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Telephone Free Landslide Victory

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iTunes Review

On the surface, this band would seem to be incorrigibly pretentious and more precious than They Might Be Giants in the nerd-rock sweepstakes. First, there's the silly name. Then, there's a sound that's a mixture of ska, Easter European, Middle Eastern and garage-rock. Add to these truly inane song titles like "Take The Skinheads Bowling" and "The Day Lassie Went to the Moon" and the 1985 debut by this Santa Cruz band must suck, right? Not on your life. This fancy garage band offers accessible, nerdy, and absurdist "fake-world" music that is actually really good. The band members (includingDavid Lowery, who would go on to form Cracker) make merciless fun of the underground rock scene, while pushing it towards new pastures, or at least ones not explored since the psychedelic heyday of Kaleidoscope and the Third Ear Band. A surprisingly satisfying debut that still sounds good today.

Customer Reviews

Best Camper Album

My favorite album by this phenomenal band.


Seminal album if you're looking for that 90's college club band sound. Cannot recall anyone making an accordion rock with twangy guitar. Humourous lyrics and impossible scenarios, CvB excelled at rejecting the stereotypical rock themes of love, death, beauty, and drugs. I mean, who writes a song about their dog flying to Mars or taking your adversaries bowling? Catchy riffs in the key of F or something like that. I'm not going to name specific songs to listen, because you might skip over the other gems here.


Formed: 1983 in Redlands, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Back in the day, before alternative rock was invented and indie rock was still shy of roots music and other folk elements, Camper Van Beethoven's merging of punk, folk, ska, and world music was truly a revelation. Singer/songwriter David Lowery's smart-aleck lyrics, delivered in laid-back California style, combined with Jonathan Segel's violin as lead instrument, were the band's instant trademarks. Decades after their inception, CVB's sound is still remarkably fresh and their influence on alternative...
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