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Steve Peake

This Week's Forgotten Gem of the '80s - Dumptruck - "Hung Out on a Line"

By September 9, 2013

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dumptruck.pngI almost decided this week to postpone what was clearly an inevitable eventual spotlight on this Boston-based college rock band simply because I've recently focused on several bands that hailed from that same fertile early alternative music scene. But sometimes it's more than excusable to return to the same well - particularly when the nectar is this sweet. Therefore, I bring the focus today to one of the finest guitar rock songs of the '80s, a standout from Dumptruck's premature swan song album, 1987's For the Country.

"Hung Out on a Line" features many unforgettable elements, including a deliberate, sumptuous jangle pop shuffle to be savored as well as some beautifully melancholy vocals from frontman Seth Tiven. The absence of founding member Kirk Swan for this record was certainly unfortunate, but Tiven managed to complete the band's catalogue with some of his best songs of all. This tune begs for repeat listens - from its initial, inventive guitar riff to the obvious influence it had on the rise of solid power pop-oriented, '90s alternative bands like Boston's own Buffalo Tom as well as other major American groups ranging from The Posies to Fountains of Wayne. But Dumptruck was clearly one of the first and finest of a healthy crop of ragged guitar pop bands that helped prevent alternative music from too quickly becoming more of a pose and attitude than a substantive music-based phenomenon.

Album Cover Image Courtesy of Big Time Records

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