Friday, October 16, 2009

The Glorious Sprawl of Built to Spill

I KNOW i'm not alone in considering built to spill, the boise band that sometimes offers three guitars blaring in a kind of rough counterpoint, to be one of the key bands of the alt-rock heyday of the 90s. unlike a lot of those groups, they've managed to grow in feeling in each record, even if their style has not changed massively in 10 years or so.

they are also one of the greatest live bands in indie rock (that may sound like damning with faint praise.) but anyone who has seen their extroverted shows, including their recent replay of '97's "perfect from now on" lp knows what i mean.

here is my LATimes interview with singer/guitarist doug martsch, who i describe as a noam-chomsky-and-pickup-basketball kinda guy. i also talk about how they break from the neo-puritanism of the indie aesthetic: they are not remaking 60s songcraft or taut post-punk models.

the new record, "there is no enemy," is getting mixed reviews so far. i'll agree that it is not a huge step forward for them, and perhaps it is less concise than their previous few lps. but it extends the warm, dreamy, sprawling sound to often powerful effect. i love the songs "hindsight" and "life's a dream," for instance. (here is an early bts classic, "in the morning," and the more recent "carry the zero.")

though it wasn't part of their original tour schedule, there is now an L.A. date -- an oct. 29 gig at the echoplex. can't wait.

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