Legendary indie rock band Built to Spill will release a cover album of Daniel Johnston songs on May 1. The album, Built to Spill Plays the Songs of Daniel Johnston, will feature 11 tracks, including “Bloody Rainbow,” which Rolling Stone debuted and the band made available to listeners via Bandcamp February 3.
This will be the Boise, Idaho-based band’s first album release since 2015’s Untethered Moon. The songs were recorded by the band in rehearsals prior to their backing of Daniel Johnston for the final two live performances of his career in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Johnston was an icon across the outsider and alternative music scenes, recording and performing from the late 1970s until his final tour in 2017. He was revered by countless artists, from Built to Spill to Jeff Tweedy to the Preservation All-Stars, all of whom backed him on that final tour. He gained prominence in the 1990s when Kurt Cobain would often be photographed wearing a shirt with the cover art from Johnston’s 1983 album Hi, How Are You.
Johnston was also a tremendous advocate for mental health. His career and life were marked by extended stays in psychiatric institutions, and he was ultimately diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This was heavily chronicled in the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston. He passed away on September 11, 2019, of a presumed heart attack.
“It was pretty special for us,” guitarist and singer Doug Martsch told Rolling Stone on recording and producing the album. “Basically we wanted to get good documentation of what our rehearsals were like. It was a lot heavier than what I thought it would be.”
The album drops May 1 and can be pre-ordered through Bandcamp.
- Bloody Rainbow
- Tell Me Now
- Honey I Sure Miss You
- Good Morning You
- Heart, Mind and Soul
- Life In Vain
- Mountain Top
- Queenie The Dog
- Impossible Love
- Fake Records Of Rock & Roll
Built to Spill will also play a 13-show tour prior to the album release, beginning March 22 in Portland at the Aladdin Theatre and ending April 5 at Cornerstone Berkley in Berkeley, California.
Built to Spill – Live 2020
03/22 – Aladdin Theatre – Portland, Oregon
03/23 – The Crocodile – Seattle, Washington
03/24 – The Crocodile – Seattle, Washington
03/26 – Treefort Music Festival – Boise, Idaho
03/27 – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, Utah
03/28 – The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado
03/30 – Launch Pad – Albuquerque, New Mexico
03/31 – 191 Toole – Tucson, Arizona
04/01 – Orpheum Theatre – Flagstaff, Arizona
04/02 – Music Box – San Diego, California
04/03 – Pappy & Harriet’s (Outdoor) – Pioneertown, California
04/04 – Cornerstone Berkeley – Berkeley, California
04/05 – Cornerstone Berkeley – Berkeley, California
Photo Credit: Owen Ela