THE night before dave the band began recording their second EP Poor Kelpie in March 2016 frontman Noah Church dragged along his bandmates to see his new favourite act, Built To Spill, at the University of Sydney's Manning Bar.
Among the crowd of mostly "middle-aged dudes" Church, drummer Gabe Argiris and bassist Max Tuckerman were awestruck by the US indie-rock legends.
"It made a big impression," Church remembers. "It was special."
The next day dave the band carried the excitement of the Built To Spill gig into their own recording session, injecting Poor Kelpie, and particularly the track Getting Better, with a raw slacker-rock energy.
It was a departure from the polished sound the Newcastle lads were renown for on their debut EP Sunny Days In Winter.
"I think that change is from the Built To Spill influence slowly creeping in the more we got into them," Church says. "Even after the Poor Kelpie EP, that's why we went to record Yoch Bangers, Vol.1 at [Mayfield's] RTN studio because we wanted it even more raw.
"We didn't care about it being schmick like Sunny Days In Winter was."
The Built To Spill record which first caught Church's attention was the Idaho band's second album There's Nothing Wrong With Love, released in 1994.
With the majority of rock-loving America at the time obsessed with the guttural power of grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Built To Spill were an oddity.
Frontman Doug Martsch's vocal wasn't coarse and commanding like Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder, but quirky like a Gordon Gano of The Violent Femmes.
And the ramshackle guitar sound might have lacked crunching power chords, but it was thrilling in its weirdness. Martsch's lyrics of mundane small town American life, had a nostalgic beauty, particularly on the highlights Big Dipper and Car.
"My favourite lyric is on Reasons, where he sings, 'Stay with me until I die/ There's nothing else I wanna try'," Church says. "Lines like that stay with you, and that's the type of thing I try to slip into songs, in among the home-grown feel."
For someone like Church who had grown up loving The Foo Fighters, the more alternative and less-produced sound of There's Nothing Wrong With Love "opened up a whole new world of possibilities."
"It was so raw, but still warm and comforting," he says. "The songs are sweet, but with that DIY low-fi recording. Simple songwriting, but at the same time there's a lot going on."
There's Nothing Wrong With Love proved to be Built To Spill's breakthrough album and a year later the band signed with major label Warner Bros.
Their next album Perfect From Now On released in 1997 was the band's most acclaimed and commercially successful record.
"They're a band that isn't huge, but they've influenced so many artists," Church says.
Dave the band's debut full-length album Slob Stories is out on August 28.
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