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Ultimate Alternative Wavers

Built to Spill

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Album Review

What a mess — from all the sloppy guitar ramblings to the constant rhythm changes assuming that the rest of the band was barely aware of Doug Martsch's tempo swings, Ultimate Alternative Wavers is all over the place. But somehow, Built to Spill bounce off each other by using this technique of improvising what direction the sound is going to next. And with this being their first record, it's almost as if they're taking a cue from the likes of early Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. when it comes to their more experimental influences. But what keeps it together are Marsch's soulful but bleak vocals, which make lyrics like "nowhere, nothing, f*ck-up" seem like a pleasant singalong.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Boise, ID

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Built to Spill were one of the most popular indie rock acts of the '90s, finding the middle ground between postmodern, Pavement-style pop and the loose, spacious jamming of Neil Young. From the outset, the band was a vehicle for singer/songwriter/guitarist Doug Martsch, who revived the concept of the indie guitar hero just as Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis — another important influence — was beginning to fade from the limelight. On record, Martsch the arranger crafted intricate,...
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