by RACHEL SIEMENS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & B & lt;/span & uilt To Spill is, one of the most influential indie bands ever. A bold statement, I know, but one that's entirely true. Having created and collaborated with different artists for more than 15 years, Doug Martsch (singer/songwriter/guitarist/ overall face of the band) has helped shape the entire Northwest sound with his music. He's inspired everyone from the indie heavy-hitters of today, Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie, down to the up-and-coming acts of tomorrow.
The chronological breakdown: Built To Spill formed in 1992. After releasing Ultimate Alternative Wavers and There's Nothing Wrong With Love, the band signed with Warner Bros. in 1995. They've gone on to release four more albums, all of them meeting with an amount of commercial success that, until a few years ago, had been unprecedented in indie. Some would even say that the success of Built To Spill's albums have been the springboard for a wider acceptance of indie rock. Would those hot young things on The O.C. be creating all sorts of daytime drama to the sounds of Death Cab in the background otherwise? I don't think so.
The latest recording, You in Reverse, maintains the Northwest sound that made the scene what it is while cutting back on the poppier hooks of the past in favor of a more mature kind of instrumentation (though sometimes it just seems more self-indulgent). This could be attributed to the way Martsch was feeling about indie rock at the time. Having become bored with the scene and even with his own music, he began to explore the world of blues and became intrigued with the entire concept behind the genre: the soul, the pain, the mystery of the way it's universally relational, all of it. It acted as a platform for the latest album, a sort of rejuvenation in his musical career.
Martsch is high and strained -- vocally, that is. He strikes a chord of urgency and meaning through his voice's dissonance. And when mixed with the lilting dreaminess of the guitar work and the contribution of the rest of the men that make up Built To Spill, the effect exceeds being epic. Inspiring an entire musical movement is something not many people get to do.
Built To Spill with Camper Van Beethoven and the Delusions at the Big Easy on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 8 pm. $19.50. Call 244-3279.