Dinosaur Pile-Up @ 191 Toole

Dinosaur Pile-Up

Dinosaur Pile-Up are a British alt-rock band led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Bigland, whose riffy, grunge-inspired sound has earned comparisons to Nirvana and Foo Fighters. Following a handful of smaller releases, they issued a pair of well-received, hard-rocking albums in 2010's Growing Pains and its 2013 follow-up, Nature Nurture. Although Dinosaur Pile-Up's on-stage personnel has fluctuated over the years, the consistency of their studio sound was a result of Bigland playing every instrument on many of their recordings. However, by 2014 they'd settled on a lineup that included ex-Brownies drummer Mike Sheils and Bigland's longtime friend and former Tribes bassist Jim Cratchley, who appeared on later records like their 2019 Parlophone debut Celebrity Mansions.
The Most Powerful EP in the Universe Founded in in Leeds in 2007 as Bigland's post-Mother Vulpine solo project, Dinosaur Pile-Up emerged from that city's alternative rock scene and soon drew comparisons to U.S. college rock and grunge acts from the previous decade. The band's playful name derived from a scene in the 2005 remake of King Kong, where Apatosauruses are ambushed and clatter into a pile, or as Bigland interpreted it, a "dinosaur pile-up." Their 2009 breakthrough release, The Most Powerful EP in the Universe!!, was a five-track record of up-front and in-your-face rock songs, with huge riffs injected into both "Opposites Attract" and "Beach Bug." Many were quick to draw attention to the band's similarity to Nirvana and the alt-rock of Foo Fighters, and the stand-alone single "Traynor," from the same year, is a burning example of the grunge revival sound for which they are noted. Their frenzied live performances during this period saw word spread quickly of their presence on the thriving Leeds music scene. Original members Tom Dornford-May (bass) and Steve Wilson (drums) were also present for a prestigious late-2009 tour with the Pixies, but it was the departure of those players that inspired Bigland's next move.
Weezer [Blue Album] Growing Pains, the debut Dinosaur Pile-Up full-length, was released in October 2010. It was the result of Bigland spending two months holed up in his Bridlington-based studio, recording every instrument himself -- drums, guitars, and vocals -- with the help of local alt-rock enthusiast James Kenosha on production duties. Echoing the efforts of Dave Grohl on Foo Fighters' debut album, he crafted the record in much the same way as his hero. The record's brilliance was in its simplicity, as displayed on the singles "Mona Lisa" and "My Rock & Roll," which burst with chugging guitars and pop-tinged choruses. Following the album's sessions, drummer Mike Sheils and bass player Harry Johns soon entered the fray in time for a full tour of the U.K. Sheils and Bigland had bonded over a shared love of Weezer's Blue Album, and this lineup stood the test of extensive tours of Europe between 2011 and 2013.
Eleven Eleven Back in the studio, Bigland once again took sole responsibility for recording duties in preparation of a second album, 2013's Nature Nurture. This time around, producers Ian Davenport and Tom Dalgety assisted with the sessions, which took place over a two-month period at both Rockfield Studios in Wales and Courtyard Studios in Oxford. By the time the record had started to raise their profile in the U.S. -- upon its release there in early 2014 -- Cratchley had joined on bass, and the band proceeded with its biggest stateside tour to date (in support of Long Island's Brand New) before Nature Nurture saw a Japanese release. By year's end, Dinosaur Pile-Up were already teasing their next album, posting photos from studio sessions which Dalgety was again producing. Preceded once again by a Japanese-only EP, 11:11, the full-length Eleven Eleven album saw limited release in Europe and Japan in October of 2015 with a global release almost a year later. Following several years of touring, the band signed with Parlophone and announced the impending release of their fourth album, Celebrity Mansions with the release of the track "Thrash Metal Cassette" in March 2019.

BRKN LOVE

Lines still stretch around the block at clubs, warehouses, and theaters on a nightly basis worldwide. Amplifiers still blare out of suburban garages everywhere. Guitars, drums, and bass still translate the emotion and energy of a generation better than anything. No matter what prevailing opinion may be, rock music still maintains its foothold just behind the pop culture curtain—as if in the wings waiting to return.
BRKN LOVE carry on this tradition, while evolving it. Toronto singer and guitarist Justin Benlolo envisions a fresh future for the genre on the band’s 2019 full-length debut for Spinefarm Records produced by Joel Hamilton [Highly Suspect, Pretty Lights].
“When I first thought about starting a band, it needed all of the elements of rock ‘n’ roll that I respond to—big guitars, big drums, and big vocals,” he explains. “I didn’t want it to be too complex. It had to be something everybody could digest in a short and sweet format. It’s alternative, but it’s also heavy. I try to get right to the point. There are so many of these kids still showing up to shows and moshing to real rock music. That’s refreshing. There’s still a place for something authentic. That’s what I want to provide.”
Born and raised in Canada, Justin cut his teeth by obsessing over the likes of Soundgarden and Led Zeppelin in his youth, while learning how to write music. With the advent of bands such as Royal Blood and Highly Suspect, he recognized the potential for a “different kind of band—that’s not too macho and slick, but edgy enough for the punks.” Justin started tracking demos for BRKN LOVE and shortly after determined that Joel Hamilton was the perfect producer. Joel responded to the tracks by inviting him to Brooklyn to record at Studio G. Together, they cut the 13 tracks that would comprise the album as the band landed a deal with Spinefarm Records after a New York showcase.
Recorded live to tape in the studio, the sound preserves “a raw, real, and alive” feeling in the riffing tempered by “relatable and emotional lyrics.”
Now, the first single “Shot Down” hinges on thick guitars before Justin’s howling takes hold. It seesaws between dirty blues verses and a skyscraping refrain as he chants, “Landslide, shaking the crowd…Shot down in the bottom of a valley!”
Written at the infamous Mate’s Studio in North Hollywood, CA, it captures all of the seedy, glorious grit of the San Fernando Valley.
“It’s got a lot of sexual innuendos,” he goes on. “On the contrary, it can be interpreted as a massive disaster song. There’s a landslide shaking the ground, and we’re in the middle of the valley. The world’s ending as we’re playing away. You could also interpret as about a girl.”
The airy harmonies and syncopated riffs of “I Can’t Lie” take dead aim at West Coast fakery and “friends who stabbed me in the back for no reason” with a hypnotic and heartfelt chorus. Everything culminates on “In Your Hands,” which slides from a clean intro towards a wall of fuzz and his most impressive vocal performance. The latter serves as “an ode to life that we’re going to ride the universe’s wave without worrying.”
In the end, BRKN LOVE represent a new era for rock music that’s as powerful as it is emotional.
“The name represents who I am,” Justin leaves off. “You can honestly be a hopeless romantic and play tough music. Most of the lyrics deal with love and loss. That’s the vibe. You can share your feelings and still rock your face off at the end of the day. It’s what I’m going to do.”

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