Beat Happening: C or D.

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So what do you think? (Expand to Dub Narcotic Sound System, Halo Benders, or a general K S&D if necessary to keep things interesting.)

Nitsuh, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

My short answer for now: classic, in very different ways across the span of their career. Most interesting to me is You Turn Me On, which -- along with the Pastel's Illumination -- makes me suspect that there's nothing I love more than the sound of a previously "shambly" group suddenly growing assured and precise without losing whatever qualities made them interesting in the first place.

Tertiary topic of discussion: how have Beat Happening developed a reputation as cutesy when so much of their output is either rough, snotty, provocative, or borderline-frightening? How does the kittens- and-tea-parties tag interact with tracks like "Hangman" and "Black Candy?"

Nitsuh, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Indian Summer. Classic. Cutesy stuff, which did exist = disturbing.

Sterling Clover, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Beat Happening: classic. beyond classic. a band that makes the transition from ear splittingly awful to life affecting very suddenly. and then you Get It. admittedly "Christmas", an ultra primitive kitchen pot clanging Calvin Johnson number from KLP1, remained one of the only songs i ever skipped past for at least three years after having first realized BH's genius thanks to "our secret", "down by the sea", "bad seeds" and "foggy eyes" (all from KLP1 also). now i even get "Christmas" and dream of one day karaoking for my first time to it. despite some of their songs obviously questionable (and maybe even sometimes cutesy) lyrics BH's simultaneous sense of not caring whatsoever and apparent complete sincerity make it enjoyable. they just don't give a fuck yet they mean it.

response to ILM populace cringing regarding the "because they mean it man..." comment above: my point isn't that you should like them because they mean it or that they even always do mean it, but that some of their less fun and less caveman-stompish songs which can be "cutesy" really do work, and i suspect that it's the band's lack of self consciousness which allows these instances to resonate so positively. Example: "Look around", (KLP1), possibly the most romantic song of All Time.

I know this isn't a S&D, but after plugging KLP1 so much i can't resist: Search: KPL1. as Nitsuh mentioned, "You Turn Me On". The split EP w/ the Screaming Trees. "Bewitched" and "This Many Boyfriends club" from "Jamboree". "Red Head Walking" from "Dreamy".

Destroy: none, but i don't listen to "Dreamy" much, and i will go as far as to say that much of what i said above regarding "cutesy" does not hold when applied to "Hot Chocolate Boy" from this album. but how ace is "Red Head Walking"!!!!!! Red Head Walking!!!!

Halo Benders: Classic. thanks to the moments of complete genius on "God Don't Make No Junk".

Dub Narcotic: variable. Industrial Breakdown: classic. Fuck Shit Up: classic. everything else: moments of brilliance, but overall a Dud in the same kind of annoying way as Jamiroquai.

Paul Barclay, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Classic. Seeing them open for Fugazi at Gilman Street, with Calvin bouncing up and down while angry young men hollered "Shut Up, Faggot! Get of the stage!!"... aw, punk became so clear to me. Hunt down the great (and rare) record they did with the Screaming Trees, if you can find it. My coworker Erin (Bratmobile guitarist) calls them her biggest influence.

andy, Wednesday, 3 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

one year passes...
if you were to reduce their output to just five songs:

Angel Gone
Cast A Shadow
Tiger Trap
Indian Summer
Godsend

i'd say their music was classic.

gygax!, Friday, 15 November 2002 20:40 (nineteen years ago) link

almost everything by beat happening can DEFINITELY be considered a classic. they influenced by band and label to no end (my label is essentially k recs, not the exploited thing it is now, but when it first started). beat happening is VERY important and utterly amazing. (bad seed? yeah, i could sing thing all day...)


classic to the nth degree.

X, Friday, 15 November 2002 20:45 (nineteen years ago) link

Or if you chose these five songs"

Other Side
Foggy Eyes
Bewitched
Fortune Cookie Prize
Sleepy Head

they'd still be classic.

Pete Scholtes, Friday, 15 November 2002 23:40 (nineteen years ago) link

The only album I've heard of there's I can give an enthusiastic thumbs up to is "Jamboree." Short, sweet, not as druggy as the later albums and the voices are stronger than usual. Personal faves include "Midnight A Go-go" (with extra percussion and a Screaming Trees' guitar solo), "Indian Summer" and "Bewitched."

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 16 November 2002 18:42 (nineteen years ago) link

Super classic, and the boxed set is an amazing investment. It has the Screaming Trees record, a live show, videos and an awesome booklet.

