Reviews

Business Casual

Author: Colin Moon
10/07/2006 | Nevernews.com | www.nevernews.com | Album Review
What's In My Wallet: 03 - Beep Beep - Business Casual


If you're going to have a sass-tastic dance party at, say, Brando's house, there are two main staples—Beep Beep's Business Casual and Blood Brother's Crimes (of which I'll be writing about on Monday), with some Fever to Tell thrown in for good measure.


Pretty much, my record collection works like this now: I get everything. The ladies at my post office know me by name now, and like to call my daily pile of packages my 'fan mail'. In reality, it's all promo materials from X number of labels, book presses, and loving, adoring artists.


Back in the day, though, my record collection worked like this: if Saddle Creek released it, I had to own it. I had my other trains of thought, of course (Deep Elm, Polyvinyl, and Hush were my other top labels back in the day, though by the point of the release of this record, Deep Elm and Polyvinyl had been edged out by Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar and whoever was releasing The Appleseed Cast at that point), but The Creek has always been my top dog; never have I been disappointed by a Creek record—even if I felt Fall Back Open was little more than Andy Lemaster's wet-dream.


I was living in Laramie when BC rolled out of the SC gates; the nearest place to see major tours was Denver, a two-hour drive that I rarely made by myself. As a result, there had to be a damn good reason to venture out, along with enough interest amongst my posse to rationalize a carpool.


Luckily, one such event was The Faint. They were playing with TV on the Radio (who, at that time, I hadn't heard) and Beep Beep, whose two downloadable tracks on the Creek site had neither enthralled me or put me off the one time I had listened to them both; it was a rough semester, you see, and I was hitting the bottle pretty hard.


I made my way down to the show with a few female friends (I'm not sure if there were other boys involved—if there were, we got separated in the pit and, thus, my memory has promptly deleted them). It was election day, 2004. I was behind on my record collection, behind in school, and bitter at the constant back and forth politics I was witnessing in the media (I had sort of dedicated myself to this sense of anger and political awareness—not much got through to me that month outside of poll news).


Needless to say, Beep Beep blew me away.


The sheer energy was almost as impressive as the sound I was hearing—and I say that unlike how I term records I'm reviewing 'energetic': these guys, seriously, were a ball of sexergy—a roiling wave of sticky, sweaty sass. They blasted through their set, and every fucking person in that venue was dancing the furtive, jerky sass dance that music like Beep Beep's provokes—there wasn't an unsweaty person in the club. Eric Bemberger has two matching guitars next to him, just in case his quirky, jumpy way of playing breaks some strings—and it did that night. Joel Peterson is Joel Peterson; he has that funny, precious swagger to him as he plays. Chris Hughes is fucking insane, but maybe less so than Eric—but he's got goggles instead of glasses because he freaks the fuck out as he plays. And it is astounding. Mike Sweeney is the one member of the band I didn't really get a good look at—hidden away behind that giant wall of drums—but I assume him to be just as fucking awesome as the other guys.


The rest of the show was a sort of downhill slope—TV was astounding in a completely different way, and then I got in a fight during the Faint, so I didn't really get to enjoy them.


After my tussle in the pit, I went out to the lobby to get some water—I would have gone out for a smoke but this was before I started actively seeking lung cancer. Two kids were out there, talked to me about the dicks I fought, and then I went up to the merch booth and ended up talking to Eric, who took two pieces of notebook paper backstage to get signed (my best friend, Megan, had recently had a birthday and my then-girlfriend, who loves the Faint, couldn't make it that night), and brought them back with every member of all three bands, plus a slew of other Creekers (Lemaster, Orenda and Maria, etc.). I got laid that night.


After the show, Eric asked us if we knew who our president was yet. We were still hopeful at that point, sort of joking about it. We left the venue and into a world where, while undecided, ultimately ended up with another stolen election.


I bought Business Casual that night, and we listened to it on the way home (I'm starting to think that fellow Never Newser Brando was there, too—but wasn't this too early for me to know Brando? Fuck, I don't know)--and, upon listening to the whole album, I was in love. Nothing else had ever sounded like that to me; even other sassy bands with the same corral of influences missed the mark completely.


Somehow, Beep Beep had tapped into a genius side realm of independent rock—a place where most are reluctant to go but where, really, I'd like to live. The songs add up to a disjointed, upsetting view of the world—girls who become unwilling porn stars, poison candy (gooey, chewy candy), and off-set looks at office responsibility. It's a disturbed world view, but a place where, at the time, I was more comfortable than the world I was in—trapped in a relationship I was unhappy with, in school and hating it, under a presidency I loathed, and stuck writing the same bullshit lines over and over again.


Something about the completely unhinged quality of the guitars and the all-too sexual tone of the songs was very comforting—a comfort that, really, I hadn't experienced in a record since Cursive's Domestica; things were changing for me and things were changing in music and, somehow, Beep Beep was building a bridge for me.


Something in the erratic nature of the music—where out of nowhere a word becomes a pant of lust, where sometimes a spare noise makes the song, where people can sing boner and I don't feel like I'm twelve—has both a lifting and healing quality for me; while it's less than half an hour in length, I don't know that I've ever felt a more cathartic, releasing half an hour (even now, as I play it to write this article).


For a solid three months, this record played in every car I drove and every room I lived in on a near daily basis—I'd hop behind the wheel of my girlfriend's car, put this in, and skip directly to track five (Electronic Wolves). Around the time this record came out, my entire life went through a sort of paradigm shift; I started hanging out with what, largely, I now consider my family. My depression was spiraling out of control (as was my drinking), and, eventually, I ended up with a suicide attempt. While lying in the hospital, I craved this record—longed for it.


Also, I have a very distinct pair of memories of this new, expanded and connected family and this record, both in cars—the first involves the one time I borrowed my girlfriend's car and Chris Roozen (the vocalist for the now defunct group Michael J. Parkinson's) drove to Ft. Collins to go to court and buy comics. Chris was singing along and doing the strangest, sexiest little furry man dance of all time. The second was in my van, driving to Nik White's wedding (Nik was the guitarist of McKinsey and now plays in Phantasmagoria)--a van full of kids, and we're all screaming along with this record.


So, thanks, Beep Beep. You provided a soundtrack to the most turbulent and, eventually, happiest periods of my life. I love you.
Business Casual

Business Casual

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