Camper Van Beethoven, 'Northern California Girls': Exclusive Song Premiere
Band Says First New Album in Nine Years Is Heavily Influenced By 'Holland'-era Beach Boys
"La Costa Perdida," Camper Van Beethoven's first new album in nine years was the result of a fortuitous concert postponement.
The group's David Lowery tells Billboard that some unseasonably inclement weather during June of 2011 in Big Sur, Calif., forced a CVB show to be pushed back a week. While the group cooled its heels at multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Segel's house in Oakland, it wound up getting to work on its follow-up to the 2004 rock opera "New Roman Times."
Watch the Lyric Video for 'Northern California Girls'
"We said, 'You know, we need to make another album. We have this opportunity. Let's see what happens,' " Lowery recalls. "So we wrote most of this record in that week we had to wait for the show." And while Lowery says the 10-song "La Costa Perdida" -- which comes out Jan. 22 -- is a little looser than "New Roman Times," CVB still found a theme to hang the material around.
"Somehow I started reading about what was the deal with the hippies and northern California back in the 60s, and we're a northern California band so we started digging into that," Lowery explains. "There's Henry Miller, the (Jack) Kerouac stuff. We just kind of got into this northern California sort of thematic place, and that's largely what this record is, a little portrait of that coast of California -- the lost coast, they call it, so it's called 'La Costa Perdida.'"
Stylistically, Lowery calls the band-produced album "the fake hippie/surfer side of Camper Van Beethoven. It's like Camper Van Beethoven leaning towards the Beach Boys' Big Sur period and the Grateful Dead. There's this Beach Boys album called 'Holland' that we have long had a fascination with in Camper, and we sort of ended up paying tribute to it by accident." The track "Northern California Girls," he says, also takes a page out of the Beach Boys' songbook; "Instead of 'California Girls' I started fucking around and singing about northern California girls," he says. "Then I very quickly developed a story to it and finished it off."
CVB has a trio of West Coast shows remaining this year, then will hit the road shortly before "La Costa Perdida's" releasing, beginning Jan. 18 in Philadelphia. Lowery expects the group to tour fairly extensively to support the album. And he also predicts that fans won't have to wait quite as long for the band's next set since it recorded an additional seven songs during the sessions that weren't used.
"We kind of conceptually kept the ones that made up the northern California part of the album together and held the other ones back for an album we'll start working on again in the next year sometime," he says. "So no, I don't think it will be another nine years this time."