Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair

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Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
Studio album by La Dispute
Released November 11, 2008
Recorded StudiOtte in Grand Rapids [1]
Genre Post-hardcore, screamo, experimental rock, progressive rock, spoken word
Length 51:38
Label No Sleep Records
Producer La Dispute
La Dispute chronology
Here, Hear II.
(2008)Here, Hear II.2008
Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
Here, Hear III.
(2009)Here, Hear III.2009
Singles from Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
  1. "Said the King to the River"
    Released: October 10, 2008
  2. "New Storms for Older Lovers"
    Released: October 20, 2008
  3. "Such Small Hands"
    Released: July 5, 2009

Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair is the debut album released by La Dispute. Supported by three release shows, it was released on November 11, 2008, simultaneously along with Here, Hear II. through No Sleep Records on both CD and vinyl. The album's title is derived from an Asian folktale, which the album's lyrics loosely follow. The release received positive reviews from notable critics and maintains a legacy in the post-hardcore scene.

Recording and release[edit]

La Dispute had spent the year prior to the release of the album writing and recording.[1] They recorded the album in Grand Rapids at StudiOtte with Joel and Troy Otte and had finished the recording by July 2008.[2] The album was released November 11, 2008, through No Sleep records, a record label to which La Dispute had only signed a few months prior.[3]

To promote the release of the album, the band played three release shows in their home state of Michigan: November 8 at Skelletones, November 14 at the UAW Retirees Hall in Traverse City, and November 22 at the Howell Opera House in Howell.[3] The vinyl press was limited to 1000 copies: 500 each in Brown/Black and Clear/Black.[4] The album has received a total of 10 pressings.

Themes and styles[edit]

The album evades categorization, containing elements of post-hardcore, screamo, metalcore, post-rock,[5][6][7][8] progressive rock and emo.[9] The album's style is characterised by different features, including dub-influenced bass drums[10] and versatile vocals from Jordan Dreyer, who changes frequently, ranging from shouted hardcore punk styled vocals and screams, to spoken word portions and intentional use of off-key singing.[7][10][11][12] Lyrically, the album features many themes of emotional anguish and is considered ultra-emotional; its emotions range though pain, rage, and anger and deals with loss considerably.[13] The album recounts the Asian folk tale of The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl,[8] a story of how a prince and a princess are separated after marriage by a river which they are not allowed to cross.[14] Prior to the release of this album, the story was told on the fourth track from La Dispute's second EP, Here, Hear.[15] However, when vocalist Jordan Dreyer has been asked in interviews about the lyrical concept of the album, he has stated that although it does contain thematic constants it does not actually tell a story and is more autobiographical[16] and the folk tale was used as more of a "jumping-off point" for similar personal struggles.[14] The real-life connotations of the records lyrics are that of two divorces of people related to Dryer[17]

The first song on the album, "Such Small Hands", a spoken word track which is seen to " build to seemingly uncontrollable levels".[17] Drummer Brad Vander Lugt commented on its surprising popularity, saying: “We cannot figure it out! It’s just an intro to the record, I have no idea why people have clung to it so much... It’s funny, we don’t even count it as a song!”[18] "Bury Your Flame" is seen as "a perfect fusion of blues, post-rock and hardcore".[19]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Absolute Punk(91%)[20]
Can You See the Sunset?(favorable)[13]
MusicEmissions4/5 stars[6]
Punknews.org4/5 stars[11]
Strangeglue8/10 stars[8]
Ultimate Guitar(9.7/10) [21]

The album is a popular release of No Sleep Records as it has received ten pressings on vinyl for a total of 8,280 copies.[22] All eight pressings combined is a total of 6400 sales of the album on vinyl alone.[23]

In 2012, British publication Rock Sound added La Dispute's debut album into their 101 Modern Classics, placed at number 53. They considered the album more of a classic than Korn's Follow The Leader and Rage Against the Machine's Battle of Los Angeles. Stating that "their debut album was an emotional trip through scratchy punk, dissonant hardcore and broken poetry; it's [sic] strength, though, lies in its uniqueness."[24]

Track listing[edit]

