Tag: Built To Spill

The Plan

Here is a group of poorly dressed average schlubs who play some really good guitar rock. Built to Spill occupy a weird little sweet spot of noisy and melodic where the term post-grunge isn’t an insult. They’re just thoroughly normal dudes of modest ambition who … Continue reading The Plan

In Your Mind

Here are some uncharismatic ordinary schmucks who make good music. Built to Spill have followed the less dramatic path to success, not the one where you go boom and promote the hell out of yourself and make a spectacle wherever you go, but the one where you just focus on being good and hope to god enough people take notice. A risky venture, but sometimes it pays off. Provided you don’t seek celebrity itself. These guys aren’t celebrities but they’re acclaimed and popular enough to go on making records and presumably live in decent style.


More about happiness, and a slacker anthem it turns out. Built To Spill are a good band, but not one I’ve ever thought deeply about. I’ve never looked at any of their lyrics before. But lo and behold, they’re quite sharp and quite something I can agree with. If you’re happy enough doin’ less than what you can, why should you do anything more? Ambition is a waste of calories. Maybe learning to be content with less is a better life strategy than striving for more. Because striving and chasing is stress and disappointment waiting to happen. What’s that one really famous religion that says desire is the root of all pain? Something about eliminating your desire to eliminate your pain. I don’t claim to be a Buddhist but I do hold to that. Stop wanting so goddamn much and you’ll be happy.

haven’t had a half a hand in half of what i am haven’t heard of half the things that happened in the past haven’t given half the time to half the people or half the things i’d planned you don’t have to be so cruel cuz all i’m doin’ is a little less than what i can happiness will only happen when it can happiness will only happen when it can

haven’t had the half a mind it takes to start to take a stand haven’t held on half as long as i had hoped, as i had hoped and planned haven’t missed half the shit they said i had to have, to have a chance you don’t have to be so cruel cuz all i’m doin’ is a little less than what i can happiness will only happen when it can happiness will only happen when it can and happiness will only happen when it can happiness will only happen when it can

Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss

Speaking of image, is it really so necessary to have one? My usual position is to say yes, but let’s look at another example. Here’s Built To Spill, who are in no way glamorous. They’re not in the Top 40 or on television, but they’ve built a steady and devoted fan base, entirely on the virtue of making good music. They’re not a personality-based band. I know that the singer’s name is Doug Martsch, and he’s got a lovely voice that belies his shaggy appearance. Who is he and what does he do with his time when he isn’t on stage? I don’t know, I don’t care and I doubt that even more dedicated fans than I have any interest in prodding his private life. It’s just not that kind of star/fan relationship. And is that so wrong? Here is someone who does his job of making music and doesn’t thrust himself unnecessarily into the spotlight. I think that what is wrong and I have a problem with, is those who do go on television and attract mass attention, whether by active pursuit or through dumb luck, and don’t step up the challenge. Taking my favorite whipping boy Colin Meloy – I know he’s not the type to pursue fame’s glare, and he just wants to go home to Portland and write books, but since he somehow managed to release a number one album, I think it’s his appointed duty to suck his gut in, put on some nice clothes and make himself as glamorous as possible. Although, in his defense, he does have a specific image; the too-smart hipster who can still pull off skinny jeans, but just barely. To some, that’s glamour enough. I guess it all depends on how, as an artist, you choose to relate to success. The Built To Spill guys, it seems, are content to sell records to their fans and play for their fans and remain essentially private citizens, not chasing stardom or seeking constant attention. With that being their chosen stance re fame, they do not in fact have any obligation to look pretty.

Don’t Try

Don’t Try? I’m not. Because it’s so cold the cat’s water dispenser is frozen up and I’ve been sniffling and coughing and spitting green phlegm all week long. It’s the time to stay indoors drinking tea and listening to songs by normal guys who have beards, aka Built To Spill. Is it, you ask, in any way weird for you to still be¬†queuing up songs from bands your ex-boyfriend likes? Doesn’t it make you feel a little queasy or decidedly ill? No, not in the least. But thanks for caring.

Center of the Universe

And from the best indie band you can’t believe you’ve only just discovered…There’s the live clip in which you can’t quite hear the guitar OR there’s the studio song without much in the way of visuals. Whichever suits you best…