Friday, October 30, 2009

Built to Spill: Swell Guys Who Give Money to Anarchists

The last thing I expected to do on tour was see Built to Spill, a band who's early albums made my heart increase in size as a teen growing up in the northwest, but who I haven't much sought out for most of the last decade or so.
Having a night off allowed us the chance to see BTS play at the venue we'd played at the night before. They were incredible. The intricacy of their three guitar onslaught has gotten to the point of jaw-droppping bliss. They were digging up gems off There's Nothing Wrong With Love and Ultimate Alternative Wavers, those early albums that had once filled me with teenage joy and, instead of them sounding old and uninspired, they were played better than ever and sung with young fervor.
But, performance aside, what I really want to say here is: these guys are down. Having seen a documentary about the Dry River Collective, Doug Martsch gave them a call and said something to the effect of: "hey, I want to play yr venue on our next tour. You guys keep the money from the door, I don't care if the P.A. is punk rock and the place is small, I just want to see this happen."
So, on a Wednesday night in Tucson, Arizona, Built to Spill successfully raised most of a year's rent for an awesome DIY collective.

They're currently on tour and have a new album called There is No Enemy, both of which I would highly suggest checking out. The live show seems to touch on every album, so, if you have ever liked them, you'll probably like the live show. There is No Enemy is, in large part, a "Hazy"-ish dream, with forays into classic rock. "Pat" is my favorite track, a Caustic Resin-esque punk number that comes out of the blue in the middle of the album.
So, to sum this up, they might be driving a rock star-sized oceanliner across the country, but these guys are still down to earth and making great music.


  1. Fyi: i just read that Scott Schmaljohn (that Doug Martsch played with in the ever-awesome Treepeople) played on the song "Pat" and that it's a tribute to Treepeople member Pat Brown.

  2. a live recording of (most of) that set is downloadable here: to spill- tucson.mp3