I am talking to my contacts... they always bring me flower, but no intelligence.
Camper Van Beethoven - Militia Song - So, the other day, my attention was drawn to this lovely little piece of under the radar news. It seems that the US is looking to start up local militias to help various countries "combat terrorism from within" as it were. Because we all know how well this has worked out in the past. What does this have to do with todays song? Well, aside from the tangential conection of the word Militia, it has to do with the fact that this is a song off of Campers new album, New Roman Times. The new album is, in David Lowery's own words, a "sci-fi prog rock concept record," about the current politicultural divide that is tearing this country in two. Or, to put it simply, it's about "Wacko-grape-koolaid-drinking-fascist-homophobe-Christian-right-winger-cretins vs. smart, tolerant and decent people," in a ficitonal war between California and Texas. The song itself is a classic camper hoedown. Flashes of the folksier side of Telephone Free Landslide Victory, and the referential, silly sort of somberness from the bands self titled album. It's also a poignant little ditty about the unabomber. And who hasn't wanted to have a song about Ted Kasczinski, for that sort of morning? really?
Camper van Beethoven - I Am Talking To This Flower - I'm still sadly, trying to work out the full narrative arc of this album, so I wish I could give a better explanation of this song. Near as I can gather, it's a song from the perspective of a Texan spy in California, who has managed to find himself falling in love with "flower," and the various cultural baggage which it entails, running around stoned, and generally not being a very effective spy. Hard to misss the political context that Lowery & co. are going for - especially when he sings of not being able to "run for the power" and it's hard to disagree with the sentiment.
Camper Van Beethoven - Discotheque CVB - Campers biggest strength though, has always been their instrumental numbers. "Border Ska", "Mao Reminisces about his Days in Southern China," etc. While silly little songs about punks and weed and the unabomber are fun, Campers unique instrumental folk rock is where they slay. And Discotheque CVB is no exception, adding in a nifty little dance beat, and stabs of violin that give the song a weird sort of urgency it's an odd sort of closing number, full of the sort of laid back "everything will be all right" sort of energy that has always driven Camper, but with stabs of a fuzzy electric guitar that warn that maybe it won't - a new element for camper, and one that speaks to the atmosphere that has led to the birth of New Roman Times.
[You can buy 3 tracks of New Roman Times at the Itunes Music Store or this album and many more, from Pitch-A-Tent Records.]