Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Revenge of the nerds: Built By Snow

These past few weeks, I've had the sincere pleasure of getting to know Austin band Built By Snow for Rare's "Music Maker Series," which the magazine does every March. As fortune would have it, their new CD "Mega" releases on January 20, which I jammed out to in my car driving between San Antonio and Austin these past few days. In case you're already familiar with Built By Snow and their vigorous hand-claps, there are moments where you sort of have to choose between driving or hand-claps when operating a vehicle/listening to "Mega." Hand-claps usually win! (If you're me!)

So as you can see by the picture above, Built By Snow loves their keyboards. Any Cars fan will adore "Mega" for this very reason. But even if synthesizers aren't your thing, "Mega" is downright nostalgic for anyone born between the years 1975-1985 (give or take a few years), given the 8 bit video game beats running through the whole album. It's a bit like having a dance party and putting Mario and Luigi in charge of the turntables. (The song "Implode Alright" is a good example).

"Mega" is highly danceable, and the guys sound like they have a blast with these songs. Many reviewers have labeled them nerd rock, which is fitting I suppose given their penchant for love metaphors involving magnets and Pac-Man. While listening to this CD, I kept envisioning a John Hughes-like movie scene, where my geeky science lab partner and I gaze at each other longingly over half-dissected frog parts, I smile a coquettish, brace-filled smile....when suddenly. My beloved rips off his glasses, jumps onto the black formica table, and declares his love for me by singing into a beaker.

Which should give you an idea of Built By Snow's vibe.

Science class romances aside however, my favorite part about this band is their response when I asked them how they got their big break. The answer? Good old-fashioned Battle of the Bands. Here is JP Pfertner, explaining that fateful day in April 2006:

“None of the other bands knew who we were. We even heard them saying backstage that their only real competition was Band A or Band B. We got lucky and drew the straw that allowed us to play last... and we killed it! It was like the scene at the end of “Revenge of the Nerds” when everyone realized that the nerds were the cool ones! When we finished, the whole crowd was chanting our name, and the other bands seemed shocked to have never heard of us.”

Don't you love!

Anyway, Built By Snow has a show this Friday at Mohawk and personally I can't wait. Have you all seen them before? It'll be my first time to see them live. You guys bring the attitude, I'll bring the hand-claps.


john said...

GREAT description of these guys. they are always a fun show.

That Austin Girl said...

Thanks John! I'm really looking forward to seeing them on Friday.

Ajay Miranda said...

Oh wow! Did you make it to Mohawk after all? I was there, but I just now read this. Fun show. Zlam Dunk stole the show IMO though.

kj said...

Check out their CD release party January 24th at Club Deville!