My Top 1000 Songs #412: Build
Back in the late 90s and early 00s, when I was actively trading live/rare music through a GeoCities home page and snail mail, one of the coolest things I ever got in a trade was a home-made cassette of impossible-to-find early singles by various artists in the then-nascent Elephant 6 musical collective. I'd started getting into bands like Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control, and the cassette included some of their early lo-fi home recordings as well as various other bands I'd yet to explore.
Perhaps my favorite song on the tape was the first single from the Minders--a band which didn't quite exist yet. "Build," released in 1996 (and later included on the excellent 1999 collection of early singles/EPs Cul-De-Sacs & Dead Ends), was the work of Minders frontman Martin Leaper joined by Robert Schneider & Hilarie Sidney of the Apples. (Only later would Leaper find a more permanent set of bandmates, including drummer Rebecca Cole, who's spent the past couple years playing keyboards for the touring Pavement.) It's a delightful slice of catchy, raggedy, lo-fi indie pop, not far afield from the Apples' own work but with a deep debt to XTC. The absurdly infectious tune is held together by a gleefully McCartney-esque bassline (played by Schneider), and it's one of those earworms I've had stuck in my brain for 25+ years.