Is "Hot Chocolate Boy" really about Ian Svenonious?

Ian Johnson (orion), Saturday, 16 November 2002 20:10 (nineteen years ago) link

That's what a friend of Calvin's told me, but it makes sense. An homage to the hot-chocolate-chugging singer of Nation of Ulysses's "Hot Chocolate City," which referenced P-Funk's "Chocolate City," which paid homage to Washington, D.C., if I'm remembering correctly...

Pete Scholtes, Sunday, 17 November 2002 22:15 (nineteen years ago) link

four years pass...
"Seeing them open for Fugazi"

wow.wish ive seen that..

Zeno, Thursday, 10 May 2007 21:13 (fifteen years ago) link

tiger trap has to be one of the best examples of a band "maturing" without losing any of their initial charm, in line with what nitsuh said upthread, years and years ago

kevin mulligan, Friday, 11 May 2007 01:24 (fifteen years ago) link

I dunno, did Tiger Trap even have a chance to mature? One album, one EP and a few singles, and that was it. Enough to promise great things had they stayed together. (As much as I liked the Softies, they never strayed much from the specific sound template they established from the "Loveseat" 7".)

I feel so lucky to have seen Tiger Trap play. What an incredible band.

mike a, Friday, 11 May 2007 03:05 (fifteen years ago) link

CRUD. that 'get it' moment won't happen, and i've tried and then not tried. no matter what, i fucking hate calvin's voice so much that i can never find any reason to keep it on...

the table is the table, Friday, 11 May 2007 03:14 (fifteen years ago) link

nah i meant the song tiger trap

kevin mulligan, Friday, 11 May 2007 03:24 (fifteen years ago) link

by beat happening

kevin mulligan, Friday, 11 May 2007 03:25 (fifteen years ago) link

I think that's "Tiger Trap" the song, not "iger rap", the band BTW.

factcheckr, Friday, 11 May 2007 13:52 (fifteen years ago) link

Should readd the whole thread I s'pose

factcheckr, Friday, 11 May 2007 13:52 (fifteen years ago) link

and learn to type

factcheckr, Friday, 11 May 2007 13:52 (fifteen years ago) link

I saw "Shield Around the K" and immediately got into their whole catalog, no "I only like their early stuff" or "I only like their late stuff" caveats. Is that unusual?

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Friday, 11 May 2007 20:30 (fifteen years ago) link

five months pass...

oh. that one jens lekman song samples that one song off black candy.

poortheatre, Tuesday, 16 October 2007 22:19 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...

anyone heard any of these mixes?

with titles like "behind the iron curtain: soviet era rock and pop" and "u.s. pop underground: wimpy/power pop 1976-1980" i'm pretty intrigued. there's a bunch of girl group and soul ones, and even "regional underground 12" singles 2000-2004: hip-hop/ghetto tech/bass/go-go/crunk/house".

i have some questions about whether or not he pulls this off, but i have heard only good things from friends. i can't find any tracklists for the life of me, so it's hard to tell

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Wednesday, 7 January 2009 22:11 (thirteen years ago) link

Have seen and wanted, but so far evaded the experience of. Would blap.

Calling All Creeps! (contenderizer), Wednesday, 7 January 2009 22:17 (thirteen years ago) link

I bought like 4 or 5 from him a few months ago and I think they are fab, the disco one is really really good.

sleeve, Wednesday, 7 January 2009 22:18 (thirteen years ago) link

you spent $50 on calvin johnson mixtapes

congratulations (n/a), Wednesday, 7 January 2009 22:18 (thirteen years ago) link

sleeve saving the economy, 5 mixtapes at a time

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Wednesday, 7 January 2009 22:19 (thirteen years ago) link

btw if you can tracklists would be great

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Wednesday, 7 January 2009 22:20 (thirteen years ago) link

they were $5 each (xpost)

sleeve, Wednesday, 7 January 2009 22:23 (thirteen years ago) link

Very overrated - as this thread indeed demonstrates - but I have a brief track called 'Redhead Walking' that I actually find quite compulsive, or maybe I mean compelling.

the pinefox, Thursday, 8 January 2009 12:19 (thirteen years ago) link

wait did someone just say that beat happening is overrated?

please post elsewhere, if you are indeed not rickrolling about. i can't argue with an opinion, but why the hell did you even click on this thread dude?

imo, beat happening>>>>>>>>>>>any other american band of the last 30 years

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Thursday, 8 January 2009 19:21 (thirteen years ago) link

but why the hell did you even click on this thread dude?

