a review of camper van beethoven's "la costa perdida"

posted 2/21/2013 4:43:27 PM by: timothy

one of the bands that i've literally listened to my entire life, camper van beethoven, just released their first album in a number of years and it has been way too long if you ask me.

they are a categorically dodgy prog rock / bluegrass / ska / pop group...who started out as what i would describe as a punk klezmer band and have evolved into one of the most interesting achordal groove based americana bands, calexico but weirder, the decemberists but less twee, radiohead but more acoustic and a shared chromosome with jethro tull (if ian anderson had grown up as a surfer from california) while retaining a pop sensibility like fountains of wayne — but after taking a belt sander to the studio lens flare hardware — less like a band j.j. abrams would produce and more like t bone burnett brought in his dark mallets and brian wilson brought in his crazy.

their last two albums remind me most of another of my other favorite artists, julian cope, during the years 1991 to 1995 — the peggy suicide, autogeddon and 20 mothers era, in the mood, scope and construction of the songs but with very different instrumentation. if you don't know julian cope, this reference will mean nothing to you but if you do...the intro to "aged in wood" and "a love for all time"? am I right, guys? — and maybe can? if you don't get an "ege bamyasi" feeling during some of "la costa perdida", i urge you to go take another listen.

a few highlights

i love the discordance, less applied scales and the subtle slide guitar applied with mathematical precision in "too high for the love-in"; "you got to roll" is a blues stomp tune from the cybernetic love child of jim morrison and tom waits; someday our love will sell us out, a jethro tull and joy division super-group collaboration; peaches in the summer, a less-klezmer, more-bluegrass reggae take on ska; northern california girls, a languid country beach boys ballad — filmed through an 8-millimeter camera and played back a couple years after you and your girlfriend broke up, sipping bourbon on the couch as the fading memories play out flickering and fragmented on the wall, remembering the good times you had together and wishing that you could be in the frame again; and la costa perdida, a narcocorrido send-up ballad of the first order.

la costa perdida

the album, new roman times, their last album released almost a decade prior to the new album la costa perdida was a thing to marvel at — a vast, sprawling sonic masterpiece tied together by a strange miniature and less-than-civil war between california and texas.

join us if there are still tickets

i'm going to see their show feb 23rd in portland at mississippi studios and i'm really excited as i've never had the opportunity to see them live before.

if you're in the portland area on the 23rd of february, go! lots of your peeps will be there to keep you company.

hot poop comp-ed me a copy of the "la costa perdida" radio promo on vinyl. if you're in walla walla, make sure to stop by hot poop to pick up "la costa perdida". i love having a record store in town and they need our support in this mp3 world.

oh, and cvb members, if you read this, contact jim @ hot poop. he says he'll find a place for you to play here in walla walla. you've been here before and you could be again. i'll make sure the venue is packed.

in closing, you have my personal assurance that this album is great! — and i recommend it so highly that i guarantee if you know me and you don't like the album, i will personally refund your hot poop purchase price.

get it, because it's good.

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