Built By Snow's 2009 album, MEGA, is 9 songs of catchy keyboard rock with velcro melodies that will stick to your brain and won't let go. Clocking in at under 22 minutes, MEGA leaves no room for filler, packing two minute songs with magnetic pop hooks from start to finish. Built By Snow draws heavily on influences that defined their youth... from 8-bit Nintendo games to 3D glasses, the pop culture that shaped their minds and stole their hearts is now reverberating in their music and lyrics.
Built By Snow is JP Pfertner (vocals, guitar, keyboard, bass), Matt Murray (vocals guitar, keyboard, bass), Ben Bauer (bass, vocals, keyboard, guitar), and Brandon Stein (drums). Since forming in 2006, Built By Snow has been carving their name into the Austin, TX independent music scene with animated live shows saturated in hand claps and a wave of fuzzy keyboards.
Some of the things Built By Snow did in 2009 are:
SXSW Music Festival Showcase
NXNE Music Festival Showcase in Toronto, Canada
One of Austin Monthly's 9 Bands to Watch in '09
Rare Magazine Band Spotlight
1st track on Under the Radar Summer Sampler CD '09
Spin Magazine presents: Sonicbids Radio Show Airplay
Austin360.com video commercial shoot and song licensing
Song on Best of Sonic Bids Compilation CD
My Radio Fest - San Marcos
Pecan Street Festival - Austin
Merge+Music+Fest - Houston
Heave Media -
"Keep an eye on Built By Snow... the future should be a bright one."
Indie Rock Reviews -
"The song 'All The Weird Kids Know' will easily be the dance jam of the year."
75 or Less -
"MEGA is a refreshing surprise."
"MEGA is a party for your stereo, pumping out old 8 bit video game beats with bouncy hooks we can all sing along to."
JP - Vocals/Guitar/Keys/Bass
Matt - Guitar/Vocals/Keys/Bass
Ben - Bass/Vocals/Keys/Guitar
Brandon - Drums
MEGA - Released January 20, 2009
Noise EP - Released September 25, 2007
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Picture yourself in an 80’s movie: you’re at the prom, and the lights come up on the stage, where th...Picture yourself in an 80’s movie: you’re at the prom, and the lights come up on the stage, where the school nerds are setting up their instruments. Just as the cool kids
are about to start booing, the band breaks out with some crazy Devo meets Atari meets Mission of Burma music, and after a flabbergasted pause, the entire room starts dancing. The band triumphantly
ends the set to riotous cheers, and after leaving the stage are immediately surrounded by girls and fellow nerds alike. That is the essence of Built By Snow’s MEGA, an album for people everywhere with geek-love. Because between a lot of 8-bit homage, song titles like Algometric Touch and Giant Robot Attack, and 80s game references galore, BBS are all about indulging their inner nerd. These are anthems for people who were high school outcasts, and said they’d build a giant killer robot and take over the world. Instead, they wrote these songs, which will likely work even better than a killer
robot for getting the girls.
But it would be your loss to take the
album at just face value. You hear a Pac-Man reference and think nerd, but on second listen the metaphors reveal themselves, tying 80s pop-culture iconography into everyday emotions. And the sound? It is as if they submerged themselves in old school electronic prog-rock and early post-punk music, and then saturated the result of those influences with some major synthesizer love.
With catchy hooks galore, singalong
choruses, background ‘whoo-oooh’s, and hand-claps, these tunes are self-indulgent in the best way. MEGA is feel-good, charming as hell, and just plain fun. Catch Built By Snow live during free week, or at Club De Ville on the 24th for the official album release party.
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Built by Snow's nerdy novelty appears easy to write off, the electro-popsters wearing their brains o...Built by Snow's nerdy novelty appears easy to write off, the electro-popsters wearing their brains on their sleeves in a "Giant Robot Attack" and the "Science of Love." Fortunately, the local quartet's quirk is cut with an emotional sincerity that's not only endearing but at times surprisingly apt, as with the cleverly employed metaphor of "Algometric Touch." With keys and guitars caught in a swirl of fuzz and frantic pace (nine songs clocking just over 20 minutes), BBS' debut LP bites like a geekier Weezer. "Implode Alright" and "Invaders" successfully integrate bleeps and samples, "A-Beta" bursts like the hand-clapped pop of fellow locals Belaire, and "All the Weird Kids Know" even unloads a Pac-Man simile in Devo-esque fashion. The band members' heads may be stuck in the video-game glow, but Built by Snow can't hide its nostalgic, mixtape heart buried beneath an overstimulated world.
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Just a few seconds into Built By Snow’s Mega, you wonder if you’re listening to some experimental te...Just a few seconds into Built By Snow’s Mega, you wonder if you’re listening to some experimental techno band or an 80’s pop act. The reality isn’t really anywhere near either of those. The Austin, Texas based guys of Built By Snow have a sound that is something like Weezer (pre-Maladroit) meets The Rentals thrown into the mix. The instrumental opening track “Giant Robot Attack”, isn’t really a good barometer of what the band’s overall sound is, but it does serve as a good jumping-off point and it’s after this intro that Mega really shines.
