Uncovering Built to Spill's Boise Cover Band

Feb. 18, 2009
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Digging through Atomic Records' close-out stock Tuesday evening I stumbled upon this little nugget filed under Built to Spill: Unoriginal Artists by the Boise Cover Band, a Doug Martsch side project from 2003. No, I hadn't heard of them either, and that struck me as odd. How could the lead singer of Built to Spill have released a full album without me knowing about it? Doesn't the Internet exist to tell me about this kind of thing? How did Wikipedia miss this?

The average key grip on a "Battlestar Galactica" episode has a greater web presence than this band, which has generated no YouTube videos, no Pitchfork review, no picture of the album on Amazon. It's Internet absence is that much more of a travesty given that unlike efforts from short-lived side projects like the Crust Brothers, Unoriginal Artists isn't a tossed-off live album. It's even beautifully produced by Built to Spill's go-to producer Phil Ek.

At just seven songs, Unoriginal Artists is short but inspired, with covers of a couple doo-woopy reggae oldies and several swooning rock ballads. The Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang" is re-imagined as a bleary-eyed, instrumental jam, while a cover of David Bowies' "Ashes to Ashes" is every bit as awesome as it sounds on paper [kudos to Indiemuse for posting the track.]

My life is a little richer for having discovered this one.


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