Dinosaur Pile-Up are a British alt-rock band led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Bigland, whose riffy, grunge-inspired sound has earned comparisons to Nirvana and Foo Fighters.
Following a handful of smaller releases, they issued a pair of well-received, hard-rocking albums in 2010's Growing Pains and its 2013 follow-up, Nature Nurture. Although Dinosaur Pile-Up's on-stage personnel has fluctuated over the years, the consistency of their studio sound was a result of Bigland playing every instrument on many of their recordings. However, by 2014 they'd settled on a lineup that included ex-Brownies drummer Mike Sheils and Bigland's longtime friend and former Tribes bassist Jim Cratchley, who appeared on later records like their 2019 Parlophone debut Celebrity Mansions.
Founded in in Leeds in 2007 as Bigland's post-Mother Vulpine solo project, Dinosaur Pile-Up emerged from that city's alternative rock scene and soon drew comparisons to U.S. college rock and grunge acts from the previous decade. The band's playful name derived from a scene in the 2005 remake of King Kong, where Apatosauruses are ambushed and clatter into a pile, or as Bigland interpreted it, a "dinosaur pile-up." Their 2009 breakthrough release, The Most Powerful EP in the Universe!!, was a five-track record of up-front and in-your-face rock songs, with huge riffs injected into both "Opposites Attract" and "Beach Bug." Many were quick to draw attention to the band's similarity to Nirvana and the alt-rock of Foo Fighters, and the stand-alone single "Traynor," from the same year, is a burning example of the grunge revival sound for which they are noted. Their frenzied live performances during this period saw word spread quickly of their presence on the thriving Leeds music scene. Original members Tom Dornford-May (bass) and Steve Wilson (drums) were also present for a prestigious late-2009 tour with the Pixies, but it was the departure of those players that inspired Bigland's next move.
Growing Pains, the debut Dinosaur Pile-Up full-length, was released in October 2010. It was the result of Bigland spending two months holed up in his Bridlington-based studio, recording every instrument himself -- drums, guitars, and vocals -- with the help of local alt-rock enthusiast James Kenosha on production duties. Echoing the efforts of Dave Grohl on Foo Fighters' debut album, he crafted the record in much the same way as his hero. The record's brilliance was in its simplicity, as displayed on the singles "Mona Lisa" and "My Rock & Roll," which burst with chugging guitars and pop-tinged choruses. Following the album's sessions, drummer Mike Sheils and bass player Harry Johns soon entered the fray in time for a full tour of the U.K. Sheils and Bigland had bonded over a shared love of Weezer's Blue Album, and this lineup stood the test of extensive tours of Europe between 2011 and 2013.
Back in the studio, Bigland once again took sole responsibility for recording duties in preparation of a second album, 2013's Nature Nurture. This time around, producers Ian Davenport and Tom Dalgety assisted with the sessions, which took place over a two-month period at both Rockfield Studios in Wales and Courtyard Studios in Oxford. By the time the record had started to raise their profile in the U.S. -- upon its release there in early 2014 -- Cratchley had joined on bass, and the band proceeded with its biggest stateside tour to date (in support of Long Island's Brand New) before Nature Nurture saw a Japanese release. By year's end, Dinosaur Pile-Up were already teasing their next album, posting photos from studio sessions which Dalgety was again producing. Preceded once again by a Japanese-only EP, 11:11, the full-length Eleven Eleven album saw limited release in Europe and Japan in October of 2015 with a global release almost a year later. Following several years of touring, the band signed with Parlophone and announced the impending release of their fourth album, Celebrity Mansions with the release of the track "Thrash Metal Cassette" in March 2019. ~ Scott Kerr & James Wilkinson, Rovi