Big Dipper – Heavens real Alt College Rock

Big Dipper – Heavens real Alt College Rock

Big Dipper Heavens LP album cover

Big Dipper

North East rock was never so eloquently defined than by the alternative music vehicle known as Big Dipper. I meant this to be a follow-up post on the music from City Gardens Riot on the Dance Floor post but needless to say when a group makes a melodic dent like these guys did it’s worth one of my retro-posts because a lot of the submissions I’m getting just don’t rank. This is though one of those bands I trekked down to Trenton to see opening up I think for Robyn Hitchcock. Way back when my friend A.Rockman went to Lehigh, I used to go visit him weekend night’s he’d have a late night shift on 91.3 FM WLVR. This is where I first heard Dumbtruck which featured guys from Big Dipper too. This is the independent “college rock” I remember best. Spinning their first EP Boo Boo was a ear explosion of melody and rough guitars minus the delay pedal present in bands like Echo & The Bunnymen with the same sing-song sense. The follow-up Heavens delivered even more of the same jangle rock. Straight-up songs that fit nicely with The Smithereens, The Feelies and the more melodic tunes by Hüsker Dü on my mix tapes. While short lived in their 7 year history it was awesome to see them play on the Heavens tour as I remember them being one of the tallest bands in world who seemed almost cramped up against the low ceiling on the City Gardens stage. Check out their Anthology out now on Merge!

All Going Out Together MP3 by Big Dipper from Heavens
Faith Healer MP3 Originally on the Boo Boo EP

Bonus tracks:
Celebrated Summer
Strangers When We Meet MP3 by The Smithereens from Especially for you (1986)
Stars Grow Colder MP3 by Dumptruck from Lemmings Travel To The Sea (2001) I need to burn something from Positively Dumbtruck which is the correct era unless somebody can swing that my way?
On the Roof MP3 by The Feelies from the Good Earth (1986)
The Killing Moon MP3 by Echo & The Bunnymen from Ocean Rain

Related Junk:
Randy Now Riot on Dance Floor – City Gardens documentary
Album Review: The Feelies release the Good Earth

Archers of Loaf Live Review & on Fallon

Archers of Loaf Live Review & on Fallon

Archers of Loaf Webster Hall NYC 2011
LIVE REVIEW: Such a great performance the Archers of Loaf put on the other night at Webster Hall. This band created a indie rock time capsule way back in 1990’s and then proceeded to back it up with one amazing record after the next until they decided to fold-up shop.

So here they are repeating what seems to be like a great re-start and a chance of being a real working band again! Thanks goodness they are back in favor with Merge Records and it doesn’t hurt either having Bob Weston re-master Ickey Mettle — which you can pre-order now. Beats living in a van Mr. Eric Backman. If you had to explain what the hell indie rok was to an alien or to people in the future all you’d have to do is point them to the music on Icky Mettle. Trust me. I loved Crooked Fingers when it was good and when you fiddled solo on stage at Brownies with a bunch of guitar effects or invited the whole world onstage but AOL is like an old girlfriend that’s good in the sack and your’re glad she has come back to give you some lovin’. Lets hope they stick around to make some new music – hell I’d settle for some well chosen covers because I’m not going to find a beach band who could capitalize on it (Fantasy scene …and now some bands interpreting their favorite songs as covered by AOL…). So 2 encores and just about all the hits you could get drunk on is not too band — (See set-list below) only these guys can play their music. One of the down-falls any band that plays out constantly is road-burn and the sets and music literally slow down to a boring crawl. Bands these days just can’t just take-off to Jamaica or France to recharge like the Stones used to do so no surprise it happened to AOL I’m guessing. This set had a great rhythmic sense of high-points to it and didn’t fall into their previous downer neutral modes. So totally uplifting to see a revitalized energy put towards their amazing landscape and catalog of music. So in future ignore management, make the wife’s happy and focus on the fans. Because the fans will be happy so long as they have cold beer and this music to sing along with. Thanks Guys maybe I see you in Philly!

