Ex-Indie Rock giants Built To Spill have their first new album out in more than six years. It has probably been longer than that since I have heard anything from them. Long off my radio radar due to ODing on them in the second adolescence of my 20s. The late 90s were heady university days of cross-country summer roadtrips following bands and ladies, camping in national park rest stops and avoiding (or attracting) whichever state highway patrol we were trying not to look overly guilty in the eyes of. But we were. Guilty of being young and immature and full of ourselves and probably various pharmacological combinations made all the better by exorbitant amounts of booze. And Built To Spill provided much of the soundtrack for those broke-down romps through the Pacific Northwest.
Despite the age difference, I often felt like I grew up with Built To Spill. And maybe they have grown up as well. Which is not to say that the fine bearded gentlemen you are no doubt grooving to right now are not, nor ever were not, complete musicians in many aspects. How difficult it is to make any kind of scratch on the thick veneer of the music industry, especially out of Boise, ID, these guys are for real. But there was a frivolity to their tunes, maybe to frontman Doug Martsch’s demeanor, which translated to making the music into a more lighthearted affair, at least with Ultimate Alternative Wavers, The Normal Years, There Is Nothing Wrong With Love, Keep It Like A Secret, and Ancient Melodies of the Future. Perfect From Now On is from another planet and I haven’t heard a tune from There Is No Enemy while You In Reverse is fuzzy…
Anyway, Untethered Moon is the first BTS album recorded with new band members Steve Gere (drums) and Jason Albertini (bass), who join vocalist/guitarist Doug Martsch. Untethered Moon was produced by Martsch and Sam Coomes (from the band Quasi). Coomes is a great addition as producer and the promotion of former roadies to rhythm section is a novel and very sound move, which might have signaled a new time in Martsch’s recording life and therefore a breakthrough. Each progressive listen does sound better and better, if not a bit more down to earth.
BTS is touring in support of their eighth studio album, Untethered Moon, which will be released on April 18th exclusively for Record Store Day at all good independent record stores. A very limited-edition quantity of Untethered Moon will be pressed on transparent blue vinyl and will be randomly distributed into the initial run of pressings. The CD and digital editions will be released on April 21st. BTS will continue to tour as the three-guitar army that they have always been with Jim Roth and Brent Netson filling out the line-up.
Built to Spill’s upcoming tour dates:
NEW Headlining dates:
05/10 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
05/11 Charleston, SC Music Farm
05/12 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbits
05/13 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
05/14 St. Petersburg, FL The State Theatre
05/15 Orlando, FL The Social
05/16 Tallahassee, FL Sidebar Theater
05/17 New Orleans, LA Howlin’ Wolf
05/18 Houston, TX Warehouse Live
05/19 Austin, TX Stubbs BBQ
05/20 Dallas, TX Granada Theater
05/21 Oklahoma City, OK ACM Performance Lab @ UCO
05/22 St. Louis, MO The Ready Room
05/23 Omaha, NE Slowdown
05/24 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
05/26 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
05/27 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue
05/28 Detroit, MI St. Andrews Hall
05/30 Chicago, IL Metro
05/31 Grand Rapids, MI Founders Brewing Co.
Supporting Death Cab For Cutie:
07/08 Troutdale, OR Edgefield Amphitheater
07/09 Bend, OR Les Schwab Amphitheatre
07/11 Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre Berkeley