Camper Van Beethoven - st & Telephone Free Landslide Victory!
Camper Van Beethoven - Telephone Free Landslide Victory
IRS records 1985
Members: Chris Molla, Chris Pedersen, David Lowery, Greg Lisher, Jonathan Segel, Victor Krummenacher
01# Border Ska
02# The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon
04# Yanqui Go Home
05# Oh No!
06# 9 of Disks
07# Payed Vacation: Greece
08# Where the Hell is Bill?
10# Skinhead Stomp
12# Take the Skinheads Bowling
13# Mao Reminisces About His Days in Southern China
14# I Don't See You
15# Balalaika Gap
16# Opi Rides Again - Club Med Sucks
17# Ambiguity Song
BIO by Denise Sullivan:
At the time of their 1985 debut, Camper Van Beethoven's merging of punk, folk, ska, and world musics was truly a revelation. Self-described as "surrealist absurdist folk," the band formed in Santa Cruz, CA, after singer/songwriter David Lowery of Redlands, CA, with his dry humor and valley-boy voice (sometimes confused for a faux English accent), and boyhood friends Chris Molla and Chris Pedersen disbanded Box o' Laffs. Victor Krummenacher was added on bass and soon they were joined by Greg Lisher (guitar) and Jonathan Segel (violins, keyboards, mandolin). It was Segel's violin that would prove to be the band's hallmark at a time when alternative rock had yet to be invented, and indie rock was still shy of roots music or traditional elements.
The 1985 re-release of their debut, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, made the Top Ten in the 1986 Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll.
Review by Ned Raggett:
They say "never say never," but it's still extremely unlikely something so goofily low-key, inventive, and fun will ever achieve cult status so quickly again, especially in terms of musical range on display.
Not simply a rock group but not anything else, Camper Van Beethoven pulled off a series of entertaining fusions throughout its debut record, as the opening song "Border Ska" indicates by name alone.
Eastern European folk, tropical grooves, post-punk atmospherics, country laid-back good times, psych/garage band aesthetics, lyrics about Mao, Greece, and more -- a lot of stuff went into the Santa Cruz band's brew, and most of it came up trumps on Telephone.
Lowery's lead vocals aren't much like what his more famous work in Cracker would indicate, being more speak-singing through shaggy dog stories (even one about Lassie) of all stripes.
Hearing his tale of woe on "Wasted" -- "I was a punker, and I had a Mohawk/I was so gnarly and I drove my dad's car" -- delivered in a "yeah dude" tone of voice is pretty darn funny. Segel's keyboards and violins color the arrangements with a fun touch, while rhythm team Krummenacher and then recently departed drummer Anthony Guess try out nearly everything at least once.
The production is eminently suited for the proceedings, sounding a bit like the thick, fuzzy flow of many Shimmy-Disc releases but with just enough of a crisp edge.
When it comes to humor, it's everywhere -- for instance, the plaintively sung chorus of "Where the Hell Is Bill?," not to mention the various speculative answers ("Maybe he went to get a Vespa scooter").
Or, of course, the song that kick-started the band's reputation, "Take the Skinheads Bowling," two and a half minutes of chiming, goofy nonsense with references to Jah and incomplete rhymes.
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Camper Van Beethoven - Camper Van Beethoven
IRS records 1986
Members: Chris Molla, Chris Pedersen, David Lowery, Eugene Chadbourne, Greg Lisher, Jonathan Segel, Victor Krummenacher.
01. Good Guys & Bad Guys
02. Joe Stalin's Cadillac
03. Five Sticks
04. Lulu Land
05. Une Fois
06. We Saw Jerry's Daughter
07. Surprise Truck
08. Stairway to Heavan (sic)
09. The History of Utah
10. Still Wishing to Course
11. We Love You
12. Hoe Yourself Down
13. Peace & Love
15. Interstellar Overdrive
16. Shut Us Down
Review by Ned Raggett:
CVB's self-titled third album generally differs little from II & III, continuing the blend of wistfully weird lyrics, any number of musical touches from all over the map and good-time vibes.
The opening "Good Guys & Bad Guys" proves that much, with reggae, folk, country and more stewed together as Lowery plaintively sings about lawyers and the people in Russia and the like.
From there on in it's another collection of generally short and generally fun ditties, but with a few more tweaks here and there. The bandmembers definitely have more fun with the studio this time out, thus a lot of tape manipulation and semi-psychedelic oddities sprinkled around the album.
Something of a Led Zeppelin fascination seems to crop up throughout, perhaps not too surprising considering that band's similar fondness for many musical influences and Jimmy Page's more acoustic numbers.
Lowery drawls "Has anyone seen the bridge?" on "Joe Stalin's Cadillac," the following song is "Five Sticks," while later on in the album one gets "Stairway to Heavan (sic)," most definitely not a remake of the referenced song in question. Not to say there aren't reinterpretations here: an obscure sixties track, "Lulu Land," lets CVB fool around with a bit of twinkly jauntiness, while early Pink Floyd gets the band treatment with an impressive, strong version of "Interstellar Overdrive."
Then there's the catchy pop salute to a certain Mr. Garcia of the Grateful Dead, "We Saw Jerry's Daughter," the sitars and kicks on "Still Wishing to Course," the concluding 90-second long "Shut Us Down" and more to fill out this album's corners well.
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