Dinosaur Eyelids is a band out of New Brunswick that have one foot in the guitar-heavy, grunge and alternative sounds of the 90s and the other foot planted firmly in present-day rock. They get compared to Soundgarden and Nirvana and while those comparisons are valid there is a lot more here than meets the eye. They have elements of jangle pop, metal and even folk in the mix which yields an interesting element to their music.
They recently released their 4th album, Bypass to Nowhere, and it is a perfect blend of all the elements listed above. Leading the record is first single “Talkin’ to Me” and it is an ideal way to kick things off. A fast, hard groove with some furious guitar from Patrick McKnight, the song flies by in just under two glorious in-your-face minutes. With the second song “Nowhere Fast” we already get some of the jangle pop elements that add depth. This song is ready made for the radio and singer Evan Staats get soulful with the vocals. “Vernal Equinox” is one of the most interesting tracks here. Over some fuzz and distortion, Scott Staats steady bass inches the song forward. Some blistering shredding throughout and a downright psychedelic middle section makes this an absolute standout.
The second half of the album is great as well. The jangle pop, which I am a sucker for, returns in “Lambertville” and is used here perfectly. “Hate and Love” takes things down a notch for slow burner that adds acoustic touches as is as good as a lot of stuff that was coming out of the Seattle area in the 90s. The folk of “Forgotten Too Soon”, complete with harmonica, is quite poignant. Seven minute opus “World of Fire” closes the album and might be my favorite on the record. The drumming of Mark Leone is really upfront in the mix here and sounds great. At about the 3:00 minute mark the fun really starts and things begin to get trippy. Cue the jazz as horns come in the mix. What? Is this the same song? Is this even the same group? Yes indeed. You really must listen and experience this yourself. All of sudden the song shifts again to a harder edged rock. This is basically 3 songs in one and I think it is pretty awesome.
Patrick answered a few questions for us;
How did you guys get together and form Dinosaur Eyelids?
Scott, Evan and myself grew up in Montgomery Township which is about 25 minutes west of New Brunswick. Scott and Evan are brothers and we were all in school together. We used to practice in my parents’ basement. We did our first shows in the summer of 2009 and shortly afterwards the three of us moved into an apartment in New Brunswick.
You’re from New Brunswick, a town with a rich history of great bands. What was it like coming up in that scene?
New Brunswick is a great place for DIY music. The Court Tavern was only a block away from our place and soon became our musical home. We spent a lot of time there, the New Brunswick scene has a real sense of community and we received a ton of support from both the Court Tavern and WRSU Rutgers Radio. We have lots of New Brunswick bands to look up to who came before us.
You have a 90s alternative rock sound that references bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana. Was that era a big influence?
Nirvana and Soundgarden are definitely big influences. We were spoiled growing up in the early 90’s when heavy yet melodic music had a place in popular culture. We also love older groups like The Who, The Stooges, Black Sabbath, Neil Young and Hendrix. More recently we love The Replacements, Ween and desert rock bands like Kyuss. Basically we like any music that’s loud and played with passion.
Bypass to Nowhere sounds really great. A true DIY effort with drummer Mark Leone producing. Are you pleased with how it turned out? How has the reception been so far?
We’re extremely pleased with how “Bypass to Nowhere” came out. We put a lot of work into it and we’re unbelievably fortunate to have Mark recording and producing us. The album’s had a great reception and debuted at #1 at WRSU. Much to our surprise and amusement we have fans all over the world through internet radio and social media. We don’t really have money to promote ourselves so we depend mostly on word of mouth.
How would you say this new album is different from your previous work?
I think our music is gradually becoming more melodic. We don’t try to write heavy music but it just sort of happens. We try to write pop songs and fail because we love playing rock and roll too much.
What are some current bands you are digging right now?
In terms of current music we like Screaming Females, Only Living Boy, Senium, California X, Brick Mower, Big Eyes and Moistboyz.
Five words to describe Dinosaur Eyelids?
Five words? We can do six: “Alternative rock for a new generation”
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