A Boston band that almost made it—or that almost had a shot at making it.

Started in the early 80s by a Wesleyan grad named Seth Tiven and a fellow Beantown rocker, Kirk Swan, they were favorites in the college-radio circuit, lauded for mutating power-pop riffs and tight harmonies into tough-mother alt that was surgically snapped into place with a tight rhythm section, punchy drums always making their way to the top of the mix. They landed somewhere between Mission of Burma's angsty gloom and R.E.M.'s polo-neck zesty folk.

As their star was rising and bigger, more far-reaching exposure seemed likely, due to the critical and commercial promise of their third LP, One for the Country, they encountered legal troubles of a rather unusual nature, killing their mojo and momentum. 

In short, their label, Big Time, was in such financial trouble that checks were bouncing, and they failed to renew the band's contract prior to its expiration. In a greasy maneuver, they attempted to sell it to Phonogram. When Dumptruck got wind of this, their lawyer attempted to negotiate directly with Phonogram, and this led to Big Time suing Dumptruck for breach of contract, demanding five million in damages and threatening Phonogram with a lawsuit for "tortious interference." As you might expect, this put the kibosh on all further negotiations, leaving Dumptruck effectively unable to release music. In the end, the band received a default judgment against Big Time, but the harm had already been done. They officially dissolved in '91.