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Preview: Built to Spill 

The band, whose latest release is Untethered Moon, plays the Howlin’ Wolf May 17

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Somewhere on a decrepit hard drive is the unpublished transcript of a 4,000-word interview with Doug Martsch, conducted in August 10 years ago, ironically confined to the cold recesses of read-only memory. Built to Spill was in the midst of recording its sixth LP You In Reverse — the band's first in five years — and he was kind enough to share some details and even a few sounds off the album, which then was eight months from release. For me, this was a coup: Built to Spill occupies hallowed ground, one of the few active rock bands from the '90s to be both good and around long enough to really matter. As a pop-afflicted kid, I used to wonder about the imaginary line artists crossed to become "classic," and whether people around them at the time could feel it happening. Maybe some people immediately recognized Perfect From Now On as a masterpiece upon its release 18 years ago, but what I love most about this band is how its genius sneaks up on you, revealing itself in an off-key vocal, knockdown chord change or scalding guitar solo. (That its existence has made thousands of indie kids question their jam-band affiliation is a bonus.) Built to Spill fans can argue forever about whether Keep It Like a Secret or Perfect From Now On is better (each and neither side is right), and the band's latter-day form, including last month's lumpy Untethered Moon (Warner Bros.), still manages to send a few chills. You In Reverse is not the best or the worst; it's the imaginary line, the storm before the calm. Wooden Indian Burial Ground and Clarke & the Himselfs open. Tickets $22.


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