just something about her vocals that make you empathize with the heartaches and wariness that permeate these songs. Check out their second album Strand if this collection of singles speaks to your troubled heart.