From the Cut-out Bin

I’m back. Using up weeks of accumulated vacation time (use it or lose it… which I’ve no intention of doing) and an increased work load when I have been at work  leave me precious little time for writing this blog.

For the seeable future my time will continue to be limited but I have no intentions of ending this blog. Because I don’t have the time to do the “research” I normally would do I am changing the blogs format to a slightly more bare bones approach.

While on vacation I always manage to check out the local record store(s) and usually manage to find something worth (at least to me) buying.

I found these two albums at Shore Things while vacationing in Ocean City, NJ. After Hurricane Sandy passed through there earlier this week I wonder if it’s still there on the boardwalk.

What’s interesting about these albums is that both albums were that group’s final release.

Even with their pedigree and “impeccable indie credentials” Boston’s Big Dipper never quite managed to live up to expectations.  

Big Dipper  was formed in 1985 by former Volcano Suns members, guitarist Gary Waleik and bassist Steve Michener. The other band members included former Mission of Burma drummer and vocalist Peter Prescott, singer/guitarist Bill Goffrier, formerly of Lawrence, KS-based indie pioneers the Embarrassment and drummer Jeff Oliphant, formerly of Dumptruck.

Recorded at, the soon-to-be-famous, Fort Apache Studios, 1987’s Boo-Boo EP, with it’s killer opening track,“Faith Healer”,  was critically received by both the local and national indie scenes. That year also saw the release of the full length Heavens. A

synthesis of sunny power pop, neo-psychedelia, and indie rock angst

 Heavens met with critical  acclaim and would eventually prove to be

one of the finest American indie albums of its era.

Signing with Epic Records, 1990’s Slam,  was Big Dipper’s major label debut. In a pattern, too often repeated, when an Indie band signed with a major label, the label always tried, usually unsuccessfully, to change that band’s sound. This was true with Slam. Slam suffers from slick over production, an

intrusive brass sections and an over emphasis on the rhythm section.

Demoralized by Slam’s lack of commercial and critical success the group broke up shortly after it’s release.

But for all it’s flaws the album still warrants a listen, if only because it still far better then many of the albums released at that time.

Los Angeles quartet  Possum Dixon formed around 1990 and took their band name from

a suspected murderer mentioned on America’s Most Wanted.

(You just can’t make this sort of thing up.)

Comprised of vocalist and bassist Rob Zabrecky, guitarist  Celso Chavez, drummer Richard Treuel and Robert O’Sullivan on electric piano, the band’s music

chronicles slacker life in its hometown with driving, edgy pop-rock that updates new wave bands like the Attractions, Yachts and Wall of Voodoo.

Their full length debut , the self titled Possum Dixon, was released in 1993 and while it didn’t

 stretch any musical boundaries …the band’s songwriting skill and raw energy make up for that.

1996’s Star Maps was “recorded as a trio with revolving drummers.” Stylistically a more mature effort then it’s predecessor it does, however, lack some of that album’s raw energy.

Big Dipper / Slam (1990) Possum Dixon / Star Maps (1996)
Playing Time: 42:38 Playing Time: 42:27
Big Dipper-Slam Possum Dixon-Starmaps
  • Love Barge 3:34
  • The Bond 2:14
  • Another Life 2:09
  • Slam 2:52
  • Bony Knees Of Nothing 3:32
  • Baby Blue 3:45
  • Picnic 2:27
  • The Monsters Of Jazz 2:41
  • Impossible Things 3:01
  • Blood Pact 2:15
  • Father’s Day 2:37
  • Baby Doll 3:54
  • Life Inside The Cemetery 4:09
  • All The Way From Memphis 3:28
  • Go West 3:03
  • In Her Disco 2:43
  • Radio Comets 4:19
  • Party Tonight 3:52
  • Emergency’s About To End 2:36
  • General Electric 2:39
  • Crashing Your Planet 3:01
  • Personals 4:40
  • Reds 2:07
  • Skid Marks 2:19
  • Artificial Sunlight 3:15
  • Apartment Song 7:53

Buy Slam from

Buy Star Maps from

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