Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Hear This 

Wednesday, Apr 23 1997
Built to Spill
Two-and-a-half years ago, Built to Spill's Doug Martsch, touring behind his pop masterpiece There's Nothing Wrong With Love, fretted about two things: being unfairly pegged as an alternative band and making enough money to provide for his child. Both worries were remedied with Perfect From Now On, Built to Spill's nearly perfect major label debut.

Essentially, Martsch took Warner Bros.' baby funds and created a superb CD of six-minute (hence, radio untouchable) wanderings. It's a confusing tack for Love fans. Buying Perfect without knowing anything about it is like feeding the jukebox a quarter for a Beatles song and ending up with Traffic.

But Martsch is not a stupid man. The twee-pop-to-orchestral-pop gambit effectively erases all of those alternative pigeonholes. By rotating band members for this record, Martsch got to play dictator and conductor at once. Backed now by players from two earlier Built to Spill incarnations and by former Spinane Scott Plouf's expressive drumming, Perfect arches with tunes that use layered production and sectional arrangements to deliver originality -- the anti-thesis of alternative rock.

Martsch isn't a big fan of touring. (He broke from the proto-grunge Treepeople because the band wanted to spend too much time on the road.) And he's too humble to stretch the charisma onstage. But Martsch is probably the best guitarist, if not the best composer, to graduate from indie rock, and a good night's performance is easy proof.

-- Jeff Stark

Built to Spill play Sunday, April 27, at 9 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. 764-Hero and Modest Mouse open. Tickets are $7; call 522-0333.

About The Author

Jeff Stark


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • 24th Annual Autumn Moon Festival
    Crowds gathered September 6-7 for the 24th Annual Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown. Visitors enjoyed arts, crafts, cultural exhibits, food and a dog fashion show. Photographs by Dhoryan Rizo.
  • Felton: Touring the Redwoods
    Blue skies meet redwood canopies in the mountain town of Felton, located just north of Santa Cruz on Highway 9. Once a bustling logging community, the town is now a mix of mellow locals and serene wilderness. Visitors can enjoy the redwoods in nearby Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and splash in swimming holes in the San Lorenzo River. For a bite to eat stop by Rocky’s Cafe for fruit-laden pancakes, barbeque at the Cowboy Bar & Grill and poolside burgers at the Trout Farm Inn. Other stops worth checking out include Roaring Camp Railroads, the Mount Hermon zip line tour, and the educational Bigfoot Discovery Museum. For beer or cocktails a log cabin bar has you covered.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed