So here’s the first two videos from the very good Untethered Moon, with a strange throughline that seems to center on a bearded, long-tressed thespian named “Hairy Canary”.
The video Tod posted the other day actually reminded me a bit of the one for the lilting, countryish “Hindsight”, from the prior album, 2009’s There Is No Enemy:
The springy, sprightly “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss”, off 2001’s somewhat-uneven Ancient Melodies of the Future:
The lovely closer “The Weather”, from the same album:
They’ve been around long enough now that they have a deep and broad catalog that really benefits them live, where their layered three-guitar symphony (capable of alternating chiming delicacy with chug and surge, and sweet melodies with fractured noise; and sometimes, all of the above at the same time) can create sonic tapestries thoughtfully adorned with both surehanded elegance and lighthearted whimsy; Brobdingnagian aural ice sculptures that roar and tremble, then melt back into silence.
Such as this beautiful monster, from 1997’s Perfect From Now On:
As a concert act, they have few equals, and are simply not to be missed.
Here’s a wonderful stripped-down rendition of the plaintive “Car”, from their second LP (and first great one), 1994’s There’s Nothing Wrong With Love (dig that smolder of a solo at the end):
They’ve maintained a remarkable level of mostly-consistent high quality whilst growing from scrappy indie-poppers into an institution that’s often raided the best of classic rock radio anthems for inspiration, while twisting that inspiration into new and uniquely BtS shapes.
For example, the epic “You Were Right” from 1999’s essential Keep It Like a Secret builds its lyrics from various well-known phrases – but wryly undercuts the triumphalism:
“Goin’ Against Your Mind”, from 2006’s terrific You In Reverse, is an absolute locomotive of a song; a two-chord brain-melting barnburner in the vein of a frantically-strummed VU or Feelies freakout; a more cosmically-minded “Youth of America”, or a “Roadrunner” that seems determined to floor it past the Stop ‘N’ Shop on its way to punching a hole out of our spacetime continuum.
Over its 8-minute runtime (and after an early broken-guitar-string recovery), it cycles through more shades of inventive guitar noise than most bands manage in a career, including a shadowy mysterious noir middle segment that sees main man Doug Martsch’s reedy tenor inverting the twist ending of Styx’s “Come Sail Away” (“When I was a kid I saw a light / Floating high above the trees one night / Thought it was an alien / Turned out to be just God”)
From the same album, the melancholy “Liar”:
This tune has a little Eastern drone:
In conclusion, everything sucks, except for Built to Spill: