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Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

The Wait

Sometimes a little time away can do a world of good. Built To Spill’s last one, Ancient Melodies Of The Future, was generally regarded as a disappointment and while I didn’t mind it so much, I’d be lying if I said that it was the first album I reached for when I was in the mood to hear some Martsch & Co. But following that, the band took some time off, Doug Martsch put out a decent if not remarkable solo effort in Now You Know and somewhere along the line, the band found the will to make a new record. Now officially a five-piece (second guitarist Jim Roth presumably no longer has to sleep in the trailer with the gear and third guitarist Brett Netson is a former accomplice who has rejoined the fold), they yesterday released You In Reverse which could be called a return to form depending on what edition of Built To Spill floats your boat.

If you liked the simpler, rawer indie pop of circa There’s Nothing Wrong With Love then this might be another in a line of disappointing records but on the other hand, if you’re that guy you probably jumped ship ages ago. You In Reverse is defintely in keeping with the denser, more sprawling and just slightly foreboding guitar orgy that’s mostly defined their Warner Bros albums. In some respects, it doesn’t sound all that different from Ancient Melodies. The songwriting seems a little more compact (though still epic-length more often than not) and while there’s plenty of guitar, it’s not necessarily all in the form of solos – they’re a little more integral to the songs. But the energy and interest that seemed absent from their last studio album is back, and that’s absolutely a good thing. It doesn’t break any new ground but it’s good to have them back, doing what they do and doing it well.

AOL is streaming the whole album right now and Harp has an interview with Martsch about the Built To Spill story thus far while Metacritic tallies the overall score on the new record. And even though the concert gods struck Martsch down with an eye injury for not booking a Toronto show, they still insist on tempting fate and refuse to come any closer than Buffalo on their rescheduled tour dates. What’s it gonna take, locusts? Seas of blood? C’mon.

CokeMachineGlow gets Matt Berninger of The National to talk about his lyrics and reflect a bit on 2005, the year of the Alligator.

Spin revisits Feist a year after declaring her “Band Of The Day”. Also check out her new fansite/blog All Things Feist, which has lots of live goodies. Via For The Records. Her Open Season rarities comp is out April 25.

Prefix talks to Mogwai bassist Dominic Atchison in an interview that’s confoundingly curse-, slag- and venom-free. Skiddle doesn’t fare much better at eliciting a Brathwaite-calibre quote from Atchison. They’re at the Phoenix on May 16 with Torche.

Billy Bragg tells Chart he loves the digital age.

Those who refused to go see James Blunt just to catch the opening act will be rewarded on June 10 when too-cute-to-live Britsters The Boy Least Likely To are at Revival, Blunt-free.

Release news – CMJ has the title – Personality – and tracklist for the new Sleepy Jackson album, due out July 25. And Yo La Tengo will have a new album out in September but in the meantime, they’ve got a compilation disc of their legendary WFMU fundraiser sessions up for sale. Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics is a collection of their finest(?) phone-in request covers, guaranteed to get feet tapping, fingers snapping or just make you squirm uncomfortably in your seat for 70 minutes.

24: Do gas stations and motels normally stay open after curfew during martial law? I dunno, not an especially thrilling episode – most notable for the introduction of Twangy Spy Guitar into the soundtrack and generally being a bad day to be in emergency services and just doing your job.

np – Crystal Skulls / Outgoing Behaviour