The Dagtrippers


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1987)

- Devin Hall -- vocals, guitar, tambourine

- Mogo MItchell -- drums, percussion

- Doug Roberson -- vocals, guitar

- Scott Stecklein -- bass

 

  line up 2 (1987-1991)

NEW - Mark Bruggeman -- drums, percussion, backing vocals 

  (replaced Mogo Mitchell)

- Devin Hall -- vocals, guitar, tambourine

- Doug Roberson -- vocals, guitar

- Scott Stecklein -- bass

 

 

  supporting musicians: (1987)

- Ken Goodman -- keyboards

 

  line up 2 (1991)

- Mark Bruggeman -- drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Doug Roberson -- vocals, guitar

- Scott Stecklein -- bass

NEW - Pat White -- vocals, guitar (replaced Devin Hall)

 

 

 

 

- The Bent Scepters (Doug Roberson, Scott Stecklein and 

  Pat White))

- Bog Drama (Pat White)

- Chronic Love (Mark Bruggeman)

- The Diplomats of Solid Sound (Doug Roberson)

- Devin Hall (solo efforts)

- Head Candy (Doug Roberson)

- Lucky Me (Mark Bruggeman)

- The Mandrakes (Devin Hall)

- Doug Roberson and the Swarays

- The Shy Strangers (Doug Roberson and Scott Stecklein)

- Stars  (Devin Hall)

- Swinger  (Doug Roberson)

- The Third Man (Pat White)

- Twelve Thirty Dreamtime (Mark Bruggeman)

- Voodoo Gearshift (Mark Bruggeman)

- Wayout Lane (Devin Hall)

 

 

 


 

Genre: power-pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:   Days Between Stations

Company: Dog Gone

Catalog: DOG 005
Year:
 1987

Country/State: Iowa City, Iowa

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $25.00

 

Formed in Iowa City, Iowa, The Dangtrippers featuring the talents of drummer Mogo MItchell (quickly replaced by Mark Bruggeman), singers/guitarists Devin Hall and Doug Roberson and bassist Scott Stecklein.  Starting their collaboration in 1987, the quartet made their recording debut with a three track EP on the Iowa City-based South East Records label. Produced by Tom Tatman, "Incantation" the  three track EP introduced the band's unexpected brand of jangle rock.  To my ears their sound recalled a mash-up of classic Byrds and '80s material rolling out of Athens, Georgia.  Think along the lines of Roger McGuinn, Don DIxon, Mitch Easter, Love Tracker,  R.E.M. and you'll be in the right aural neighborhood.  

"Incantation"

(side 1)

1.) Incantation   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) -   

 

(side 2)

1.) Big Fear   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 

2.) Girl Who Knew Tomorrow   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 

 

 

 

 

The R.E.M. comparison was interesting given Jefferson Holt, who happened to be R.E.M.'s manager, promptly signed the band to his small Dog Gone label.   Released later in the year, the band continued their collaboration with producer Tatman on their LP debut "Days Between Stations."  Like the debut EP, the album showcased the songwriting team of Hall and Robertson on a collection of likeable, if slightly unoriginal jangle-rockers.  That's not to imply these guys weren't impressive in their own fashion.  This was one of those rare albums where all thirteen tracks had something to recommend them.  True it wasn't a particularly varied set, but it you were into The Byrds, Tom Petty, or R.E.M. this was going to be a massive treat.  There really wasn't a bad performance across these two sides, making it hard to pick favorites. Still, if pushed to come up with a top-three list I'd go with the single 'Masquerade', the aching ballad 'Reason Why' and the blazing 'Half Your Age.'  The sound was surprisingly crisp and my only complaint came from the fact these tracks were just too short.  'Maxwell's Demon Box' was the only tune to clock in at over three minutes.

 

For anyone interested, there's a small Dangtrippers Facebook page at: The Dangtrippers | Facebook

 

"Days Between Stations" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) When Time Runs Out   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:18   rating: **** stars

Perhaps the album's tauntest rocker, 'When Time Runs Out' was a great opener.  Yeah it was a jangle-rocker, but with a touch of Big Star energy, the hard-rock edge wasn't a true reflection of their overarching sound.  And like everyone of these tunes, the song was simply too short.

2.) Maxwell's Demon Box   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 3:16

3.) Masquerade   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:46   rating: **** stars

With a glistening melody, jangle guitars and Hill and Roberson sharing lead vocals, it was easy to see why 'Masquerade' was tapped as the album's leadoff single.  Sweet ear-candy that should have been a big hit (had anyone been listening).

 

 

 

 

- 1987's 'Masquerade' b/w 'Lovers Again' (Dog Gone catalog number DOG 0005-7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Sitting on the Doorstep   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:21

5.) Talk About Love   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:45

6.) Nehru   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:21

7.) Days on the Roof   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 1:22

 

(side 2)
1.) 
Jack Knife  (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:41   rating: **** stars

To my ears the rocker 'Jack Knife' has always sounded a bit like prime Michael Stipe and R.E.M. with an anger management problem. With a dark vocal and a jagged, ominous, and cluttered melody it was the song the furthest from their typical jangle-rock sound.  The backward tape closing section was just plain weird.   YouTube has a low-tech promotional clip for the song at: The Dangtrippers - Jack Knife (1989) - YouTube  

 

In 1990 the song was also released as part of a four track UK EP (Rocket 5 catalog number HUCS 104T)

(side 1)

1.) Jack Knife (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 

2.) Head Hunter (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 

 

(side 2)

1.) Piper Laurie (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 

2.) The Capture of Bridget Purcell (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 

 

 

 

 

2.) Freudian Slip   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:18

3.) Reasons Why   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:18   rating: **** stars

One of the album's most commercial jangle-rockers, 'Reasons Why' sported a great little guitar riff with Hill's vocals giving the tune adistinctive English feel.  It would have been a wonderful single.  In fact, once again the only negative is the song was too short.

4.) Half Your Age    (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:32   rating: **** stars

Propelled by Scott Stecklein's churning bass line, 'Half Your Age' offered up a near-perfect blend melodic jangle rock guitars, Hill's laconic voice, sweet harmony vocals and bittersweet lyrics.  Ahh the pain f having a young girlfriend ...   Again, shame the song was so short.

5.) Someone New   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 1:00

6.) Legerdmain   (Devin Hill - Doug Roberson) - 2:22

 

 

Outside of Iowa the album attracted little attention  - well it didn't really attract a lot of attention in Iowa either.  Devin Hill subsequently called it quits and was replaced by singer/guitarist Pat White in time for their second and equally obscure LP - 1991's "Transparent Blue Illusion."

 

 

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