#9 on the 2009 Musical Advent Calendar
There is no Enemy by Built to Spill
If you’ve seen my Daytum page, where I document every single musical concert / club show I’ve ever been to in the history of me, then you know I love Built to Spill. They were one of the first shows I ever saw after moving to Seattle, and my gateway drug to both indie rock and jamming guitar solos.
So while that may make me biased toward Built to Spill in general, it certainly doesn’t make me biased toward new Built to Spill albums. On the contrary, their previous two albums to There is no Enemy had very little redeeming value. Perhaps that’s why this album stands out so much among Built to Spill albums. But beyond that, this album stands out better than all but eight albums from this year.
This is a return to form for Built to Spill. Doug Martsch’s songwriting can be hit or miss for sure, but with songs like the one embedded above — “Good Ol’ Boredom” — this new album just brings everything into sharp color again.
I’ve seen Built to Spill twice in the past couple years, once when they were on a small tour playing their best album, 1997’s Perfect From Now On, in its entirety. And again recently when they were out promoting There is no Enemy. During the former tour, they literally played the classic album front to back as it was recorded. And it was amazing. At the more recent show, they played a handful of crowd favorites, and only two songs from the new album, neither of which I felt were the best songs from the album. But yet those songs fit right into the Built to Spill oeuvre, and I ended up liking them much more after hearing them live. Doug knew better than I did what songs would fit and stand out, and in retrospect I’m glad he picked the songs he did.
In the end, this is a solid album that will stand the test of time. If you’re a fan of early Built to Spill, or simply like really good indie guitar rock, this album should top your list.
10. Dark Was The Night, a Red Hot Compilation
11. The Mountain by the Heartless Bastards
12. Creaturesque by Throw Me The Statue
13. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band by Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
14. Horehound by The Dead Weather
15. Promenade by Grand Hallway
16. Grand by Matt & Kim
17. Blood Bank EP by Bon Iver
18. Fever Ray by Fever Ray
19. Tell ’Em What Your Name Is by Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears
20. Mo Beauty by Alec Ounsworth
21. Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants
22. Noble Beast by Andrew Bird
23. Hungry Bird by Clem Snide
24. Actor by St. Vincent
25. Elvis Perkins in Dearland by Elvis Perkins in Dearland
26. XX by the XX
27. Grrr… by Bishop Allen
28. Keep It Hid by Dan Auerbach
29. It’s Blitz! by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
30. Beware by Bonnie “Prince” Billie
31. Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear