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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Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.

 

#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

 

Support the podcast, join the DMO UNION at Patreon.

Listen to the episode archive at DigMeOutPodcast.com.