― psychgawsple

Thread is not called "Beat Happening: C! C! C! C! C!". It has room for D. Anyway, they're not overrated, cuz not that many people rate em, but I like Beat Happening. Mostly for Jamboree and Dreamy. "Nancy Sin", "Red Head Walking", "Hot Chocolate Boy", "Dreamy", "Indian Summer", "This Many Boyfriends", etc.

Calling All Creeps! (contenderizer), Thursday, 8 January 2009 19:31 (thirteen years ago) link

pinefox derby

(xpost) yea i handled that poorly but it is just counterproductive to talk shit about such an innocent, quirky band. they've done nothing but grow on me year after year, so any discouragement that could lead someone to just not trying in the first place has to be overruled

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Thursday, 8 January 2009 19:41 (thirteen years ago) link

I saw them open for Fugazi on the Repeater tour. Fucking awful!

Nate Carson, Thursday, 8 January 2009 20:02 (thirteen years ago) link

Occasionally "innocent" but if there is one thing that's definitively underrated, it's the occasional bad-assed-ness of Beat Happening. They get dirty, Crampsy, noisy, dark, evil.

nabisco, Thursday, 8 January 2009 20:04 (thirteen years ago) link

this is true, maybe it's a pitfall to define them by their innocence

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Thursday, 8 January 2009 20:08 (thirteen years ago) link

also lol at them opening for fugazi. didn't they open for a bunch of ill-suited bands?

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Thursday, 8 January 2009 20:10 (thirteen years ago) link

Black Flag too

tylerw, Thursday, 8 January 2009 20:14 (thirteen years ago) link

saw 'em with Alice n Chains

Fox Force Five Punchline (sexyDancer), Thursday, 8 January 2009 20:54 (thirteen years ago) link

The idea of Beat Haps opening for Fugazi, Flag and phucking AIC make me think they were the punkest band of ever.

Calling All Creeps! (contenderizer), Thursday, 8 January 2009 20:57 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah i think there's a story in Our Band Could Be Your Life about Rollins losing his mind over how wimpy Beat Happening was ...

tylerw, Thursday, 8 January 2009 21:15 (thirteen years ago) link

choice deadpan stage quote from Calvin at above Alice gig:
"We're not like other bands here tonight. (awkward pause) We're punk rock.(awkward pause) Fuck You."

Fox Force Five Punchline (sexyDancer), Thursday, 8 January 2009 21:21 (thirteen years ago) link

it almost becomes performance art at that point-- i've always loved beat happening's ability to piss off aggro-punk and grunge kids

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Thursday, 8 January 2009 23:00 (thirteen years ago) link

i've found calvin a bit gross and pointless for years but BH from jamboree thru to you turn me on were really fantastic, jamboree blew my mind when i first got it (i wonder if i still have that tape?). you turn me on was the only album they released after i got into them and it was so exciting hearing their new stuff on the radio. tiger trap is a monster tune.

also calvin gets major points for having the most unlikely vocal style for a "twee" band

Lemonade In Hammocks (electricsound), Thursday, 8 January 2009 23:37 (thirteen years ago) link

however the next band to cover indian summer gets kicked in the jewels

Lemonade In Hammocks (electricsound), Thursday, 8 January 2009 23:40 (thirteen years ago) link

what bands other than Luna do it?

tylerw, Thursday, 8 January 2009 23:45 (thirteen years ago) link

^^ yes this is actually getting really annoying. a lot of modern twee bands do it

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Thursday, 8 January 2009 23:46 (thirteen years ago) link

manhattan love suicides

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Thursday, 8 January 2009 23:47 (thirteen years ago) link

"i can't argue with an opinion, but why the hell did you even click on this thread dude?
imo, beat happening>>>>>>>>>>>any other american band of the last 30 years"

You think only your view is allowed on the thread? Thread is about Beat Happening and, in theory, range of views on them. In practice, almost everyone on the thread is super-positive.

"any discouragement that could lead someone to just not trying in the first place has to be overruled" = anyone who disagrees with you must not post.

Believe me, there is not much danger that any view I express could affect what music the kids want to listen to.

I listened to 'Redhead Walking' again after posting yesterday and realized I didn't like it that much after all.

