Formed from the ashes of the Boise, Idaho punk band
State of Confusion, Treepeople were based in Seattle
and were led by Doug Martsch and Scott Schmaljohn
who shared guitar, songwriting and singing duties.
Most of their records were recorded for the C/Z record label.
Their music was a twin guitar styled fuzzy pop in a malt liquor bottle.
Riffs intermingling into patterns and textures, like Television (the band),
with nasally harmonies and a glaze of grunge on top. Yummy guitar,
great hooks, an excellent cover of Bowie's "Andy Warhol" is a good example.
Mad tempo changes at times, songs like "Handcuffs" and "Neil's Down".
Sometimes it scares you a little bit to realize what a band's
influences are--like when I heard the Treepeople on a Boston
tribute album, 'o yeh, I guess that totally makes sense. yikes.'
More recently Martsch has been wearing his Neil Young and Beatles
leanings on his sleeve with his new band Built to Spill. The songs
are better, more diverse, and with the confidence to be as wacky as
they wanna be.
In a lot of ways Treepeople to Built to Spill is
similar to Uncle Tupelo to Son Volt--a songwriter splits from a
band which had 2 creative leaders, which played louder but less mature
songs, and starts to reach his full potential. But where Uncle Tupelo
split into 2 bands, with Wilco finding as much success, or more than
Son Volt, Stuntman which Treepeople's Scott Schmaljohn formed only
put out one album (in 1996).