Sweet Spirit & Britt Daniel – “Have Mercy” (Stereogum Premiere)

Patrick Hosken | April 23, 2015 - 12:29 pm

Austin’s Sweet Spirit oscillate between garage melodicism and dizzy fury, and people have taken notice — including Spoon’s Britt Daniel. In the past, Daniel has recruited the band to back him at solo gigs, and now, in preparation of some upcoming joint Spoon/Sweet Spirit tour dates, he’s joined members Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen on a stomping, gorgeous song called “Have Mercy.” The trio penned the tune at Ellis’ house and recorded it a few weeks later with producer Mike McCarthy, who also worked on four Spoon albums and will help craft Sweet Spirit’s forthcoming debut. The resulting track, “Have Mercy,” is thick with synth noise, heavy drums, and a wall of gorgeous vocal harmonies blended to an overwhelming emotional peak. Listen, and check out the tour dates, below.

Here’s what Daniel had to say about the recording process:

I went to Andrew’s house to write with them one day. Andrew already had chords and a melody and he and I strummed it on guitar for a while. Meanwhile Sabrina was drinking, answering phone calls, smoking pot, writing emails, approving photos for an article on the band — she had plenty going on. But then she held up a sheet of paper with all the words on it and said “OK here it is, it’s about birds.” She’d been writing it while doing all the other stuff. And the fuck if they weren’t amazing lyrics. So then we played the song with the words a few times and I did some harmonizing and Andrew recorded it on his phone. It sounded pretty laid back and country, so when Andrew told me a couple weeks later that he wanted it to be a drum machine and synthesizer song i was surprised. I got to Mike McCarthy’s studio that afternoon at 5 and programmed a beat, Mike came up with some sounds, Jake played a dirty synth part, I sang harmonies and helped with the choral sounding vocals. It was my birthday so I split at 10:30 or so to go have a drink and Andrew stayed late and oversaw the strings get recorded. The whole thing was put to tape in a short day and then Mike and I mixed it the day after.

Here’s Cashen’s take:

Britt came over to my house and wrote with Sabrina and me one day. That’s how ‘Have Mercy’ came about. And we had a version of Paper Tiger we had worked up for Mike McCarthys hundredth birthday party that we all really liked. We’ve talked about starting something with Britt for awhile but everybody’s really busy all the time and so this was the first chance to actually put something down. We recorded the music for it in one take, got it mixed and mastered in less than a week, and now, you have gum for your stereo.

And here are Sweet Spirit’s forthcoming tour dates:
04/23 – Madison, WI @ Mickey’s Tavern
04/24 – Minneapolis, MN @ Shit Biscuit
04/25 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington
04/26 – Hamtramck, MI @ New Dodge Lounge
04/27 – Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog
04/28 – New Brunswick, NJ @ The Court Tavern
04/29 – New York, NY @ Cake Shop
04/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Don Pedro’s
05/01 – Chapel Hill, NC @ The Cave
05/02 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East
05/04 – Athens, GA @ Flicker Theatre and Bar
05/06 – Lafayette, LA @ Artmosphere
05/07 – Houston, TX @ Continental Club
05/10 – Austin, TX @ Red 7
05/17 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom*
05/18 – Kansas City, MO @ Midland*
05/19 – Fargo, ND @ Fargo Theatre*
05/21 – Missoula, MT @ Wilma Theater*
05/24 – Vancouver, BC @ Malkin Bowl*
05/25 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory*
05/29 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater*
05/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern*
06/01 – San Diego, CA @ North Park Theatre*
06/02 – San Diego, CA @ North Park Theatre*
* – with Spoon

Lastly, here’s a photo of Daniel and Ellis performing together:

The Sweet Spirit And Britt Daniel 7″ will be available on Spoon’s upcoming tour dates via Nine Mile Records and will see digital release sometime soon.