“Something in 3D” is two minutes of poppy goodness based around a simple synth lick and background vocals. There’s not a single element of the track that’s out of place or distracting. The lead vocal track could easily be Rivers Cuomo and the synth/background vocal baseboard that’s established at the track’s outset is eased off midway through the track, giving a brief reprieve from a sound that could easily become annoying if it were repeated over the entire course of the song.
Roughly halfway through Mega, we arrive at “Implode Alright”, an 8-bit offering that removes traditional instruments from the fray, with the exception of an occasional bass drum or hi-hat hit here and there. The relative simplicity of the song is really where its appeal lies. The rest of the album is loud and fast by comparison with distorted guitars and emphatic vocal tracks. “Implode Alright” is a quick breath of air before diving back in for the rest of the album.
The pacing of the album works very well. Mega begins on a high and slows slightly with “Implode Alright”. Where some might just jump immediately back to the original quick pace that had been established, Built By Snow go the less jarring route and gradually ramp things up until things peak on “Invaders”, which mixes the band’s pop-rock and 8-bit influences into a song that can easily make its way into regular rotation on your music delivery system of choice.
If there’s one knock against Built By Snow’s sophomore effort, it’s that the album is incredibly short. The nine tracks clock in at an astonishingly short 21 minutes and 10 seconds. While none of the songs feel like they end prematurely, the album does feel that way. The band may have been better off waiting until they had a few more songs to add before releasing Mega. However, if given a choice between a short album that leaves me desperately wanting more and a long, drawn out affair that leaves me comatose or searching for some way to dull the pain…I’ll take the short album every time.
Overall, Mega is an outstanding effort, if quite a bit on the short side. Keep an eye on Built By Snow. For a band that sounds like the best elements of Weezer blended with The Rentals, the future should be a bright one.
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The four gents that comprise Austin’s electro pop rock circus Built By Snow have been toward somethi...The four gents that comprise Austin’s electro pop rock circus Built By Snow have been toward something big, huge even, since their formation in 2006. One EP down, their new album MEGA, is a brightly lit kaleidoscopic fete set upon super catchy melodies that make you feel good. Great even, despite the truth outside of that warm bubble. You’ll want to live in that bubble forever for sure. This could be the album to listen to after a bad day at work or when you’re smitten - it’s so sweet and warm and fleecy on the ears.
Clearly influenced by the lightning bolt melodies of Gary Numan’s synth pop phenomenon, the Talking Heads peek into JP Pfertner’s vocals and high five that contagious Devo influence somewhere in the middle. Taking from the tenets of pop culture that saturated your world if you were a child of the 80’s, MEGA’s packed with images of video game characters we wish could be real, if only for an afternoon, like Pac Man. Who didn’t envy him? And his job? And that Mrs. Pac Man? Mmhmmmm!
There’re traces of Weezer here and there, but plugged into 4 keyboards and channeling the crazy crests the Flaming Lips resided upon before the LSD stopped making things so hilarious. Opening track “Giant Robot Attack” would perfectly score an intergalactic cartoon chase between the two bands, with drummer Brandon Stein’s drum dictating proximity and fumbles in the chase. “Something In 3D” is light-hearted and fun, and all the “whooo’s” invite you in, even if the futuristic-electro carny sound isn’t your bag. Pfetner’s vocals are even-toned and imploring, needing something tangible and not afraid to admit that it may be a stuffed bunny with floppy ears or a hug.
Carousing through “All The Weird Kids Know” these boys inhabit what the Cars hung up, dancing through rapid-fire nods to Pac Man, winking beats and super-charged melodies. Excavating long-ago buried memories, “Science of Love” brings images of Metroid to the forebrain, and Samus Aran’s wildly angular profile. It’s hard to not want this song to be about meeting his Metroid-tress, falling in beta-ray love, and having a family of Metroid-lings.
So, you’ll probably want to dance to MEGA a whole lot, regardless of where you are, or what you’re doing, because all 9 über-voltaic songs will give your lower half license - and shoulders - to forget about what kind of dancer you really are. Beware. Maintain focus and keep that peripheral vision in check, and try not to (entirely) give into the mellifluous wave coming out of your speakers.
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Built By Snow - MEGA Some times, you get a little something cool with the CDâ€™s that show up in th...Built By Snow - MEGA
Some times, you get a little something cool with the CDâ€™s that show up in the mail for review. Built By Snowâ€™s bio is an 11Ã—17 comic book in 3D that came with a pair of accompanying 3D glasses. Kudoâ€™s. If nothing else, It certainly got my attention.
Even though MEGA is billed as a full release, itâ€™s nine songs that play out in under 22 minutes (which is totally fine. Tokyo Police Club are making a name for themselves on songs that run at under two minutes in length after all), so thereâ€™s no room for any filler. Fortunately, the band themselves seem to realize this â€“ as MEGA plays through as a tight full length, even though it could all fit on a single side of an LP. To my ear, the band owe more to XTC than they do to the afore mentioned Tokyo Police Club, but if you can imagine both of these bands criss-crossing their sounds, you might have an inclining as to what Built By Snow sound like.
