Posts Tagged ‘Built to Spill’

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine! And music, music, music! Woo-hoo!

Les Schwab Amphitheater’s free Summer Sunday concert series kicks off this weekend with the West Coast Americana of Portland’s Redwood Son. My colleague David Jasper talked to the band’s principal member, Josh Malm, about his massive 2011 album “The Lion’s Inside.”

A 20-song, two-disc set is, uh, rather long for a debut, isn’t it?

“It’s been pretty crazy,” he said. “Everybody says that: ‘Wow, nobody does that.’ I’m like, ‘I know!’ Either I’m a genius, or I’m stupid. I’m not really sure.”

Either way, recording it “was kind of a cleansing experience,” Malm said. He’d been set to do one album, and then his drummer, Kipp Crawford, a founding member of Redwood Son, was killed — in a hit-and-run, according to Willamette Week.

“And so then I was just confused about what I wanted to do musically in general, because it’s obviously pretty deflating for everybody,” Malm said.

“I made two albums that were very specific. It was two different bands, two producers, two studios. It was literally trading off where I would put energy. I would spend a few weeks on this album, then leave that alone for a little bit. I just did that for about eight months.”

You’ll find the whole thing — including the full Summer Sunday lineup — right here.

(Video via YouTube user thegus76.)

In this week’s Feedback, I reviewed last weekend’s shows at Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, featuring Cake and Built to Spill on Saturday night and Sigur Ros and Julianna Barwick on Sunday. Here’s an excerpt.

As always, Sigur Ros was a study in dynamics, stretching songs to five, seven, 10 minutes and beyond, and using that time to grow whispered ambient sounds into a massive wall of noise, including small horn and string sections, various keyboards, kitchen-sink percussion and Birgisson’s bowed guitar and helium-pitched voice.

Picking favorites from this near-endless buffet of beauty is difficult, but I loved the heavenly arpeggios of “Hoppipolla” and the triumphant march of “Olsen Olsen.” And “Svefn-g-Englar” at sunset ranks as one of my all-time favorite Schwab moments.

After dark, I dug how the set shifted from sweet to strident in the second half of “Festival,” and from strident to sinister for a new song called “Brennesteinn” that booms and buzzes like nothing else in the band’s catalog.

I hope you’ll click here and read the whole thing. You should also check out a bunch of photos from the shows.)

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Four reggae/ska bands play the Domino Room tonight, The Honeycutters bring genuine Appalachian twang to McMenamins Wednesday, Moondog Matinee and Hopeless Jack & The Handsome Devil team up Saturday night at The Horned Hand, Eclectic Approach visits The Astro Lounge tonight, Silver Moon hosts hip-hop tonight and Laura Ivancie on Saturday, and more!

[Photos] Memorial Day weekend at Les Schwab Amphitheater

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

In tomorrow’s GO! Magazine, I’ll have a full review of last weekend’s concerts at Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater, featuring Sigur Ros, Cake, Built to Spill and Julianna Barwick. But right now, you should scroll down and check out a bunch of terrific photos of the shows (and crowds) taken by The Bulletin’s Joe Kline.

memwkndweb01

BUILT TO SPILL
memwkndweb09

(more…)

Baker’s Dozen: The 13 best concerts of 2010 in Central Oregon

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I’ve gone on and on about my favorite recordings of 2010, but live music is the backbone of any good scene. Here is a look back my 13 favorite shows of the past 12 months in chronological order, with excerpts from reviews already published in The Bulletin or on Frequency.

The White Buffalo, Jan. 26, Silver Moon Brewing & Taproom

(Jake) Smith’s talents are many, but his voice is obviously his most distinctive quality. It’s a show-stopper. A jaw-dropper. It’s canyon deep and sequoia strong, with a natural resonance that 99 percent of singers would kill to have.

The closest comparison I can come up with is Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, though when he’s at his best, Smith makes Vedder sound like Bobby Brady going through puberty.

He’s just that great of a singer.

Smith showcased that voice on barnburners like “The Madman” and “Carnage,” with their ultra-low notes, as well as meandering, pretty numbers such as “Sleepy Little Town” and “Where Dirt and Water Collide.” And he let it soar during two of his best songs, “Love Song #1” and “Damned.” The ascendant pre-chorus of the former and the roller-coaster verses of the latter were perfect examples of Smith’s skill for writing melodies that are both unconventional and memorable.

(more…)

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Hip-hop/pop-rock hybrid Hurtbird is based in Portland, but it has deep roots in Bend and is heading this way to play two shows this weekend, including tonight’s Homegrown Music Review at the Tower Theatre. I talked to local native Ryan Hayes about the band’s origins and its fine new album “Nature Vs. City.”

From the beginning, Hurtbird was a vehicle for the gritty, abstract poetry of Hayes, who minored in the subject in college. But also from the beginning, the group wanted to explore sounds that didn’t fit into neat genre categories.

“We kind of wanted to do something different,” Hayes said. “A lot of the hip-hop shows we were going to were just a guy who would bring a CD and put it in and do his vocals over the top. We’d all played music long enough that we wanted to expand on the sound and make it a more important aspect of the music.”

Through the years, Hurtbird accomplished at least part of that goal via the strong and distinctive vocals of two Young brothers: former member Ritchie, and current member Michael, both of whom grew up in Bend.

“We always wanted somebody with a unique voice to be able to sing choruses,” Hayes said. “We wanted to bridge the gap between the genres of indie rock and hip-hop. Well … really, we just made music that we wanted to listen to.”

Besides the Homegrown gig, Hurtbird will perform at MadHappy Lounge Saturday night. Click here to get all the details and read the whole story.

Doug Martsch of Built to Spill. Let's pretend it's fuzzy for art's sake, and not because I took it with my phone.

