Dig Me Out - The 90s rock podcast
#481: Ebbhead by Nitzer Ebb

#481: Ebbhead by Nitzer Ebb

March 31, 2020

Though the mid-to-late nights are more regarded for the commercial rise of electronic music, specifically in the form of UK electronica from the Chemical Brothers, Prodigy and others, the mainstream interest in high octane beats and synth-over-guitar was nothing new. As the 80s transitioned to the 90s, bands like Depeche Mode and New Order were firmly established global phenomenons, while up-and-comers like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails were bringing industrial sounds to the mainstream on MTV. Nitzer Ebb began in 1982 and established themselves throughout the decade as an Electronic Body Music (EBM) pillar, but when 90s arrives the band pivoted to a more pop sound, and on 1991's Ebbhead, the band fully embraced pop structure and sound, crafting catchy hooks at trimmed down lengths. But that evolution, while moderately successful in getting the band on mainstream rock radio, didn't necessarily sit well with the fans who discovered the band during their EBM period.

 

Songs In This Episode

 

Intro - Reasons

12:52 - I Give To You

15:09 - Lakeside Drive

18:57 - Godhead

28:00 - Family Man

Outro - Sugar Sweet

 

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#480: Sophomore Slump Revisited - American Highway Flower by Dada

#480: Sophomore Slump Revisited - American Highway Flower by Dada

March 24, 2020

As we have learned in our Sophomore Slump Revisited roundtable series, there are many factors and circumstances that can sink a band's second album, especially when coming off a hit single. In the case of Dada and their 1994 release American Highway Flower, the lack of an obvious radio single to match Dizz Knee Land off their debut is a fair consideration. Rather than repeat a formula, the skilled trio of singer-guitarist Michael Gurley, singer-bassist Joie Calio and drummer Phil Leavitt pushed the band in a variety of directions while maintaining a more consistent sound than their first release. But pushing the envelope doesn't always result in a match with the cultural trends, and while the band flexes their muscle with harmonious power-pop and '60s psychedelic flourishes while unafraid to get extra noisy or delicately hushed. They may not have scored a Top 5 single or moved a million units with American Highway Flower, but that doesn't mean this sophomore release qualifies as a slump.

 

Songs In This Episode:

 

Intro - All I Am

13:11 - Feet To The Sun

17:22 - Feel Me Don't You

23:00 - Real Soon

30:35 - S.F. Bar '63

Outro - Pretty Girls Make Graves

 

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#479: Choochtown by Hamell On Trial

#479: Choochtown by Hamell On Trial

March 17, 2020

Edward James "Ed" Hamell, better know as Hamell On Trial, has been writing, recording, and touring for over thirty years, bouncing from major labels to minor labels to his own, with either a studio or live album out almost every other year. While production values have shifted, the fiery anti-folk and spoken word approach has remained constant, and his 1999 album is definitely on the lower end of the recording quality spectrum. That doesn't impact the performances or songs, as Hamell On Trial makes stunning use of his Gibson acoustic guitar, plucking out staccato rhythms on one track before leading a dirty blues romp on the next. All of it adds up to a uniquely singular performance and vision, one that can definitely split opinions on what worked and didn't work.

 

Songs In This Episode:

 

Intro - Hamell's Ramble

17:56 - I'm Gonna Watch You Sleep

24:07 - The Lottery

28:10 - Nancy's Got a New Boyfriend

35:18 - When Bobby Comes Down

46:30 - Shout Outs

Outro - Bill Hicks

 

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Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.

 

#478: LP2 by Sunny Day Real Estate

#478: LP2 by Sunny Day Real Estate

March 10, 2020

Sunny Day Real Estate has famously been a band of influence but impermanence, with multiple break-ups and rumors of an unfinished album in the can for over a decade. On their second release, the 1995 self-titled or Pink Album or LP2, vocalist/guitarist/lyricist Jeremy Enigk left unfinished vocals as placeholders as the band splintered. What it creates is something unique, while words or phrases pop in occasion, the majority of the record utilizes the vocals as an instrument in a way that a band like My Bloody Valentine features vocalist Bilinda Butcher. But what makes SDRE special is the contributions from all four members - who each get their moment to shine in a way that recalls 1970s progressive rock without overly-long world-building and self-indulgence.

