15 May 2009

Something 4 The Weekend # 118

Well, now we're getting somewhere.
It took almost 800 posts here at HOT POOP!, but I'm finally getting around to Camper Van Beethoven...
First of all, if I discount local bands and friend's bands, it's 99% certain that I've seen CVB in concert more than any other musical act. I've seen them so many times that I can't give an accurate count except to say that it's double digits, and possibly 11...Including once as R.E.M.'s opening act on their Pageantry Tour, and twice in their hometown of Santa Cruz, way back when "Take The Skinheads Bowling" was still new, still a novelty...And then another 8 or 9 times between 1985 and 1990...
But this isn't about silly numbers, stupid math...This is about the sad fate of Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, one of those albums that has drifted just outside and off my Desert Island Discs list, hovering there at, like, #12 or whatever...And it's a shame because it's really a rather remarkable album, a collection of 14 very good songs that adds up to a nearly flawless longplayer...One of those records you listen to straight through, and maybe one or two songs knocks you completely off your feet, but mostly, you just get to the end and you realize how those 14 very good songs have resulted in a possibly flawless Album.
An album that's seemingly got a taste of everything - Psych Pop, Indie Rock, Folk, Country, Ska, Polka, Mariachi, Bluegrass, Reels, and weird, Acid-tinged Gypsy music, and it all culminates with "Life Is Grand", easily the most straightforward song of the bunch, a song that takes a stand against the dark vibes of the era...I mean this was '87/'88, and all eyes were on L.A. really - hair metal was running on fumes at that point, but Guns'n'Roses had emerged from that housefire as probably the biggest band in the world...And then there was Janes Addiction, who were like, G'nR's doppelganger in a slightly different reality- the biggest band in the world to the slightly subbacultcha'd...
Meanwhile, up the coast, Mudhoney, Soundgarden and the Melvins were getting that whole Grunge thang going...This was year of Superfuzz Bigmuff, Ultramega OK and Gluey Porch Treatments, respectively...And I don't need to get into the shit happening on Touch'n'Go...My point is - there was a whole lotta dark and heavy music riding hard over the nation at the time, and then there was Camper Van Beethoven...
Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart certainly got a bit dark and heavy at times, but David Lowery always kept his tongue firmly in cheek while addressing pop culture and the general state of modern life...Always deadpan, never sour. Life is grand..."Take off that jumpsuit, you look like Grace Slick!"
Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart is such a undeniably stellar Album, that I had the toughest of times trying to decide which song to stream today...Like I said, every last song is Very Good, if not quite as Great as the album as a whole, so here we are..."Turquoise Jewelry", as track #7, sits at the halfway point of the LP, and as such kinda encompasses little bits of everything around it - some blues harp, some stanky brass of possible Mexican lineage, some of the heaviest guitars in the band's catalog, Violin as Feedback Machinery, a Ska thing happening in the verses, and some fat-ass bass just doing it's own high energy thing underneath it all while still holding down the groove of it all...Of all that other stuff going on..."Ah you bring me everything!"
Hotcha! Hank

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