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Featured Band: blast from the past - Dandelion


Dandelion Philadelphia's Dandelion
might best be remembered as poster children for the underground/ popular music clash of the early '90s, rising as they did in the era that saw a shift in the red-blooded hard rock dynamic from long-haired metal to shorn grunge leftovers purveyed by countless hordes of candidates caught up in the major label search for the next Nirvana.

Forming Dandelion in 1989, singer/guitarist Kevin Morpurgo, guitarist Carl Hinds, drummer Dante Cimino and bassist Mike Morpurgo established themselves as local champions of the heavy neo-psychedelic sound. Corralling like-minded outfits like Trip 66 into their loud corner helped develop a scene, which eventually attracted the attention of Ruffhouse, a label based in nearby Conshohocken, and home to The Goats, Cypresshill, Schooly D and the Fugees.

I Think Im Gonna Be Sick has a sound as aggressively grating as the covers scrawled titling. The songs parlay the angst of social frustration (Waitin for a Ridedamn those so-called friends), confusion (Outside, with a hearty dose of agnostic cynicism), and loneliness (In My Room, which inadvertently rewrites Brian Wilsons classic for the alternative nation). In a heady stew of Alice in Chains grind and Mudhoney dirge (albeit minus the latters humor), sludgy, cumbersome riffs provide visceral thrills, but also a prevailing sonic monotony.

The group put a live take (more straightforward than versions by the Damned and Redd Kross) on the Rolling Stones Citadel on a B-side of the time, which hinted at a possible source of the bands name namely the Stones trippy love-era Dandelion. It also hinted at a direction their music might take next. The psychedelic influence is indeed more apparent on Dyslexicon, particularly in spacier songs like Weird Out and Tapped. Production add-ons flesh out the sound, from laughing FX in Super Cool to concentric waves of fuzz in Melon From Heaven. Viva Kneval even has a flute solo (with the Easy Rider images of bell-bottoms and star-spangled helmets). A solid release that showed their growth both as songwiters and as players.

The handwriting was on the wall, however, and Dandelion called it quits in '96. It was self combusting and the boys needed their space. In 1997, Kevin Morpurgo joined another Philadelphia band, Latimer, on second guitar and in 2000 he moved to London to form a bass-less power trio "The Hells" on the ARTROCKER label. Mike Morpurgo, after working on the soundtrack of Abel Ferrara's 1998 film New Rose Hotel, played bass for local hero's TY COBB (aka MAD ACTION, AKA THE COBBS) and recorded on the LOOG release "AND BEGIN". He formed his own band LAGUARDIA in 2000. Brad Wood produced the bands punchy, art-rock debut, "Welcome to the Middle"(Universal). Carl Hinds moved to Portland OR with his gear & studio savy to front and produce his band "The Hell Yeahs." Dante Cimino took on studio and session work to avoid ever touring again.

Dandelion


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