 

Songs In This Episode

 

Intro - Red Elephant

16:38 - Rodeo Jones

22:45 - 5/4

30:36 - 8

Outro - J'Nuh

 

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Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.

 

#477: Caviar by Caviar

#477: Caviar by Caviar

March 3, 2020

So many bands got signed to major labels in the 1990s it could keep our podcast going well into the 22nd century. Rarely did artists get a second go-around as a new act, as was the case with vocalist Blake Smith and bassist Mike Willison after the breakup of their band Fig Dish. After recruiting a new guitarist and drummer, they formed Caviar and in 2000 released their self-titled debut on Island Records. While Smith's catchy melodies are still present, the band takes advantage of their second major-label chance by adding a variety of samples, including a bossa nova intro on the single "Tangerine Speedo." The band tries to walk a thin line between the quirky pop sounds of Sugar Ray, Smashmouth or Cake, the more aggressive pop-punk guitar of bands like Blink-182 or Weezer.

 

Songs In This Episode:

 

Intro - Tangerine Speedo

19:42 - OK Nightmare

22:09 - I Am The Monument

26:13 - Goldmine

30:39 - Looked So Hard I Nearly Wrecked My Eyes

Outro - Sugarless

 

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#476: R.E.M. In The 90s Roundtable

#476: R.E.M. In The 90s Roundtable

February 25, 2020

Lots of bands were successful in the 90s, but few reached the decade long highs and success that R.E.M. managed while constantly shifting their sound. Perhaps only U2 matched the same levels of critical acclaim and pushback, album sales and slumps, turmoil and triumph of R.E.M., conquering not only their home countries but stadiums around the globe. In our past "In The 90s" episodes, we've looked back at bands that first gained success and notoriety in the 1980s and traced their path through the alternative landscape of the 1990s, but it could be said that R.E.M. was leading the charge of the underground into the mainstream long before anyone else. As they entered the 90s, they were no longer college radio upstarts, but MTV and commercial radio regulars who would shoot through the stratosphere with "Losing My Religion" of 1991's Out Of Time. The rest of the decade would see them tackle everything from fuzzed-out 1970s glam rock to minimalist programmed beats to Beach Boys-esque harmonies. In other words, they evolved, but in doing so, did they lose the sound that made them stand out in the first place? We revisit the decade with a group of knowledgable R.E.M. fans who walk us through an often exciting and occasionally perplexing decade for the band.

 

Songs In This Episode:

 

Intro Medley - Losing My Religion/Everybody Hurts/What's The Frequency, Kenneth?/Bittersweet Me/Daysleeper

18:15 - Country Feedback from Out Of Time

28:45 - Drive from Automatic For The People

42:36 - Star 69 from Monster

55:02 - The Wake Up Bomb from New Adventures In Hi-Fi

1:09:53 - At My Most Beautiful

Outro - Man On The Moon from Automatic For The People

 

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Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.

 

#475: Satisfied Mind by The Walkabouts

#475: Satisfied Mind by The Walkabouts

February 18, 2020

Among the many signings by the legendary Sub Pop label in the 1980s and 1990s, a few bands get tagged with "the first" label. The Afghan Whigs were the first band from outside region to be signed to the label, and in the case of this week's episode, The Walkabouts were the first country (or folk, or Americana, or alt-country) band to be signed to the label. Core members vocalist Carla Torgerson and vocalist/songwriter Chris Eckman started playing together in 1984, and by the time of their sixth album Satisfied Mind released in 1993, the band had built up quite a following and list of friends in the area. Guests include Mark Lanegan of the Screaming Trees, Peter Buck of R.E.M., and Ivan Kral of the Patti Smith Band, who all manage to blend into this uniquely timeless sound channeling some expected artists (The Carter Family, Gene Clark, Charlie Rich) and some more unexpected choices (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, John Cale, Patti Smith) that all sound seamless together.

