Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Homestead comeback kids Big Dipper and avant-noise pioneer Pita.
Listed: Big Dipper + Pita
Big Dipper’s Top 10 Fave Bands to Share a Bill With
Boston’s Big Dipper came and went faster than you can look up “asterism.” The foursome of Embarrassment guitarist Bill Goffrier, former Volcano Suns members Gary Waleik and Steve Michener, and drummer Jon Oliphant came together to make a handful of records in 1987 and 1988 for the venerable Homestead label, but burned out when charmed by a major label in 1990. Almost two decades later, Merge has released Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology, a three-disc resurrection including EP Boo-Boo, albums Heavens and Craps, and a slew of unreleased bonus tracks and demos entitled Very Loud Array. The group is celebrating their renewed popularity with a series of shows next weekend:
April 24 - Hoboken, New Jersey (Maxwell’s)
April 25 - Brooklyn, New York (Southpaw)
April 26 - Cambridge, Massachusetts (The Middle East)
Waleik took part in this week’s Listed.
1. Camper Van Beethoven
Not only a great band, but great people as well. David, David, Jonathan, Greg, Morgan (long sigh), Chris and Victor were a blast to be with on the road. Plus, we learned a lot about Algebraic and Combinatorial Theory of Lattices just from hanging with them in dressing rooms. It's funny that these super-intellectual math monsters ended up playing music in places like Tuscaloosa and Moline instead of working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Maybe they did in their spare time, and we just didn’t know about it.
2. Husker Du
It's hard now to imagine how Dipper's nerd rock worked as an opener to a band that sounded like a jet engine that was screaming all its rage out at the world, but I guess it did. Bob, Greg and Grant were Dudes with a capital "D" in the largest possible font. Bob Mould once let me use his amp, because my solid state Peavey Pacer was busted. Then I knew what it was like to control that jet engine sound. I'm still recovering. Could Grant’s “Songs About UFOs” have been about Big Dipper? Hmmm…
3. Bob Mould
One of the reasons I wanted Big Dipper to get bigger was that I wanted the power to choose bands we toured with, the way Bob Mould so admirably did. It was a privilege to play in front of a few thousand of his fans at theaters. And, again, the Nice Guy Factor was off the charts.
4. The Replacements
What was it about Minneapolis bands and Big Dipper? Our drummer, Jeff Oliphant, found a soul mate in Tommy Stinson, probably because of their shared interest in garish trousers, moppy hairdos and fun. When we'd open for the 'Mats, Paul Westerberg would sit front row center at our sound checks and tap his foot to the beat. I think 'Mr. Woods' was a fave of his.
I remember having a conversation with someone during one of the two or three shows at which the Pixies opened for us, and saying "Gosh, it really won't be long before they blow our doors off and conquer the world". Gosh, it really wasn't long before they blew our doors off and conquered the world.
I kinda thought Antietam sounded like what Big Dipper would’ve sounded like if Big Dipper hadn’t been totally averse to loud guitar jams. And maybe if Big Dipper had a female singer and two bass players, one of whom was named Wolf.
Pals of ours from way back, and a really underappreciated band. We loved always having the option of calling Michael Cudahy up on stage during encores, draping our guitars on him and watching the one-man, multi-stringed show.
8. Shonen Knife
Cute as an Ice Cream City and probably the best band I’ve ever seen at wrapping the audience around their pinkies.
9. The Mekons
Our first show was with The Mekons (May 1986 at The Rat), and it was great to play with our heroes. Jon Langford pronounced the name of our band “Bib Dibbers.”
10. The Reivers
Funny how seven out of these 10 bands had women in them. The Reivers had two! Fun people, great band and John Croslin’s recordings of Spoon are amazing. That has nothing to do with Big Dipper, but that had to be expressed here.
Peter Rehberg is one of the foremost figures in the world of computer music. For those unfamiliar with his work as Pita and as founder of the Austrian record label Mego (recently retitled Editions Mego), we’re not talking tepid “electronica” here. Rehberg designs alternatingly abrasive and ambient pieces of music using an assortment of samples and programs, with a few stompers mixed in for good measure. Ever since his debut full-length Seven Tons for Free (which won the Prix Ars Electronica for distinction in digital music in 1999), Rehberg has been mining his own glitch. His albums have captured the innards of refrigerators, the idiocy of dancefloors and the intricacy of classical music. Lately, he’s been collaborating with Sunn0)))’s Stephen O’Malley as KTL, a doom-drone tangent that originally started as a Dennis Cooper soundtrack project but has taken on a life of its own. The duo are performing at performances of Cooper and Gisèle Vienne’s Kindertotenlieder at the Theatre de la Bastile in Paris, France from April 24-29, in at the Teatro de la Laboral in Gijon, Spain on May 3-4, and at Rhiz in Vienna, Austria on May 7. Rehberg’s second album Get Out is getting the reissue treatment on May 13 on Editions Mego.
1. Bruce Gilbert - This Way (1984)
Of the countless releases within and around Wire, this is my favorite. The atmosphere is grey like kettle boiling in slow motion. This got me interested in music for choreographic works.
2. Boyd Rice & Frank Tovey - Easy Listening For The Hard Of Hearing (1981)
Of course it's nowhere near as extreme as the title suggests. Made just before Mute hit it big with Depeche, this represented the two extremes of the label at the time: harsh noise and pure pop. The tracks are seminal workouts of studio trickery. Live, the duo would kill the room, but here the detail shines through.
3. Swans - Cop (1984)
And the accompanying EP Raping A Slave, which was cut at 45rpm,, meaning you could slow it down to 33rpm. I had a turntable that played 16rpm. making it the perfect soundtrack for watching suburbia melt. Live the Swans were stunning as well. If you wanted to clear a room....
4. Basic Channel - BC-03 (1993)
If you want minimal techno, just get the 9 Basic Channel 12s. Such was the cult surrounding these discs upon release that some poor chap whose copy I grabbed from the local store still holds a death wish against me.
5. Einstürzende Neubauten - Zeichnungen Des Paitenten O.T. (1983)
Soundtrack to delivering newspapers on a council estate after dark.
6. Mark Stewart + Maffia - As The Veneer Of Democracy Starts To Fade (1985)
It doesn't get more screwed up than the twisted mess of "Bastards." I remember seeing the Maffia and Swans on the same bill. All the things I like about music crammed into one evening's worth of entertainment.
7. Ø - Rontgen (1993)
I was fortunate to hear this in a club first. Of all the unique sounds coming out of techno, this and all the early Sähkö 12s were the best. So sharp and clean like a good shot of vodka, and at the time shrouded in mystery. Just a silver sleeve with a pattern of holes going straight the cover and record.
8. Earth - Earth 2 (1992)
I loved this, but when it came out everyone hated it. I was working in a record store and people would bring it back like a modern day Metal Machine Music. Funny to see the same people queueing at the merch stand at a Sunn O))) gig.
9. New Order - Blue Monday (1983)
Legend has it that Factory lost 50p on each copy because of the cover. I actually made money on this. A very popular tune then that was not in all the stores. Kids in my class wanted to get it, they'd give £2, and the record cost £1.50. 1983 was a good year.
10. Autechre - Garbage (1994)
My favorite Ae record.
By Dusted Magazine