Especially during the '80s, the Boston music scene delivered an array of quality guitar rock, ranging from the new wave-oriented pop music of 'Til Tuesday to the post-punk of Mission of Burma and ultimately the groundbreaking alternative rock of The Pixies. Many more examples certainly exist, some of which have previously found their way gracefully and at long last into this weekly feature. On this occasion, I choose to stop and marvel at an early indie rock band called Big Dipper, a group made up of veterans of the Boston music scene who served in the likewise little-known but worthy outfits Volcano Suns and The Embarrassment. This is fine jagged guitar pop that manages to careen on the wings of sonic chaos even as it embraces the gentle melodies and pleasant vocal harmonies of college rock and its stylish late-'80s subgenre called jangle pop.
The lead vocals of frontman Bill Goffrier on the 1987 single "All Going Out Together" are charming enough to have helped the track become a welcome hit on the pop landscape of the late '80s. Unfortunately, though, cruel fate and the overwhelming dominion of hair metal at the time firmly prevented that scenario from becoming reality. That's certainly too bad for those of us who did their fair share of listening to clearly inferior versions of guitar pop at the time, but I suppose that also makes it partly our fault. I'll gladly take that kind of blame if it means I get to enjoy and sing the praises of this music today, and the pleasure, let me tell you, is all on my side of the computer screen. Except for the music-lover joy you'll surely get if you heed my passionate recommendation - or the feeling of superiority you can cling to if you already know about this music and have been spreading the word for decades by now. Whatever the case, I'm confident that the "gem" description is an apt one.
- Sample or download "All Going Out Together" here.
- Compare prices on Big Dipper CDs here.
- Top '80s U.S. Music Scenes
- Jangle Pop Genre Profile
Album Cover Image Courtesy of Homestead Records