Thursday, October 2, 2008

Drill Team - Hope and Dream Explosion (Reprise, 1998)

"Drill Team is a post-grunge alternative band formed in Los Angeles in the mid-'90s by San Jose natives Michael Long (vocals, guitar) and Jeff Watson (bass) upon the latter's leaving Lutefisk.  They were joined by drummer Apollo Strange and, at first, guitar Chris Etzler; Etzler left in 1995 and was replaced by Timothy LaRue.  Drill Team signed with Reprise and released a self-titled debut in late 1996; it was followed in 1998 by their first full length album, Hope and Dream Explosion, which was recorded with noted producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley." (

Most reviews for Hope and Dream Explosion gave the band a hard time for being bland and unoriginal - and I can't say that I disagree (check out the Pitchfork review for an example of this). That said, Drill Team could write a radio-worthy chorus with the best of them. Certainly one of the great should-have-beens of the era. 

Listen @ MySpace 
Buy @ iTunes


e said...

wow man, good find, as usual.

do you per chance have soulseek?

jon sutton said...

Man, so good to see. This band was one of my absolute favorites of the mid/late 90's. I was coming off a heavy bender of the Posies "frosting on the beater" and Jellyfish "spilt milk" and this long player hit the spot. I was fortunate to see the band twice in what must've been 95 or 96. They were touring semi-financed by the Redhook brewery of Seattle. During and in between the shows in Grand Rapids, MI and Chicago, I got to spend some time with the guys. the design and sound was brilliant albeit somewhat ahead of the times and certainly not suitable for rock radio which was enduring quite possibly it's worst moments since hair metal (Seven Mary Three, Presidents of the USA, Creed, etc....). Songs like "hold you down", "bumble bee" and "frosting" were rare breeds of pop - almost bringing a hybrid of British shoegaze and Rockford Illinois' Cheap Trick to marriage in the promised land. At least half the album was populated by odd-tempo gems featuring meandering bass-line chords and still pop-relevant vocal melodies. This was the mix that was Drill Team's signature. By the end of Hope and Dream Explosion a couple poppy gems devoid of pigeon-holing still ring as my absolute favorites of a disc that knows it's place among my all time highs. Camptown Misery and Monarch Mine are as brilliant as they were un-suitable for the (shitty) times. Attrition and major label bullshit took it's toll on a band that really never had any business playing to the average music moron. After an EP and a 12 pack, Drill Team was done. Drummer Appolo Strange and guitarist/sonic auteur Tim LaRue both have projects going viewable via myspace. Sadly missing from the landscape are bassist/business side Jeff Watson and vocalist fantab (and rumored one-time auditioneer for the Jason Falkner-vacated guitarist/4th part of harmony for Jellyfish). This... was my favorite sound of last season!

jon sutton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.