Archers of Loaf live at Webster Hall

Archers of Loaf live at Webster Hall

Awesome AOL Photo by Metro Mix

Here’s the set list from Sunday night’s show. (WHO HAS THE BOOTLEG?):
Strangled by the Stereo Wire
Plumb Line
Dead Red Eyes
Let the Loser Melt
You and Me
Revenge MP3 from The Speed of Cattle
Smokin’ Pot in the Hot City
Greatest of All Time
Lowest Part Is Free
Freezing Point MP3 from The Speed of Cattle
What Did You Expect MP3 from The Speed of Cattle
Web in Front
Slow Worm

Matt_Gentling Archers of Loaf Bassplayer

Matt Gentling not fooling anybody in-between the encore -photo by Monsieur McFartbag

Encore 1:
Step Into the Light
Harnessed In Slums MP3 from Vee Vee
All Hail the Black Market

Encore 2:
Scenic Pastures
Form and File

Hand stitched related articles:
The initial Archers of Loaf re-union videos at the Cat’s Cradle
Editorial: About that Indie Rock Documentary you wanted to make –What is Indie Rock anyway?

Love Stinks – Hated and Beloved Valentines Day Songs

Love Stinks – Hated and Beloved Valentines Day Songs

“I got you Babe” by Sonny & Cher and “Nothing Compares to you” by Sinead O’connor are a couple of those songs I can’t stand sometimes but we all can admit love stinks right sometimes? Mostly because it’s so hard to explain as we go and as the explanation gets fuzzier and fuzzier and we turn into some stale marshmallow on the couch. Love’s meaning changes as you go through different stages of life too but one thing is for sure; there are songs that strike a note in our blackened caverns and makes us all light headed as if we just got the wind knocked out of us. How many ways can I break your heart? Here’s a 13 pack of some of the most “hated” and beloved Valentine’s Day songs. You probably have yours but here’s some of mine.

You might be fans of this kind of love or unlove:
13) True Love Will Find You In The End MP3 Daniel Johnston from 1990. [Buy] Also covered by that poser Beck
12) Fists Of LoveBig Black from Atomizer [Buy]
11) Ever Fallen In Love_ MP3 Buzzcocks taken from Singles Going Steady. [Buy]
10) I’m Not In Love from The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads MP3 Live (1978) The guitar playing on this is awesome. [Buy]
09) I Am Trying To Break Your Heart MP3 by Wilco Live at Troutdale (2007) [Buy some Wilco]

One of the saddest fucking love songs:
08) I will follow you into the Dark MP3 by Death Cab For Cutie from PLANS

Some classic and eclectic Love Songs:
07) Love Stinks MP3 by The J Geils Band (1980) [Buy]
06) To Love Somebody MP3 by Nina Simone w/ a little intro by Joe Strummer from the Future is Unwritten soundtrack [Buy some Nina]
05) Will You Love Me Tomorrow MP3 by The Zombies doing Carole King and Gerry Goffin song Live At BBC 1965-1968.
04) Love Is For Lovers MP3 by The DB’s originally from the 1982 record Like This. Taken from the Poptopia! Power Pop Classics of 1980’s Compilation.
03) I Don’t Love Nobody MP3 performed by Jerry Lee Lewis -Originally written by Roy Brown. This is from the Sun Rockabilly Meltdown comp I high recommend compilation.
02) Between Two Sheets MP3 by Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns taken from the Mojo compilation James Brown’s Funky Summer

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo. Love, love actress Zooey Deschanel from She & Him.

01) My all time favorite love song is Roky Erickson’sYou Don’t Love Me Yet” MP3 performed by Bongwater. Check out one of the 7″ Friday posts where we go in deep on this magnificent NYC band.

You don't Love me yet

00) Here’s the original psychedelic version by Roky You Don’t Love Me Yet MP3 from You’re Gonna Miss Me: Original Soundtrack. I think the song was originally released in the UK in 1988 as a 12″ by Roky Erickson & Evilhook Wildlife (ET) and also a single on Fundamental Records Pray 7.

Emusic’s New deal with the Devil is not Fan friendly

I’ve been on eMusic since they began and have dealt with their changes and growth throughout the years. Always linking to them for almost every post in hopes of inspiring a purchase for other rabid music fans. This new deal with Universal Music Group is not a great one. Although the numbers sound good(250,000 addition to catalog) the fall-out is bad for fans of what got the digital music club there in first place.
Emusic was always been the one place you could get a true read on what was being offered in Indie music land. Now with Merge Records gone a whole slew of awesome labels
under the Beggars Group which includes Rough Trade, 4AD, Matador, XL, among others there is little in a way of choice.
It will be interesting to watch the Emusic charts for sure but One of the key things(ok actually there are several) with emusic was that the cost of entry was low so you could sample several new bands all the time.
I loved it. They also did a great job of championing new bands that were not part of any of the aforementioned labels who otherwise would never be on their radar unless Emusic bubbled them up and gave them a chance.

