So I just watched the first episode of the new, and final, season of one of the funniest shows of all time, Peep Show, to which Flagpole Sitta provides the theme, and wanted to post this interesting, recent look at the enduring legacy of a nineties one hit wonder. Now barring the aforementioned hit, I was entirely unfamiliar with Harvey Danger’s catalog, but as for as random nineties alterna radio rock goes, this is one of the few songs that I’ve always enjoyed hearing (the Peep Show connection has only legitimized that feeling). Cute, catchy and instantly recognizable, the music belies the song’s cynical and disaffected lyrical bent, which only adds to it’s credibility as a Post-Grunge, Powerpop/Pop-Punk though it is, generational anthem.
Having listened to the other songs linked in this post, I think that had they been around in the more indie band friendly eighties, Harvey Danger could have ridden the crest of College Rock, alongside R.E.M., The Replacements, and other such luminaries, to a place well beyond the land of the one hit wonder. Either way, it’s nice to hear a popular Rock song from that era that doesn’t suck. Know what I mean?
Been around the world and found
That only stupid people are breeding
The cretins cloning and feeding
And I don’t even own a TV
Also, is it just me or does anyone else think that it bears at least a slight resemblance to this part of Willie Wonka’s bad trip boat ride? Anyone wanna do a mash up?
This started as “song of the day” but morphed into the first “album of the day” because it’s a deserving full length and not enough people are familiar with its brilliance.
From their 1986 debut LP, In Excelsior Dayglo, on Big Time Records. IED, despite being their first full length, is a tremendously tight and diverse record, having benefited from the band gigging those songs out for a year or two, before the album’s release. The pairing of Cudahy’s vocals with those of drummer Liz Cox, and their off kilter rhythms and arrangements, played no small portion in setting them apart from the rest of the pack, as well.
I got to see Christmas in 89ish and they were phenomonal. De La Soul’s debut, 3 Feet High and Rising, was just out and I remember Christmas vocalist/guitarist, Michael Cudahy, requesting “The Magic Number” from the club’s DJ, to which he then proceeded to tear up the dance floor. They also played my request, which was either “Dig We Must!” or “Fish Eyed Sandwich”.
It’s tremendously difficult tracking down info on a band with such a, um, popular name as Christmas (their follow up lounge swinger group, Combustible Edison, enjoy much easier googling and wider popularity). As far as I can tell, there are no live videos or cassette recordings available (although if anyone knows of any, please comment) and this video for Big Plans is the sole visual document of that era. Their label, Big Time, was notoriously poor in the handling of promotional materials, but I do remember this video making the rounds on MTV, via 120 Minutes, I believe. Not that I’m shitting on Big Time, though, as there were some other great records to pop outta that label around this time; Redd Kross “Nuerotica”, Dumptruck “Positively”, The Hoodoo Guru’s first two LPs, Alex Chilton’s “High Priest”, Love and Rockets “Express” and “Earth, Sun, Moon” (coincidentally I saw Dumptruck, Chilton and Love and Rockets during their Big Time days), The Fall collection “The Domesday Pay-Off Triad-Plus!”, Go-Betweens “Tallulah”, The Beasts of Bourbon “The Axeman’s Jazz”and what was probably the weakest, though still good, of Scientists albums, “Weird Love”, wherein they re-recorded some of the seminal works.
So, here’s most of their debut. I urge you to get hip to the underrated classic that is, In Excelsior Dayglo