Released off the late cult artist’s 1991 album Artistic Vice, the song gets a more subtle rendition from Built to Spill. “You’ll never know dear, the tears that I cry,” frontman Doug Martsch sings. “I don’t want to wait, girl, ’til the day that I die/Tell me now, oh oh, do you really love me?”
“Tell Me Now” follows the sparkling “Bloody Rainbow” and “Mountain Top,” the latter of which the band released accompanied by a video directed by Zach Gayne featuring animation by Tomoko Uryu.
Built to Spill Plays the Songs of Daniel Johnston was recorded as a trio, consisting of Martsch, bassist Jason Albertini and drummer Steve Gere. The record consists of 11 songs that chronicle Johnston’s final tour in 2017, when Built to Spill served as his backing band.
“Basically, we wanted to get a good documentation of what our rehearsals were like,” Martsch recently told Rolling Stone. “It was pretty special for us,” he said of playing with Johnston. “It was a lot heavier than what I thought it would be.”
Martsch recently pledged his support for a new initiative from the Hi, How Are You Project, the mental-health nonprofit inspired by the legacy of Johnston. Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the initiative has also been supported by Jeff Tweedy, Sharon Van Etten, Ben Kweller, Spoon’s Britt Daniel and more.