1."Such Small Hands"1:35
2."Said the King to the River"4:01
3."New Storms for Older Lovers"4:59
4."Damaged Goods"2:55
5."Fall Down, Never Get Back Up Again"2:45
6."Bury Your Flame"4:35
7."Last Blues for Bloody Knuckles"5:00
8."The Castle Builders"2:46
10."Then Again, Maybe You Were Right"1:36
11."Sad Prayers for Guilty Bodies"3:46
12."The Last Lost Continent"12:02
13."Nobody, Not Even the Rain"1:10
Total length:51:38


La Dispute

Additional personnel[1][4]

  • Adam Kool – Additional composition on tracks 1, 2, 6, 13. Additional guitar on tracks 1 and 13
  • Kim Rosen – Mastering
  • Joel Otte – Mixing, Audio engineer
  • Troy Otte – Audio engineer, backing vocalist
  • Nick Vander Lugt – Backing vocalist
  • Nick Satinover – Artwork illustrator


  1. ^ a b c "La Dispute's page on Punk news". Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "No Sleep Records update: Refused tribute pushed back, La Dispute almost finished recording, Touche A". Alternative Press. July 18, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Eric Mitts (November 2008). "La Dispute interview by Eric Mitts". Recoil Magazine. Blue V Productions. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "La Dispute – Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair (Vinyl, LP, LP) at". Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "La Dispute – Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega and Altair". Banquet Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013. Ultra-emotional debut album from the Michigan band who incorporate elements of post-hardcore, screamo, metalcore and post rock. 
  6. ^ a b Dennis Scanland (2008-12-12). "La Dispute – Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair Emi". musicemissions. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "La Dispute « Reviews «". 2009-02-25. Archived from the original on May 1, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Aidan Williamson (November 7, 2008). "La Dispute Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair – Strangeglue – Music". Strangeglue. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  9. ^ Shane Miller (12 November 2012). "La Dispute weaves emotional intricacy in songs". The Daily Texan. (Texas Student Media). Retrieved 27 June 2013. La Dispute is a band that defies the idea of genres. A post-hardcore band that draws influences from jazz and blues, the group is known to completely switch from slow-spoken poetry to fast punk rock within the same song. While La Dispute’s instrumentation is incredible in its own right, most critics concur that its most valuable and distinctive aspect is vocalist and lyricist Jordan Dreyer. 
  10. ^ a b Jacob Fricke (October 3, 2012). "In staying steady, La Dispute disappoints". The Badger Herald. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "La Dispute – Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair". Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  12. ^ "La Dispute – Somewhere at the Bottom of the River...(album review)". sputnikmusic. January 1, 2011. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "La Dispute – Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River... | Can You See the Sunset?". 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  14. ^ a b James Shotwell (June 10, 2008). "Untitled 7" – La Dispute in 2008 on Forest Life Records[AND INTERVIEW!!!!!]". Under the Gun Review. (Buzzmedia). Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  15. ^ "La Dispute – Here, Hear Album review –". absolutepunk. January 3, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  16. ^ La Dispute Interview (Brad (Interviewer), Jordan Dreyer, Adam Vass) (Podcast). 13 Dec 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2011. Brad with chats with Jordan and Vass from La Dispute about the band's history, their emergence onto the post-hardcore scene, and the new album. 
  17. ^ a b Peter Woodburn (November 27, 2011). "La Dispute Band Interview : It's Like Medicine. It's Self-Discovery. (w/ Full Album Stream & Lyrical Analysis)". Redefine Magazine. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  18. ^ Daisy Lola (June 5, 2013). "Interview: La Dispute Talk Intimacy and One-Hit-Wonders". LUNA Magazine. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  19. ^ Casey Whitman (October 2013). "Artist of the Day: La Dispute". Muzik Dizcovery. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  20. ^ "La Dispute – Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair – Album Review". 2008-11-11. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  21. ^ "La Dispute – Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair Review – La Dispute – Compact Disc". Ultimate Guitar. 2009-11-11. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  22. ^ Chris Lantinen (March 2, 2013). "La Dispute album gets an eighth pressing". Modern Vinyl. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  23. ^ "La Dispute "Somewhere at the Bottom of the River.."". No Sleep Records. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics: 74 - 50". Rock Sound. (Freeway Press Inc). June 27, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2012. The artier side of the short-lived DIY movement known as The Wave, La Dispute don't do things by halves. And their debut album was an emotional trip through scratchy punk, dissonant hardcore and broken poetry; its strength, though, lies in its uniqueness.