 

Songs In This Episode

 

Intro - Satisfied Mind

15:09 - Free Money

20:51 - Buffalo Ballet

23:53 - Feel Like Going Home

28:44 - Dear Darling

Outro - Loom Of The Land

 

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Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.

 

#474: 100 Broken Windows by Idlewild

#474: 100 Broken Windows by Idlewild

February 11, 2020

You may ask yourself, why is a 90s-centric podcast revisiting an album from 2000? Well, we are nothing without our listeners, and if they suggest and then vote for an album that came out in 2000, but was from a band that got their start and had several releases in the 90s, who are we to argue. And it turns out revisiting Idlewild's 2000 album 100 Broken Windows gave us an excellent opportunity to look back upon the decade and see how its various sounds and genres were interpreted by younger artists. In the case of Idlewild, with veteran producers Dave Eringa and Bob Weston behind the board for the young band meant channeling the volume and chaos of their earlier releases into a weapon to be deployed skillfully, giving the band a blistering edge and allowing vocalist Roddy Woomble the opportunity to craft unique earworm melodies. It may not make the top 100 albums of the decade or the year, but there's a case to be made for 100 Broken Windows as one of the finest distillations of everything that went right musically in the 90s.

Songs In This Episode

 

Intro - Little Discourage

19:45 - Idea Track

24:26 - Roseability

29:52 - Mistake Pageant

Outro - These Wooden Ideas

 

 

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Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.
#473: Red And Clear by Giants Chair

#473: Red And Clear by Giants Chair

February 4, 2020

It took twenty-three years for Giants Chair to follow-up their 1996 sophomore album Purity And Control with the 2019 album Prefabylon, which we discussed briefly in our 2019 New Albums Roundtable. Though we've covered plenty of 90s bands reuniting a decade or two later to make new records, prior to Prefabylon Giants Chair weren't on our radar. Thanks to one of Patreon patrons we got the chance to revisit this Kansas City, Missouri band's 1995 debut. While the post-punk math-rock sounds fit nicely into our previously expressed admiration for bands such as Jawbox, Shudder To Think and Quicksand, as well as the neighboring Shiner, we didn't expect to unearth a local scene that included Season To Risk, Molly McGuire, Boys Life, and others all dishing out their own versions of angular guitars, tricky rhythms, and indie/emo vocals. Perhaps a Digging Your Scene episode is in the future, but on this one, we got to dive into this three-piece and their unique take on mid-90s post-punk.

 

Songs In This Episode:

 

Intro - Gunshot And The Jogger

11:55 - New Orleans

24:03 - Mother Brother Sister Lover

26:31 - Weed Roses

Outro - Semi

 

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Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.

 

#472: Albums of 1990 Roundtable

#472: Albums of 1990 Roundtable

January 28, 2020

1990 is a strange, contradictory year for music. How else do you explain alternative and underground bands like Jane's Addiction, Concrete Blonde, Faith No More and The B-52's taking up regular MTV rotation slots next to MC Hammer, Warrant, Paula Abdul and Vanilla Ice? There's a good chance you saw They Might Be Giant's "Birdhouse In Your Soul" right after Billy Idol's "Cradle of Love," or "We Die Young" by Alice Chains on the same Headbanger's Ball episode as "Unskinny Bop" by Poison. What we're saying is, there was a lot going on, and we attempt an overview of some of the most interesting overlooked, under-appreciated, and influential albums of the year.

 

Songs In This Episode:

 

Intro - Stop! by Jane's Addiction

10:46 - Graveyard Shift by Uncle Tupelo

24:15 - Is She Weird by Pixies

36:12 - There You Are by Goo Goo Dolls

47:41 - Candy by Iggy Pop

Outro - Cliffs Of Dover by Eric Johnson

 

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Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.