MEGA is a fun-filled album of short inspired pop nuggets. Songs like â€˜Algometric Touchâ€™ will have you tapping your foot along in approval. Built By Snow are already a band on the lips of music stalwarts in and around Austin Texas (where the band hail from), I can only hope the band manage to make their way north of the border in 2009 for some northern exposure. MEGA comes out on January 13th. Do check out the band at the links below.
Chewing Gum for the Ears
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This latest post has been, in part, inspired by the winter wonderland that is my home for the holida...This latest post has been, in part, inspired by the winter wonderland that is my home for the holidays, though pop-rockers Built By Snow actually seem to have little to do with their namesake. The quartet hail from Austin, Texas and their upcoming debut album, MEGA, is a sunny explosion of pop melodies which the band describe as "[hitting] your brain like an Atari blasting out of a bazooka." That may or may not sound appealing, but the group's infectious mix of keyboards, eager vocals, and nerd-tastic lyrics is uber-catchy and extremely fun.
MEGA's brief 21 minutes has some great moments, like the quirky, clap-happy "All the Weird Kids Know" and the spastic "Invaders," which really does have that Atari/bazooka feel going on. Goofy, energetic, and brimming with melody, Built By Snow have a good thing started here, and when singer JP (no last names) implores "Let's take on gravity, put rockets on our feet," you'll feel inclined to join the party.
The album drops on January 20, but Built By Snow have put up FOUR tracks online free to download, including the aforementioned highlights. Check out www.builtbysnow.com/rad/ to get a hold of those and for more info on the band.
Who Needs Radio
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Built By Snow's album arrived to me yesterday in a pretty dang fancy way. Inside the bright red enve...Built By Snow's album arrived to me yesterday in a pretty dang fancy way. Inside the bright red envelope came their CD, a press release in the style of a 3D comic book sheet, and get this... it also came with 3D glasses paperclipped to it. Bravo to you, Flying Tyrannosaurus Press! You know the way to a music blogger's heart... interesting and unique packaging. So with being utterly wooed by the goodies, I immediately gave the album a listen. OBVIOUSLY it's really good, or it wouldn't be up here this fast. It's great, fetching indie rock from a band who's located in the music mecca known as Austin, Texas. I don't have any good comparisons or in depth explanations of Built By Snow's style, as I don't feel a band this good needs it. But I will tell you that the two songs below are my absolutely favorites, especially the video game-like intro and lyrically charming build up of Implode Alright. The album won't be released until January, but you should grab these now for the next mix CD you make for your crush.
Clicky Clicky Music Blog
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http://jbreitling.blogspot.com/2009/01/todays-hotness-built-by-snow-burning.html Austin, Texas re...http://jbreitling.blogspot.com/2009/01/todays-hotness-built-by-snow-burning.html
Austin, Texas regularly surprises us with upstart indie acts. Recently it was turning out impressive shoegaze bands (the mighty Ringo Deathstarr, She, Sir), but its manic quartet Built By Snow trades in synth pop. The aesthetic is not unlike scene antecedents Belaire (whose self-titled 2005 EP continues to make us smile). But Built By Snow, which formed in early 2006, embraces a more overtly rock sound encompassing the bracing '80s pop of, oh, let's say The Tubes, as well as a thousand forgotten acts, as evidenced by the upbeat, hand-clapping anthem "All The Weird Kids Know." Built By Snow counts among its influences Devo and The Cars, but we think that assessment ignores several obvious contempories; Built By Snow's "Something In 3D" sounds a lot like New Pornographers. "A-Beta" touts sparer -- but no less punchy -- verses that the foursome leverages into dense pre-choruses/non-choruses packed with squalling guitars. Built By Snow self-release its new album Mega Jan. 20; an earlier EP, Noise, was issued in 2007
Side One: Track One
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Syncopated beats and catchy synthesizers power the new Built by Snow album, which probably should h... Syncopated beats and catchy synthesizers power the new Built by Snow album, which probably should have been called I Am A Party Robot. The band have been models of success up to this point, releasing a water-testing EP and playing a number of shows to "build a little hype" (as the Exec’s say) but all the hard work would be for not if this album didn’t deliver the goods (which it does).
My hope was that the album would at least capture the sound that the band has pioneered at shows recently, but alas, my expectations were surpassed: the album sounds more like the album I expected the band to write four years from now, comfortable with their sound and confident enough to show it off. Like a modern version of The Cars, the songs are built first on solid pop hits, but decorated with synthesizers that somehow sound less cheesy than they should. I’ve only heard the album a couple times through, so I can’t say that it has entirely set in with me yet, but if nothing else, that the band have developed so quickly certainly bodes well for the future.
Revenge of the nerds: Built By Snow
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These past few weeks, I've had the sincere pleasure of getting to know Austin band Built By Snow for...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.
~ 45 minute sets on average.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.