Now songs are anywhere from 79 cents to 49cents! Where they used to be half that and then half that before. Still cheaper than iTunes standard 99cent or 1.29! but man have they made up the difference. I’m not going to get into a long cost analysis but the analogy is consitent with the target crushing your local mom and pop shop. Imagine if your cool local indie suddenly started charging you more suddenly unilaterally for everything. No more nice price. And even more if it was popular! WTF. Should you not pay less if something is popular? Not more. We obviously are not privy to the exact offer that the indies rejected if any. Their statements reference terms but that is the confidential stuff.

Another disturbing thing is that because it’s a download site and you went back to grab a copy of something because it got corrupted the prices you see are the new ones. Does this mean I have to rebuy? Well it seems that is the case. The whole advantage of having a download site like emusic is that you could go and get a copy of your file in case you wanted to post some of your work computer vs your home machine.

So basically as of Nov 18th some of the cooler independent labels won’t be available for some time. Emusic will need to do some serious price-point re-tinkering with their system to bring back the labels that have said no thanks. Hell even create a different set of charts because lord knows I don’t want to see Kenya competing against Matt and Kim or whatever.

On the other hand this is great news for insound and the other independent download hotspots and maybe make other cool shops like ubiquity records update their cart system or if amoeba music expanded theirs? It creates an opportunity for music fans to utilize the blogs and go direct if possible but where do we send them? Merge Records right now has a great online store but that’s just one label. So they umbrella an pool their resources? Ironically, the one band I always wanted to get some tunes from was Sonic Youth and now their awesome back catalog is part of the defection. So now what?

If were smart they’d add a ecommerce layer so if somebody really wanted to own something they could; but lets see if their new app is cool enough. can’t because of the sheer conflict using itunes data scrobbler and who knows what is in store for

Related stories:

  • Sonic Youth’s Sister and Daydream Nation on Emusic
  • Emusic is going to obscure indies
  • Sony BMG screws the emusic pooch
  • Trail of Dead – early years …Are they Tao?

    TOD performing “The Rest Will Follow” on the David Letterman Show.

    SINGLE REVIEW: The Trail of Dead have jumped labels more than any band I’ve ever tracked with each release and quite consistently. Competing with the Poster Children and a few others with a decent stint on a major label ok maybe not as many as the pkids. Their upcoming release is going to be on their own label – Richter Scale Records. Never had the pleasure of meeting …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (at least not yet) and or since i knew about their sonic existence (thank you Benny of the Highway) they have been one of my favorite heavy and noisy bands of all time. Well at least since 2001.  Everything is really fuzzy before that. Conrad and the boys have persistently managed to bake in all the right elements of guitar swagger, big dumb drums and vocal angst. Giving you this huge soundscape of music. I can hear why Hemispheres was influence on this one with SIDE 1 and Side 2 of continuous music. I can’t wait for Tao of the Dead all to obvious album title. I’m still a devoted fan of their music> Their notereity will be there in a black flag kind of way with many a splinter and broken drum set in their path.  The pre-release of Summer of Dead souls track is exactly what you can expect. Check it out on  I encourage you to go to town if you dig these tracks and get the whole discography or at least parts of it. The new track is great. Feels right and the good payout is that they did not belabor the output. Less vanilla more rock. How’s that for a short review?

    Sample some shit:
    Gargoyle Waiting from S/T …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (1998) Trance Syndicate Records

    Totally Natural from Madonna (1999) Merge Records. Totally out of character for the bands that were on merge at the time but damn wouldn’t it be funny if they returned like spoon did?

    Another Morning Stoner from Source Codes & Tags (2002) Interscope. This is the record that put them on the map blah blah blah. Dude the cool kids picked them up.

    Superchunk Digging for Something by some oldsters

    Superchunk Digging for Something by some oldsters

    SINGLE REVIEW: Superchunk’s Digging for Something off of Majesty Shredding. Love this song it’s like a long lost friend who got drunk at the bar and then found their way back wearing the same cloths you saw them in the night before. ok maybe the label says reinvented by american apparel on it but they smell the same. Has the elements you’d expect from years gone by from portastatic to now from Mac and company. Never trying to be something they are not but except a indie rock band from North Carolina. No please all fucking hipsters please go die and then buy this record and all their old stuff on Merge Records. You are being made fun of by the old folks. WATCH VIDEO >>

    Download mp3:
    Digging for Something” by Superchunk
    Through With People” (Portastatic cover) by Barbara Manning