Music hardly heard: Dime Store Prophets

Was going through the music collection recently for a project that has nothing to do with this post and I can’t believe I’ve wasted this many words in the lead to mention it. Ugh.

FantasticDistractionAnyway, came across this little gem from 1997, Dime Store Prophets’ Fantastic Distraction. While most niche purists would point to the band’s debut, Love is Against the Grain, with its quirky-fancy songs like “Hitler’s Girlfriend,” and “Baby’s Got a New Dress,” I’ve always found this follow-up to be very satisfying. The lead singer’s voice always intrigued me with its rich, earthy quality (whatever that means!).

There’s just something about that San Francisco sound that’s always attracted me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the list of bands from there is pretty awesome. Someone should do some research on this topic and tell me why I like it. You know who you are.

Anyway, Dime Store Prophets only released two albums and I am proud to say I am one of the few Americans who have both. But what happened? First stop: Wikipedia, which gave me the name of the owner of the rich, earthy voice, Justin Stevens, aka Justin Dillon. He formed another band that eventually decided on the name Tremolo. The band had some success with tracks featured on various soundtracks of things I never watched. On the band’s website, the latest news comes from 2004, so maybe he’s not as active as I had hoped. But, boy, what I wrong.

The top hit from a Google search for “justin dillon tremolo” brought up a Mother Jones article that talked of the musician making the 2008 anti-slavery documentary Call + Response.

Whoa. And not in a Keanu Reaves-Bill-and-Ted-Neo way. That’s awesome.

More recently, he has launched Slavery Footprint, an organization that will jerk your eyes open and should shake you to your core. Check it out.

But back to the main point: What’s interesting is that in all the promo materials I’ve found, ones that include Justin’s bio and musical career, the Dime Store Prophets isn’t mentioned. That’s cool, I guess, but it leaves that band and its work out in the land of music hardly heard.

Maybe you should take a visit.


2 thoughts on “Music hardly heard: Dime Store Prophets

  1. Prior to being named ((Tremolo)) (I think the double parentheses were part of the actuall band name spelling,) The band was called, Justin Dillon And The Brilliantines.

    I first saw J.D. & the Brilliantines in the early 2000’s at Koinonia Koffee House in San Jose. The nickname I use here is drawn from that first time, when I got called on-stage to play an egg shaker taped to a drumstick. The song they played was Mellodramatica. I followed them as they became Tremolo…
    Thiugh I admire him for his work toabolish human trafficking, I miss seeing them perform live in San Francisco.

    I saw their shows at 12 Galaxies, The Red Devil Lounge, Club Du Nord, and at a space called, Catacombs (was near 15th and Capp St.)

    I sure wish Justin would fire up the band for some shows again.

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