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Behold! The popular song of great enduring
strength and beauty.
But what is it that makes a popular song?
Mostly it has to do with repetition - not only the repetition
that Camper Van Beethoven experiences in their
renaissance as a band, after years of solo activity among its
members, reformed for a new century and playing music they had
played before, repeating and updating the performance of a music
that came before "alternative" was mainstream, the repetition
by means of muscle memory more than thought—no, not only
this, but also, also too, that virus in your ear that will make
a piece of music "popular": the ear worm. The ear worm
repeats what a listener hears, repeats it within their own mind,
forcing them to replay the melodies and forms of a song in the
confines of their own head, cunningly suggesting that only by
listening to the song once yet again will this repetitive pop
virus be eradicated, burned from the brain.
But in actuality, it may never leave, and you, dear listener,
will be coerced by this worm again and again to listen to this
very CD, a precisely created and lovingly produced collection
of some of Camper Van Beethoven's finest, most
enduring, strongest and most potent phonological loops.
Forewarned is forearmed!
Available on CD and as a digital download bundle, “Popular
Songs” features 18 tracks, 5 of which have been
re-recorded specifically for this release. Explains Camper
Van Beethoven band spokesperson, Col. Jack “Cheese”
Sandwich (ret.) of Limone sul Garda, Italy : “We
endeavored to present an enticing set of popular songs from the
much-acclaimed "secondary and tertiary recording periods"
of the band, 1985-1990. We were, however, thwarted in this effort
by a certain recording company which had released the later (tertiary)
output of these original recordings. We made offers to buy back
our own catalog, but they were rebuffed. Hence, still owning the
publishing rights, we decided to re-record a few of these later
songs. We have attempted to remake them to so closely resemble
the original recordings as to be essentially exact forgeries,
but keen ears may be able to sense an underlying maturity that
the originals might have lacked. We apologize for that, but it
couldn't be helped.”
Camper Van Beethoven are an American alternative
rock group. Founded in 1983 in Redlands, California (though they
soon moved to Santa Cruz, California), Camper Van Beethoven
mixed elements of pop, ska, punk rock, folk, country, and acid
rock. The group's trademark violin-coated melodies and ironic,
Frank Zappa-influenced lyrics progressed from silly tunes to experimental
music with the intricate, psychedelic pop meanderings of their
self-titled third album.
After signing to Virgin Records
in 1988 and releasing two eclectic yet slightly more accessible
LPs, they disbanded in 1990. Singer David Lowery
founded the band Cracker, while the other members
- guitarists Greg Lisher and David Immerglück,
bassist Victor Krummenacher and drummer Chris
Pedersen - played in Monks of Doom.
Immerglück later joined Counting Crows.
Violinist Jonathan Segel played with Dieselhed,
Sparklehorse, and fronted his own bands Hieronymus
Firebrain and Jack & Jill, and has
more recently been involved in experimental music, including collaborations
with Fred Frith and Joelle Leandre, and a duo with Dina Emerson
called Chaos Butterfly. Krummenacher and Segel
collectively run their own record label, Magnetic.
In 2000, ex-members regrouped
to compile the experimental rarity set "Camper Van
Beethoven Is Dead. Long Live Camper Van Beethoven".
In 2002, they released "Tusk". Allegedly
recorded in 1987, it had all the same tracks as the Fleetwood
Mac album of the same name, and a parody of the original album's
cover art. A series of reunion tour dates followed with many of
the band's former members.
The group reformed in 2004 to
record New Roman Times, their first studio album
in 15 years. A live concert disc was also released, entitled "In
The Mouth of the Crocodile", capturing a 2004 reunion
performance in Seattle. Segments of a 2004 performance in Chicago
were released the following year as "Discotheque
CVB: Live In Chicago".
cover of CVB's 1985 staple "Take the Skinheads Bowling"
was used as the title track for the 2002 Michael Moore film 'Bowling
for Columbine'. A portion of the original Camper Van
Beethoven recording can be heard as an introduction to the DVD
release of the film. The song has also been covered by the Manic
Street Preachers, and can be found on their B-sides album
Members of Camper Van
Beethoven collaborated with Eugene Chadbourne
on a number of records under the name Camper Van Chadbourne.
Full tracklisting is as follows :
1. The Day Lassie Went To The Moon
2. Border Ska
3. Take The Skinheads Bowling
4. Pictures Of Matchstick Men (re-recording)
5. Skinhead Stomp
6. Opie Rides Again/Club Med Sucks
7. Eye Of Fatima Parts 1 & 2 (re-recording)
8. ZZ Top Goes To Egypt
9. Sad Lovers’ Waltz
10. When I Win The Lottery (re-recording)
11. The History Of Utah
12. Seven Languages
13. All Her Favorite Fruit (re-recording)
14. Good Guys And Bad Guys
16. One Of These Days (re-recording)
17. Ambiguity Song
18. Shut Us Down