Since the band's inception in 1992, Built to Spill founder Doug Martsch intended his beloved band to be a collaborative project, an ever-evolving group of musicians making music and playing live together.
"I wanted to switch the lineup for many reasons. Each time we finish a record I want the next one to sound totally different. It's fun to play with people who bring in new styles and ideas," says Martsch. "And it's nice to be in a band with people who aren't sick of me yet."
Following several albums and EPs on Pacific Northwest independent labels, including the indie-rock classic, There's Nothing Wrong With Love, released on Sub Pop offshoot Up Records in 1994, Martsch signed with Warner Brothers from 1995 to 2016. He and his rotating cast of cohorts recorded six more great albums during that time - Perfect From Now On, Keep it Like a Secret, Ancient Melodies of the Future, You in Reverse, Untethered Moon and There Is No Enemy. There was also a live album, and a solo record, Now You Know.
While the band's impeccable recorded catalog is the entry point, Built to Spill live is an essential force of its own: heavy, psychedelic, melodic and visceral tunes blaring from amps that sound as if they're powered by Mack trucks. Now in 2022, Built to Spill returns with When the Wind Forgets Your Name, Martsch's unbelievably great album (and his ninth full-length)... with a fresh new label.
"I'm psyched: I've wanted to be on Sub Pop since I was a teenager. And I think I'm the first fifty year-old they've ever signed." (The rumors are true, Sub Pop love quinquagenarians...).
When the Wind Forgets Your Name continues expanding the Built to Spill universe in new and exciting ways. In 2018 Martsch's good fortune and keen intuition brought him together with Brazilian lo-fi punk artist and producer Le Almeida, and his long-time collaborator, João Casaes, both of the psychedelic jazz rock band, Oruã. Martsch fell in love with their music the moment he heard it. So when he needed a new band for shows in Brazil, he asked them, and the partnership went so well Martsch, Almeida and Casaes continued playing together throughout 2019, touring the US and Europe and ultimately recording the bass and drum tracks for When the Wind Forgets Your Name at Doug's rehearsal space in Boise, Idaho. After Martsch tracked guitars and vocals, the group collaborated from afar to mix the album.
What emerged is When the Wind Forgets Your Name, a complex and cohesive blend of the artists' distinct musical ideas. Alongside Built to Spill's poetic lyrics and themes, the experimentation and attention to detail produces an album full of unique, vivid and timeless sounds, from guitar-driven rock odes to R.E.M. and Dinosaur Jr. to bluesy '60s-style anthems to dub-reggae-inspired instrumentation.
Martsch was also able to champion his love of comics by recruiting Alex Graham to illustrate the cover of When the Wind Forgets Your Name. "Alex published Dog Biscuits (Fantagraphics Books) online during the pandemic and it really spoke to me. I was thrilled when she agreed to paint the album cover." What evolved was even better than he had imagined, with Graham also drawing a fifty panel comic strip for the gatefold. "I just asked for a painting and a comic. She created it all completely on her own."
It may have taken 30 years of obvious fandom and courtship, but Sub Pop Records is unabashedly proud to finally release an album from Built to Spill: When the Wind Forgets Your Name. Sometimes persistence pays off.
...30 years later the band still sounds as raw and vital as ever....When the Wind Forgets Your Name, is filled with the kind of raggedly glorious indie rock they've been reliably producing since the very start, a loose and inviting, deeply emotional approach bolstered by Martsch's overdriven guitars, warped melancholy melodies, and keening, heart-tuggingly honest vocals.... Martsch delivers the expected Built to Spill goods with a little extra verve and attention to sonic detail. Keyboard overdubs, darkly psychedelic layers of sound, little pockets of dub, and the occasional bit of tambourine help give a batch of hooky, thoughtful, and weirdly uplifting songs an extra boost....Built to Spill have delivered a late-career stunner that easily equals their best work.
- Vinyl LP
- Gatefold jacket with 50-panel comic strip illustrated by comic artist Alex Graham
- Cover art designed by Alex Graham
- Gonna Lose
- Fool's Gold
- Never Alright
- Comes a Day