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Monday, June 2, 2014

Built to Spill

Some catchy, hook-filled, guitar jamming indie rock from Boise Idaho, most often bringing to
memory the work of Pavement, or, perhaps more accurately, Dinosaur Junior. This is also a band (like Flaming Lips) who have released a bunch of EP's that I don't know the drill!

Guitarist/singer Doug Martsch formed the band in the early 1990's along with bassist/keyboardist Brett Nelson and drummer Ralf Youtz. This is one of those "floating conglomeration" bands, with Martsch being the only "permanent" member, though Nelson has been there most of the time as well, while splitting his time with  Caustic Resin.

First release was 1993's "Ultimate Alternative Wavers", a very, very good album which I would argue as thier best. "Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup" and "Shameful Dread" are good, long tracks filled with noise that guitar junkies will simply fall in love with. To me one of the more overlooked albums of a point in time (early 1990's) in which great albums were seemingly coming out every week.

They followed up with "There's Nothing Wrong With Love", also an excellent effort, shorter and more accessible tracks with standouts "Car" especially "Distopian Dream Girl"......good effort which like it's predecessor was and is still overlooked. Recommended.

Make it three great efforts in a row with 1997's "Perfect From Now On".....we could also argue this as thier best work, MUCH more experimental/psychedelic, longer, droning tracks like "Randy Described Eternity" and "I Would Hurt a Fly", among others, are good, unique, and difficult to describe. One track on the album, "Out of Site", prominently features cello playing. Good stuff.

Closing out the 1990's with yet another perfectly acceptable album, "Keep It Like a Secret"....nothing
here as fine as the previous three discs but another album of tuneful indie rock songs, "The Plan", and the long closing number "Broken Chairs" are the highpoints.

Sounding somewhat like a broekn record here, but, certainly, also, there is not a thing wrong with "Ancient Melodies of the Future", another set with some good tunes such as "Strange" and "Alarmed", and plenty of Martsch's trademark guitar sound.

"Goin' Against Your Mind" and "Conventional Wisdom" are the standout tracks on 2006's "You In Reverse"....these guys knew their formula and executed it quite well, I actually like THIS album quite a bit also, so, as you can see I think they were quite excessively underappreciated.

2013's "There is No Enemy" is their latest, and, for me, weakest effort.....Nelson and longtime drummer Scott Plouff left, this one doesn't really get it done for me, not "awful" by any means, but I think the "sell-by" date had been reached though. Quite a run, though, regardless.

There are also a so-so live album, imaginatively entitled "Live", and also "The Normal Years" which rounds up a bunch of singles, previously unreleased other tracks, and whatever......for fanatics (both of em I guess).

Good band......unappreciated in their time, but as I said before I think that in the early 1990's, the void that was the 1980's was being filled with SO MUCH good stuff that a lot of it tends to get overlooked. If you aren't familar, let me know what you think, the first six efforts really ARE good, solid, creative indie rock if that is your thing, and Martsch really is a fine guitar player......give it a try if you think it may be your thing.

ULTIMATE ALTERNATIVE WAVERS-01 The First Song/02 Three Years Ago Today/03
Revolution/04 Shameful Dread/05 Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup/06 Get a Life/07 Built to Spill/08 Lie For a Lie/09 Hazy/10 Built Too Long (parts 1,2,&3)

THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH LOVE-01 In the Morning/02 Reasons/03 Big Dipper/04 Car/05 Fling/06 Cleo/07 The Source/08 Twin Falls/09 Some/10 Distopian Dream Girl/11 Isreal's Song/12 Stab/13 Preview

PERFECT FROM NOW ON-01 Randy Described Eternity/02 I Would Hurt a Fly/03 Stop the Show/04 Made-Up Dreams/05 Velvet Waltz/06 Out of Site/07 Kicked It In the Sun/08 Untrustable/Part 2 (About Someone Else)

KEEP IT LIKE A SECRET-01 The Plan/02 Center of the Universe/03 Carry the Zero/04 Sidewalk/05 Bad Light/06 Time Trap/07 Else/08 You Were Right/09 Temporarily Blind/10 Broken Chairs

ANCIENT MELODIES OF THE FUTURE-01 Strange/02 The Host/03 In Your Mind/04 Alarmed/05 Trimmed and Burning/06 Happiness/07 Don't Try/08 You Are/09 Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss/10 The Weather

YOU IN REVERSE-01 Goin' Against Your Mind/02 Traces/03 Liar/04 Saturday/05 Wherever You
Go/06 Conventional Wisdom/07 Gone/08 Mess With Time/09 Just a Habit/10 The Wait

THERE IS NO ENEMY-01 Aisle 13/02 Hindsight/03 Nowhere Lullaby/04 Good Ol' Boredom/05 Life's a Dream/06 Oh Yeah/07 Pat/08 Done/09 Planting Seeds/10 Things Fall Apart/11 Tomorrow

LIVE-01 The Plan/02 Randy Described Eternity/03 Stop the Show/04 Virginia Reel Around the Fountain/05 Cortez the Killer/06 Car/07 Singing Sores Make Perfect Swords/08 I Would Hurt a Fly/09 Broken Chairs

THE NORMAL YEARS-01 So & So So & So From Wherever Wherever/02 Shortcut/03 Car/04 Somethings last a Long Time/05 Girl/06 Joyride/07 Some/08 Sick & Wrong/09 Still Flat/10 Terrible/Perfect

So let me know what you think about these........pretty good stuff for the most part, in my opinion.

ALSO,putting out a request for a couple albums by the stoner band Mermaid.....the best I can tell, they have released three (early 2000's), I have "Red Led or Dead" which is excellent, but looking for the other two, would like to do a post on them and introduce them to some new ears. Have a hunch that juts maybe Mark Eveligh can help with this one, but if any of ya have any Mermaid (other than "Red Led or Dead"










    YOU IN

  2. Hello Scott , sorry but ''There is no enemy'' is released in 2009 .
    In 2013 the rhythm section - Scott Plouf on drums and Brett Nelson on bass - would be replaced by Steve Gere on drums and Jason Albertini on drums . I like this band very much and it`s nice to see it here . Thank you and have a nice day .
    Greetings from Cologne, Germany


  3. I personally think There is no Enemy is pretty good, and Ancient Melodies is their weakest. It would be awesome to follow up with a singles/B-sides/EP's post! I've got most, if not all of the EP's. Also, check out the great live set posted recently at NYCTaper:

  4. Great band -- thanks for filling in some gaps for me!!


  5. I think i've got mermaid's "high dimension is the direction" somewhere let me dig.....

  6. Thanks so much for this, all my BTS is in storage. For some reason, the _Normal Years_ file is missing at Zippyshare. Any chance you could re-up it, please?

  7. Thanks for the post this band is AWESOME! greetings from Argentina

  8. Can you re-upload normal years please?