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The Halo Benders

The Halo Benders were a side project for Built to Spill's Doug Martsch and Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson, uniting two of the Northwest's more idiosyncratic indie rockers. The results were appropriately loose and eclectic, with an off-the-cuff charm and a quirky sense of humor that brought them general critical approval. Johnson had spent the past decade-plus as the deep-voiced frontman of indie pop pioneers Beat Happening, in the meantime building his K Records imprint into a successful indie venture. Martsch, meanwhile, had spent several years in Boise, ID's Treepeople, and had ushered in his new project, Built to Spill, with 1993's Ultimate Alternative Wavers. Martsch invited Johnson to contribute vocals to an unwritten future track, and that invitation grew into a full-fledged side project and songwriting collaboration. Bassist Wayne Rhino Flower -- another ex-Treepeople member, also of Violent Green at the time -- and drummer Ralf Youtz, who'd played on the first Built to Spill album, soon took their place as the rhythm section.

In 1994, the Halo Benders issued their debut 7", "Canned Oxygen," on Atlas Records, and soon followed it with their first full-length album, God Don't Make No Junk, on Johnson's K Records. It received complimentary reviews, and also saw the addition of producer Steve Fisk to the loose-knit lineup on keyboards. While Built to Spill was in the midst of assembling its major-label debut, the Halo Benders recorded a follow-up album, Don't Tell Me Now, which appeared in 1996 and featured instrumental contributions from BtS producer Phil Ek. It solidified their indie following and set the stage for a third album, 1998's The Rebels Not In, which featured guest guitar from Beat Happening's Heather Dunn. As Built to Spill's touring schedule got busier, the Halo Benders went on an indefinite hiatus. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Rebels Not In

1. Virginia Reel Around The Fountain

2. Your Asterisk

3. Lonesome Sundown

4. Devil City Destiny

5. Bury Me

6. Surfers Haze

7. Do That Thing

8. Love Travels Faster

9. Turn It My Way

10. Rebels Got A Hole In It

11. Foggy Bottom

x

Track List: Don't Tell Me Now

1. Phantom Power

2. Halo Bender

3. Mercury Blues

4. Bombshelter, Pt. 1

5. Bombshelter, Pt. 2

6. Volume Mode

7. Inbread Heart

8. Planned Obsolescence

9. Magic Carpet Ride

10. Blank Equation

11. Crankenstein

x

Track List: God Don't Make No Junk

1. Snowfall

2. Don't Touch My Bikini

3. Will Work For Food

4. Freedom Ride

5. Sit On It

6. Canned Oxygen

7. Scarin

8. On a Tip

9. I Can't Believe It's True

10. Big Rock Candy Mountain

Comments

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Really thought this particular band would've garnered more comments. They've sure grown on me. Martch sounds more beatific than ever in the mix.
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OOOOoooohhhh Caaalllvinnn n !
Report as inappropriate
Calvin has one of those voices to you have to listen to a lot before you realize how awesome it is. Now juxtapose it with Doug's voice and you have something really unique.
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I think Calvin and Doug's voices compliment each other really well - that's what got me into the HBs to begin with.
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gilbybognar
this isn't supposed to be built to spill.. Calvin's voice has a certain monotone quality that made halo benders unique...
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the halo benders would be soo much more bad a** if calvin would stop singing and let doug take the stage.it sounds soo good but calvin is just damn annoying with that crapy monotone voice.
Report as inappropriate
cdrosario982
The Halo Benders also have a cd called "Rebels Not In" which I think was released later than this one (1997? 98?) that received lots of airplay on whatever station KEXP used to be.

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