Formed in 1992 Built to Spill started as mostly Doug Martsch under another name. Many bands have had a lead who runs the band but usually they have a number of members who at least stay a little while. Martsch decided he wanted to take a different and quite novel approach. He had stated that he intended to change the band's lineup after every album, and he had been decently consistent in that idea early on before quickly abandoning it.
You can really hear a lot of early Modest Mouse in the band's sound. It's not too surprising as they were both formed in the US north west around the same time and likely ran similar circuits.
The first incarnation of the band consisted of Brett Netson on bass and Ralf Youtz on drums. In 1993 the band released their first album Ultimate Alternative Waves on which, for whatever reason, Martsch decided to credit himself on the Nom De Plume "Dug" for the album's credits.
This song has a sample from The Simpsons' Nelson mixed into it.
Shortly after that Brett Netson was replaced by Brett Nelson, note the L instead of T, as well as Andy Capps, friends of Doug who had worked with him previous in the 80s in Doug's previous band Farm Days. Their next album featured several members of Treepeople, the band that Doug had left right before forming Built to Spill. Quickly after forming the group released 1994's There's Nothing Wrong With Love.
The exposure of this album allowed Built to Spill to sign with Warner Brother while also retaining the majority of creative control over his work. Shortly before signing Doug brought in Brett Netson while retaining Nelson as well as several other members of Caustic Resin, the band Nelson was currently to co-creative the, fairly on the nose, 4 song EP titled Built To Spill Caustin Resin.
For the 1997 LP Perfect From Now On, which was Doug's first major album, Built to Spill consisted of recurring member Brett Nelson and new members Peter Lansdowne and Scott Plouf. Oh yeah, and he brought in Brett Netson as a guest on a few tracks because, why not continue to confuse fans?
At this point Martsch decided enough was enough and made Nelson and Plouf permanent members and they worked together to create the 1999 album Keep it Like a Secret, the album had much less of a jam band aesthetic and resulted in more success for it's streamlined approach. It and the previous album are often considered the bands best work.
In 2000 they released a live album titled, very uncreatively, Live. A year after that Built to Spill released Ancient Melodies of the Future.
The band then took a hiatus for Doug to work on some side projects. Martsch, Nelson and Plouf regrouped in 2006 to release You In Reverse, which yet again featured guitar work by Netson.
In 2007 they released a single, and quickly followed with their next album, There is No Enemy, in 2008.
While developing the bands 2008 followup Nelson and Plouf quit the band and the project was scrapped rather than try and utilize the work already recorded. Martsch brought in members of his road crew to replace the lost members. Jason Albertini would take over as bassist and Steve Gere would be the drummer. In 2015 the band released their 8th and most recent album titled Untethered Moon.
After how much stuff Netson did I dunno why he was just considered a contributor rather than full member of the band.