2013's installment of the 31 Days of Music is still in its infancy with a long way to go until we hit #1. The weekend is upon us so to help kick off your free time (if you have some) at Number 26 is Camper Van Beethoven's (CVB) La Costa Perdida.
One of the most influential bands to emerge from the late 80’s and early 90’s has to be California’s CVB. While herded into the “alternative rock” genre they truly deserve a category all their own. Rock, folk, punk, ska and many other flavors of music show up in their songs which are distinguished by David Lowery’s one of a kind vocals, Victor Krummenacher’s smooth bass playing and Jonathan Segel’s infusion of violin. With a career that has been on again off again they 2013 brought fans a new record, La Costa Perdida, which a laid back piece of work that oozes California.
CVB draws the listener into the album right from the start with “Come Down The Coast”. Mellow guitars, a smattering of keyboards and mandolin fill this catchy tune. I dare you to not sing-a-long with Lowery as he rolls through the names of various senoritas. It represents a mellower more relaxed side which is present throughout the album with tracks like “Northern California Girls” and “A Love For All Time”, but does not define it. Capturing the classic CVB sound, “Peaches In The Summertime” is short and fast as it threatens to explode into chaos. On “You Got To Roll” thumping rhythms lead way to an all out guitar assault as they employ bluesy undertones to keep listeners on their toes. The finest track on the record has to be “Too High For The Love In”. Pop melodies and sweet vocal harmonies kick things off before it deteriorates into a beautiful mess of words and music. Lyrically it makes no sense as Lowery warbles on about a large awesome bird in his kitchen then ends with a rant about wanting anti-venom and a sandwich. Musically it is a roller coaster ride through the sonic peaks and valleys created by the plethora of instruments and tools these guys have at their disposal.
When the last track comes to a close the first instinct will be to immediately listen to La Costa Perdida again. I suggest you follow that instinct because the more you listen the better it gets. With each spin choice musical nuggets uncover themselves exposing the listener to a new experience. It is a fitting piece to their musical catalog and just adds to their legendary status as one of the most original bands out there.
31 Days of Music: Best of 2013
31 - Futurebirds - Baba Yaga
30 - Mike Snowden - One Man Cigar Box Guitar Band Live
29 - Teen Getaway - Hits and Missives
28 - Barrence Whitfield & the Savages - Dig Thy Savage Soul
27 - Robert Pollard - Honey Locust Honky Tonk
26 - Camper Van Beethoven - La Costa Perdida