Boise, Idaho indie kings Built to Spill visited Bend’s Domino Room on Wednesday night, and they were outstanding. I wrote a review in the middle of the night after the show, and here’s one of the parts that makes sense.

Wednesday’s show was heavy with old-school favorites and only a few songs (the mellow “Life’s A Dream,” the punky thrash of “Pat,” the rubber soul of “Hindsight”) from Built to Spill’s most recent record, 2009’s “There Is No Enemy.”

Instead of flogging the record you’d expect him to flog, (frontman Doug) Martsch showcased several crunchy golden oldies like “In The Morning” and “Stab” (early in the night), and “Car” and “Distopian Dream Girl” (later). He stacked the middle of the set with sweeping, soaring songs like “Untrustable,” “The Plan” and “I Would Hurt A Fly.” In particular, the roiling ending of “Untrustable” was a scorcher that stirred the up-front fans — a funny mix of hippies, frat-looking dudes, hipsters and mountain men — into a mild mosh pit.

You can read the whole thing by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section, we’ve got the return of Floater, a couple of good bluegrassy bands (Head for the Hills and Dead Winter Carpenters), and a slew of heavy local bands playing gigs this weekend, including Shades of Society, Violent Intention, Exfixia, StillFear, The Confederats and Alley Brewed. Get out there and see some music, folks!

The Top 10 Built to Spill Songs: #1

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Today on Frequency, we’re counting down the top 10 Built to Spill songs leading up to the band’s show tonight in Bend. (More details on that show here.)

1. “Carry The Zero” from “Keep It Like A Secret” (1999)

I’m just gonna give Frequency reader Aaron props for his prescience and good taste (see the comments on this post), and then I’m gonna get out of the way and let Built to Spill shred.

The show starts in three hours at the Domino Room in Bend. Still plenty of time to get some dinner and head that way. See y’all there.

The Top 10 Built to Spill Songs: #2

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Today on Frequency, we’re counting down the top 10 Built to Spill songs leading up to the band’s show tonight in Bend. (More details on that show here.)

2. “Kicked It In The Sun” from “Perfect From Now On” (1997)

Almost universally revered, “Perfect From Now On” is one of the great guitar albums of the past 20 years, and its penultimate track, “Kicked It In The Sun,” is really two songs in one. The first half or so is a drifty, dreamy singsong, with Doug Martsch’s clarion voice floating atop shimmering six-string teardrops.

But things change at 4:30. Martsch sets his guitars to chug, and the song’s rhythm shifts on a dime from drowsy to driving, carrying “Kicked It In The Sun” to an understated crescendo. It also contains one of Martsch’s most memorable lyrics:

“Despite his expectations,
he turned out mediocre.
His master plan was so-so.
We’re special in other ways,
ways our mothers appreciate.”

Classic Doug, setting tales of self-loathing slackerhood against one of the most sparkling melodies of his career. The only thing that keeps “Kicked It In The Sun” out of the top spot on this list is the quick fade-out at the end. Two more minutes of building jams probably would’ve put it over the top.

The Top 10 Built to Spill Songs: #3

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Today on Frequency, we’re counting down the top 10 Built to Spill songs leading up to the band’s show tonight in Bend. (More details on that show here.)

3. “Car” from “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love” (1994)
“Car” — like “Big Dipper” and a lot of “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love” — is pure pop joy. It also finds Doug Martsch at his lyrical best: sweet but not cloying, dense but not difficult. More “I wanna see it when you get stoned on a clouded, breezy desert afternoon” than, say, this.

Martsch does both things — compact pop-rock and sprawling guitar jams — very well, though he occasionally comes off like an indie-rock jukebox: all skill and sensory experience, not enough soul. With “Car,” he gives us a hearty song that proudly spills its guts.

Besides, who doesn’t want to see movies of their dreams? I know I do.

The Top 10 Built to Spill Songs: #4

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Today on Frequency, we’re counting down the top 10 Built to Spill songs leading up to the band’s show tonight in Bend. (More details on that show here.)

4. “Three Years Ago Today” from “Ultimate Alternative Wavers” (1993)

Built to Spill’s first album isn’t my favorite, but lots of people love it. Plus, look at that goofy cover! And it’s home to this song, a nice example of the band’s early sweet-n-sour crunch-pop sound.

The Top 10 Built to Spill Songs: #5

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Today on Frequency, we’re counting down the top 10 Built to Spill songs leading up to the band’s show tonight in Bend. (More details on that show here.)

5. “Velvet Waltz” from “Perfect From Now On” (1997)
Yes, this song is more than nine minutes long. And yes, you are busy. But you really should take the time to listen to this, one of the epic, slow-burning tunes from Built to Spill’s general-consensus classic, “Perfect From Now On.” It’s amazing, and it’s not the last song from “Perfect” that we’ll see in this countdown.

Plus, the sound quality on this video is incredible, and should be experienced through your headphones. And it was shot in Eugene. And “Perfect From Now On” is probably my wife’s favorite album of all time, so it should probably be yours, too. And … well, just listen, OK?

The Top 10 Built to Spill Songs: #6

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Today on Frequency, we’re counting down the top 10 Built to Spill songs leading up to the band’s show tonight in Bend. (More details on that show here.)

6. “Still Flat” from “The Normal Years” (1996)
This song originally appeared on the “Red Hot + Bothered” compilation, but is also on “The Normal Years,” a collection of Built to Spill’s b-sides and rarities. The studio version has a cool horn part at the end that I love, but I couldn’t find that on YouTube, so you get Doug Martsch doing it solo. (The second song he does is a cover of Dinosaur Jr’s “Tarpit,” in case you’re wondering. Bonus!)