Best thing I'm aware of the band doing: 'Cry For A Shadow', purely because it generated a magnificent cover by The Shapiros. I've not heard a good version by BH themselves.

They're probably not totally worthless, and have probably had some positive cultural effects overall and encouraged the creativity of others; but in themselves I certainly think they're very overrated and don't sound very nice.

the pinefox, Friday, 9 January 2009 10:10 (thirteen years ago) link

your opinions would be considerably more palatable if you weren't such a complete douche about expressing them

Lemonade In Hammocks (electricsound), Friday, 9 January 2009 12:47 (thirteen years ago) link

^^ yup, anyway:

Wear a pearl necklace if you think of it
I'll run the red river but not drink of it

Calling All Creeps! (contenderizer), Friday, 9 January 2009 16:55 (thirteen years ago) link

^^ favorite

Calling All Creeps! (contenderizer), Friday, 9 January 2009 16:56 (thirteen years ago) link

Probably mine too actually. I spent ages trying to find out where that song came from (a friend put it on a mix tape for me). Tried in vain to find it on CD then got a job where I had internet and bought the 7" off Ebay, might have been my first ever Ebay purchase thinking about it. Either that or the Avengers LP.

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE UP TO (Colonel Poo), Friday, 9 January 2009 16:58 (thirteen years ago) link

hey day from YTMO. TUNE!

andrew m., Friday, 9 January 2009 17:11 (thirteen years ago) link

ferget the review (spin?) that said on YTMO beat happening discovered weed. ha! so true.

andrew m., Friday, 9 January 2009 17:13 (thirteen years ago) link

beat happening came into my life at the exact same time i was teaching myself to play and got my first 4track and all that business. gave me real 'i can do this!' feelings. so always and forever C for me.

andrew m., Friday, 9 January 2009 17:15 (thirteen years ago) link

Not really sure why, but Black Candy is my favorite.

FUTURE HOOS: stronger better faster hooser (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Friday, 9 January 2009 17:19 (thirteen years ago) link

Could be because it's awesome?

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE UP TO (Colonel Poo), Friday, 9 January 2009 17:22 (thirteen years ago) link

You Turn Me On is their best album. Don't care if it's because of weed or not. Jamboree comes really close though.

Calvin always knew what he was doing re: performances wrt Calvin offstage vs. on stage. He's proudly a weirdo, but always plays/played a different kinda weirdo on stage.

I'm glad the band were written about in Az's book, as there were info tidbits I didn't previously know, but the implicit reason for cheerleading them in the chapter was UGH

best post Beat Happening is actually in Land Of The Loops records via Heather Lewis's guest vocals. "Patience" = winner

909090909 Rivethed Brikkchin Reverk now DANZ (Mackro Mackro), Friday, 9 January 2009 17:23 (thirteen years ago) link

You think only your view is allowed on the thread? Thread is about Beat Happening and, in theory, range of views on them.

no, i just feel like it takes a pretty bored/angry person to not only decide to click on a thread for a band he knows he doesn't like, but also to go to the trouble of posting his ill-formed opinions about said band. it's not like they're on the cover of magazines these days, rubbing their immense popularity in your face, etc. i realize that the thread is C OR D but i also think the point of beat happening is that it's sorta supposed to sound like a dud if you just give it a forced or cursory listen.

anyway, just checked out 'shield around the k' last night and it was actually a pretty good watch, if only because of the incredible performance footage of calvin/bh (having a significant portion including rose melberg and tiger trap didn't hurt either).

it also pointed out the obvious re: calvin's networking skills, OP magazine as a way of exporting the northwest indie scene to places like dc, etc. i guess he even had ian mackaye work the doors at the first international pop underground fest in olympia.

oh and dean wareham also covered indian summer. he covered a lot of stuff, though

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Friday, 9 January 2009 22:05 (thirteen years ago) link

eugenius and (more recently) the manhattan love suicides have covered it too

Lemonade In Hammocks (electricsound), Monday, 12 January 2009 01:58 (thirteen years ago) link

'ill-formed opinions' = opinions you don't share

the pinefox, Monday, 12 January 2009 02:40 (thirteen years ago) link

do you genuinely believe what you just wrote?

Lemonade In Hammocks (electricsound), Monday, 12 January 2009 02:45 (thirteen years ago) link

i think there are legit reasons why one wouldn't like this band but saying they "don't sound very nice" does indeed seem like an underdeveloped thought.

