How Britt Daniel Gave Us New Indie Supergroup Divine Fits
Daniel and Handsome Furs' Dan Boeckner have only just announced their new group with drummer Sam Brown, but it isn't their first collaboration
In early 2010, Spoon played New York’s Radio City Music Hall with openers Deerhunter and Strange Boys. As YouTube footage records for posterity, Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner joined the Austin indie rockers on stage, helping out on Spoon’s “I Saw the Light” and leading a howling cover of his own band’s “Modern World.” Now, two years later, Spoon’s Britt Daniel has formed a new band called Divine Fits with Boeckner and drummer Sam Brown of Ohio punk rockers the New Bomb Turks, and Merge has announced it will be releasing their Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs)-produced album this fall.
It would be a stretch to say Daniel’s mind meld with Boeckner was foreordained — the Fiery Furnaces’ Eleanor Friedberger also guest starred that night at Radio City; where’s her indie supergroup? — but plenty of signs exist to suggest Divine Fits might make good on their sublimely chaotic name. Daniel used to record solo material under the name Drake Tungsten in the 1990s, and he has dabbled in production and remixes for groups like Interpol, I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, and White Rabbits, but he hasn’t put out a solo record since a 2002 split with Bright Eyes. For all the great work Spoon has continued to release in the past decade, not least including 2010’s masterful Transference, it’s easy to see how an indie-rock savant like Daniel might have looked with envy toward Montreal, with its myriad overlapping bands.
Then there’s Boeckner. Wolf Parade, his long-running band with Spencer Krug (also of Moonface, Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake, Frog Eyes — see?) declared a “hiatus” last May. And although Boeckner is committed to scoring a movie for John Cusack, he and his wife Alexei Perry just last week announced they were shutting down their own “side project,” Handsome Furs, after six years. We should’ve known better than to think Boeckner could go without a new band for long.
Part of the reason we’re forced to play this mind-reading game is because Divine Fits haven’t actually offered up any music yet. Merge promises more information on tour dates, an album release date, and so on when it becomes available. But as a combination of two major-league indie rockers and a veteran shit-kicking drummer, the group is both a logical step and a hugely exciting prospect. Either way, Daniel has sure come a long way from his previous indie supergroup, Peek-A-Boo Records’ 1999 glam-rock one-off Golden Millennium, which now that we think of it should totally open for Divine Fits — maybe Boeckner can join that band, too?