We love Built to Spill. And there's nothing wrong with love. - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
May 05, 2005
A few years ago, when I loathed my day job and had nothing to come home to except a couch that smelled like pee and two cats with severe attitude problems (they were REAL assholes), I would often escape to my local Brooklyn bar (name excluded because it kind of sucks now) and take solace in the cheap pints (beer pretends to solve most things) and a really good jukebox (music really does solve everything). After drinking one or two beers (four), and leaning into my inevitable wave of nostalgia, I would approach my only friend, the jukebox, and bribe it to play 46-06. When the opening chords of "Time Trap" by Built to Spill (on 1999's Keep it Like a Secret) drifted out of the speakers and slowly built to that famous climax, I would no longer need any more artificial spirits. Martsch beats microbrews any day.

Doug Martsch has always been Built to Spill. It's his songs, his vision, and most decidedly, his show. And it's a wonder it's a show not known by the masses. Yes, Built to Spill is one of the most popular "indie" acts ever -- they're are on a major label (Warner Bros.) and sold out a combined 4 nights at Irving and Southpaw this week -- but they certainly aren't at the popularity level of, say, Modest Mouse. Both bands are very similar... quirky, guitar-driven pop prone to long, jammed-out riffs sung by a warbled vocalist. How Modest Mouse, and not Built to Spill, managed to capture the hearts of not only hipsters but also frat boys and soccer moms is still a mystery to me. Not that Doug Martsch is bummed his band's CDs aren't on the dash of that sleek SUV, next to the Starbucks cup and the kid's Gameboy Advance. But really, everyone who likes good music should like these guys. No band of the last decade has consistently crafted pop songs better than Built to Spill.

The last time I saw Built to Spill at Irving, they kept playing only snippets of their songs. It was like, "What are you doing?" For some reason, the band was hesitant to start at the beginning of a song and play to the end, like they got bored in the middle and decided to start up a new song instead. It was a similar experience to watching one of those wacky Billy Crystal Oscar musical montages (guilty pleasure I don't feel that guilty about). I'm really hoping they don't do that again. Built to Spill and Cliffs Notes do not make good bedfellows. But even if they play just 30 seconds of "Time Trap," it will be enough for me to say nay to another shot of rye.

Built to Spill play Irving Plaza, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, May 11th - 13th. They play Southpaw on Sunday, May 15th.


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