Built To Spill

Built To Spill (10:00 PM)

Junior Rocket Scientist (9:00 PM)

Fri, May 3, 2013

8:00 pm

$25

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This event is all ages

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Built To Spill - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Built To Spill
Three and a half years in the making, the efforts of writing and recording THERE IS NO ENEMY led Built to Spill founder Doug Martsch to wonder whether this would be the last album he ever makes. As his wife, I watched him work, pouring hour after hour , day after day into writing. Song lyrics were labored over then thrown in the trash, guitar parts revised again (and again). A musician and artist like Doug edits far more than he keeps.

For over twenty years, Doug Martsch has been writing and recording music. Built to Spill members Brett Nelson (bass), Scott Plouf (drums) Jim Roth (guitar), and Brett Netson (guitar) have all been musicians for two decades. That adds up to more than a century. Doug’s strong aesthetic combines with the band members’ mix of approaches to create an aural topography. Doug sets course and navigates. Each member of Built to Spill comes to the music with a different set of expectations and ideals.

With the complexity and variety of music they have created, Built to Spill endeavors to make songs interesting to themselves and their audience. They hope that the band will remain special and that people will discover the music for themselves. Year after year, new fans show up. Just like the band members, listeners come to the music with expectations and ideals. They make up their own ideas about the songs.

I once overheard Doug on the phone being interviewed. He sounded almost stand-offish in not “telling” an interviewer the meaning of a song or describing its origin. Doug and I have speculated about this sometimes: meaning (whether intended or not )is not inherent in lyrics or in any art. Listening, looking closely, and responding with one’s feelings, thoughts, and senses transforms. Doug simply does wish to disrupt any meaning someone else has found.

I can barely repress the urge to tell you what THERE IS NO ENEMY means to me. When making the new record, Doug literally lived in the studio. To be able to work all day and all night. To spend hours and hours laying down guitar tracks he realized he couldn’t use since the first live takes had the best tone and feel. To undigitally remix the record. With so much work behind the band, the record is here. Now comes the album’s journey into the world. This venture Built to Spill does not map out. The record is yours to respond to.

When I listen to songs Doug writes and the whole band plays, I think, “How can people make music this good?” Even though I witness and minorly assist, I still do not understand how theirs or any beloved music comes into the world. To me, the process and result are magic.

BUILT TO SPILL:
Doug Martsch • guitars, vocals / Brett Netson • guitars / Jim Roth • guitars / Brett Nelson • bass / Scott Plouf • drums


Doug Martsch formed Built To Spill in 1992. His intention was to sustain a project that would involve a rotating cast of musicians to record albums and tour. The first incarnation of Built To Spill included Doug, Brett Netson, and Ralf (Youtz). Recording in the middle of the night in order to get free studio time, they assembled 1993's Ultimate Alternative Wavers. For a few years and a few records band members came and went. In 1996, while recording the album Perfect From Now On (their Warner Bros. Records debut), Doug found a rhythm section he could not relinquish: Brett Nelson and Scott Plouf. This line-up toured and made records with additional guest musicians Brett Netson and Sam Coomes. In 1999, after the release of Keep It Like A Secret, Jim Roth joined the band as live co-guitarist.

In the five years since the band's most recent effort Ancient Melodies Of The Future was released, Built To Spill took an eighteen-month vacation. When the group returned to work, the line-up included Jim Roth as a core member. This foursome started jamming and recording their hours-long musical explorations. According to Doug, they had no idea what kind of music they wanted to make.

You In Reverse arrives as the most collaborative record in the band's thirteen-year history. To a large extent, each musician wrote his own parts. Half of the finished material incorporates segments the band wrote together during jam sessions.

Doug did bring in a few songs ready to go. Tracks like "Liar" and "Saturday" were "pretty much there" when the band learned them, while "Goin' Against Your Mind" and "Traces" are full of riffs discovered during musical research. Doug's private writing process then allowed him to meld favorite spontaneous moments with composed transitions and intricate melodies.

With a batch of songs in hand, the goal became to keep the recording simple and stripped down. The band wanted to retain the impromptu, organic feel of their jams. Rather than Doug's former reliance on extensive overdubs, the group tried to capture loose and live moments, letting each individual musician's talents be more accurately represented. Instead of a broad, atmospheric sweep, this record sounds natural. It resonates with relationships, the way the band as a whole responds to music and to each other.
Being the new guy, Jim Roth appreciated this approach. To Jim, they were striving to see what the band could be, "the four of us. Now we can see the potential. These new songs are just starting to scratch the surface." Expressing his connection to music as that of both craftsman and artist, he considers each composition to be "like a painting or a sculpture, its own thing."

As a discrete creation the record relies on more than good chemistry and Doug's expansive writing. The band decided to self-produce in order to put themselves in a new situation. Similar to the generative process, they felt a need to try something different. "Just to see what would happen," Doug admits, "I've made enough records to know I could do this. Also, engineers take pride in their work and would not let it be too fucked up." When they chose Steve Lobdell's Audible Alchemy studio, they happened upon another element of the album. "Steve, being the musical person he is, just fell into the role of co-producer, " Doug says, then recants, "It's not even really produced. It's cleanly recorded and mixed. It's not slick."

At Audible Alchemy, they wound up chasing a 1960's sound. "Sonically, " Doug says, "We wanted it to sound like classic rock or soul…a piece of vinyl." Both Steve and engineer Jacob Hall are audiophiles who love old records and are into "those sorts of sounds." They used analog recording equipment and spent hours listening back to tracks for the smallest nuances. Steve (a member of Faust) also played space echo, guitar, vibes, and percussion on the record. He understood the songs and their parameters, making specific and well-considered contributions.

Other guest musicians include Quasi's Sam Coomes on organ and longtime Built To Spill contributor Brett Netson on guitar. Partway through the making of this record, Netson officially joined Built To Spill as their fifth member and played guitar on three of the songs. His mind-melting solo on "Just A Habit" will remind longtime Built To Spill listeners of the amazing lead guitar tracks he laid down for Perfect From Now On.

When Doug is asked what he wants people to know about the album, he replies, "I would rather not manipulate people's opinions about it." Bassist Brett Nelson thinks this record is "what everybody in the band would want it to sound like." Brett also mentions "the different styles of songs, anything from New Wave to Reggae breakdowns." While many influences and song structures arise and dissolve, none dominates the overall force of the album.

The songs are haunting rather than catchy. Each musical thought is surprising and complete. Doug's lyrics hint at politics, but could also be personal. As usual, the words lining the songs are neither directive nor dogmatic. Rational thoughts are constantly sacrificed to the metric and melodic needs of each song. No message blares forth. And yet, it's understood.
Junior Rocket Scientist - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Junior Rocket Scientist
Junior Rocket Scientist is a four piece from Boise, Idaho. Influenced by an expansive yet overlapping variety of music, their sound ricochets from indie to noise rock, dance and new wave pop. Rhythmic inflection and melodic syncopations are passed between the vocals, guitars, synth leads and violin lines while the driving, dancing drum and bass push the frenzy forward. In 2010 the group self recorded and produced an EP aptly named ep3o, which featured five of JRS' early favorites and showcased their range of sound.
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change