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Monday, 12 January 2009 03:22 (thirteen years ago) link

haha you already mentioned MLS, i r lacking in reading skills

Lemonade In Hammocks (electricsound), Monday, 12 January 2009 03:27 (thirteen years ago) link

ye someone else also mentioned luna before i said something about dean wareham

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Monday, 12 January 2009 03:36 (thirteen years ago) link

classic

Pete Scholtes, Monday, 12 January 2009 21:31 (thirteen years ago) link

Oops, I said so already upthread. Still, then.

Pete Scholtes, Monday, 12 January 2009 21:33 (thirteen years ago) link

Spectrum also covered Indian Summer

Fox Force Five Punchline (sexyDancer), Monday, 12 January 2009 21:37 (thirteen years ago) link

I happened to see Mr. Johnson play an extremely strange unamplified solo appearance in Eugene. This would have been post-BH, maybe 2004. 'Twas him and Tiger Saw and somebody else.

You know how sometimes a musician will drag out an intro by alternating two chords for a while and talking over it? Calvin did this, but instead of doing it for 30 seconds did it for like 15 minutes, telling a rambling and not especially coherent story about driving to Montana to buy some used shirts. And it was weirdly riveting because we're sitting there thinking "Surely he's going to begin the song now." "Okay, maybe now." "Now? Nope. How about now?"

I can't say I have listened to all the BH there is but my wife loves them. So, um, classic.

Ye Mad Puffin, Monday, 12 January 2009 21:51 (thirteen years ago) link

i have nearly reversed my opinion of this band in the six(!) years since I posted above. I was 18, gimme a break. I only like a few of the longer songs on "you turn me on" at this point. maybe a scattered handful of earlier tracks.

ian, Tuesday, 13 January 2009 05:13 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah i think there's a story in Our Band Could Be Your Life about Rollins losing his mind over how wimpy Beat Happening was ...

― tylerw, Thursday, January 8, 2009

Not sure if this is exactly right. Henry was from DC and buddies with Ian Mackaye who knew Calvin who had relatives in the DC area. I think he knew what Beat Happening was like and deliberately chose them to open. I met Calvin back then in DC when I was writing for OP and he came by the U. of Maryland college radio station. We used to talk about dc go-go records. I like Calvin and some Beat Happening but not all.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 13 January 2009 05:25 (thirteen years ago) link

here are those mixtape tracklists btw: http://yarnlazer.com/calvintapes/

the disco ones do look damn interesting

all-seeing eye of horus (psychgawsple), Sunday, 18 January 2009 20:31 (thirteen years ago) link

from here: http://www.furious.com/perfect/beathappening.html
"But Beat Happening was also hated by their underground peers. For instance, when the band opened for Black Flag at the Tropicana, Henry Rollins famously heckled Calvin Johnson, including grabbing Calvin's crotch mid-song. "There seemed to be a lot of animosity directed towards us," Calvin says."

tylerw, Sunday, 18 January 2009 22:53 (thirteen years ago) link

at least sonic youth and beck like them...

Zeno, Sunday, 18 January 2009 22:55 (thirteen years ago) link

ten years pass...

They make a lot of rules
They tell a lot of lies
If we don't wanna, we won't behave
And they can't make us 'cause we can't be made

i could chug a keg of you (flamboyant goon tie included), Monday, 14 October 2019 16:21 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

“By disrupting the status quo concept that music must be polished, practiced, and public, Beat Happening helped crack open a world for new voices usher in a wave of cloying, obnoxious mediocrity that continues unabated to this very day”

worst band, now and forever

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 9 December 2019 13:07 (two years ago) link

surprised Calvin hasn't been #metoo'd tbh

Οὖτις, Monday, 9 December 2019 16:46 (two years ago) link

That too

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 9 December 2019 17:00 (two years ago) link

Reading this thread, LOL that there was ever any question about Rollins hating beat happening... getting pissed off about a band that he perceived as wimpy/weak/meek, yeah gosh that doesn't sound like rollins at all, lol

warn me about a lurking rake (One Eye Open), Monday, 9 December 2019 17:16 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

most of my favourite Beat Happening songs are Heather songs anyway tbh

I've had a CD-R of Jamboree for a long time, but just got a cheap CD copy in the mail. There's probably a thread for this: gap between your three favourite songs and the rest of the album. I love "Indian Summer," "Cat Walk," and "Drive Car Girl" so much, and the rest of the album does nothing for me.

clemenza, Thursday, 12 May 2022 18:14 (one week ago) link


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