Tag Archives: Doug Martsch


Built to Spill
There Is No Enemy, 2009

If you had asked me, say, 15 years ago which of my favorite ‘90s-era guitar bands I’d still be obsessed with all this time later, I wouldn’t have guessed Built to Spill. Don’t get me wrong, I was definitely in thrall to the band’s quirky blend of Neil Young guitar rock and panoramic pop-psychedelia — particularly the “Holy Trinity” of There’s Nothing Wrong With Love, Perfect From Now On and Keep It Like a Secret — but those records felt distinctly grounded to their era. Pavement or even Modest Mouse, to me, stood the better chance of surviving the decades. But something about the earnestness of Doug Martsch — the wide-eyed, almost childlike puzzlement in his songs — rings truer for me now. And I know of no other traditional guitar band that’s covered more musical ground over the years while remaining fundamentally unchanged at the core. Seriously, throw on something from Ultimate Alternative Wavers after “Done” and you’ll see what I mean. I made a rule when I started TBSYHAD that I’d never repeat an artist, but 90-some posts later I’m breaking it for Built to Spill.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/08%20Done.mp3]


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built to spill

Built To Spill
Single, 2006

An underline holdover from the heyday of ‘90s indie-rock, Built to Spill was never gonna be anyone’s first choice to pull off an original reggae jam. “They Got Away” succeeds in large part because the elements that make a up good BTS song also happen to accommodate the genre. The signposts are all here: the easily repeatable vocal melody, a simple but undeniable bassline, that floaty/echo/reverb/overdub thing Doug Martsch was into back in 2006. From previous experience, Martsch knows enough to cut the vocal well before time’s up, leaving room for an extended jam that pays tribute to tradition without wrecking his bona fides. If more reggae sounded like this, I’d listen to more reggae.

[audio http://www.sonicitchmusic.com/mp3s/01%20They%20Got%20Away.mp3 ]


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