Dumptruck | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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In 1983 Boston-area songwriters Kirk Swan and Seth Tiven, working under the name Dumptruck, released their debut record, D Is for Dumptruck, a solid collection of songs with tuneful R.E.M.--style melodies, occasionally searing guitar solos, and some of the most dour lyrics since Joy Division. But after their more polished follow-up, Positively Dumptruck, received glowing reviews and some modest MTV airplay, Swan left the group, leaving Tiven to continue with an ever-changing supporting cast. In 1987 Dumptruck released For the Country, a more laid-back record that featured plaintive country-tinged acoustic tunes, and eventually major labels began knocking at their door. But when they tried to leave their independent label they got slapped with a $5 million lawsuit. The suit eventually proved specious, but not before three years of litigation destroyed Dumptruck and bankrupted Tiven. Not surprisingly, their last record, the newly released Days of Fear--containing a handful of fiddle-and-mandolin-dappled country tunes but bristling with electric guitar workouts--is a vivid testament to some dark days. Songs like "Bad Day" and "Giving Up" blend killer hooks with lyrics that seethe with anger and disgust. Tiven brings a reincarnated Dumptruck to town for

their first show here in years; they open for Rustbucket. Friday, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/George Brainard.

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