Like Flaming Lips, Built to Spill have been a prominent “indie rock” band on a major label since the 1990s. And like the Lips with their classic LP “The Soft Bulletin,” BTS’ career high point came in 1999 with the release of the absolutely majestic “Keep It Like a Secret.” Seriously, go listen to it right now. It is so very very awesome.
Unlike the extroverted Lips, the faceless and decidedly uncharismatic BTS have never crossed over into the mainstream culture. Yet, just like the Lips, they remain on the major label Warner Bros.’ roster. That’s to the credit of Warner Bros., who must have a pretty cool thirty-something calling at least some of the shots over there.
Now, via Pitchfork, comes word of a fresh new lineup surrounding BTS godhead Doug Martsch, a long string of Western U.S. tour dates this spring and, hopefully, a previously-mentioned new album.
Compared to the jawdropping craft and intensity of their albums, BTS live tends to chill out, jam out and, dare I say, get downright hacky-sacky. If that’s an actual word. That is to say, BTS live is way less bracing and way more hippie-friendly than the records. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, in other words. Maybe the new lineup will be less laid back. We’ll see.
If you haven’t seen BTS and you live out west, get thee to one of the shows and make your own judgment. I’ll probably be sitting this tour out when it hits the East Coast but I’ll be anticipating the record. Flame on!