Living Breathing Music - Happiness is Fabulous (Weird Forest CD-R)
I've been involved in debates recently regarding the pros and cons of artists releasing everything they record. I'm for it and my argument is, who really gives a shit? It doesn't bust my stones any if groups out there strive for that kind of documentation, and besides, you pretty much know what you're getting yourself into if you buy a Wolf Eyes or a Sunburned Hand of the Man ltd. 30 CD-R. After awhile you realize you can't exactly expect too many (any) hidden gems or anything of that sort, so who cares if it sucks? Besides, it's a CD-R. You could make your own CD-R too even if you're totally inept music-wise and it would hardly be a penny out of your pockets. But there's a difference between releasing everything and peppering the discrography with a steady strem of solid releases and just releasing bullshit because releasing a CD-R won't hardly cost you a penny out of your pockets (see?). I suppose over-documentation and the information overload era we currently live in can be a hang-up, but what hangs me up even more is when new groups come around and make no visible attempt to distinguish themselves from the worst remnants of a prolific group's output.
Living Breathing Music are Kevin, Amy, Chris, Nick, Troy, Loren and Chad and they recorded this one, hour-long track dubbed "Happiness is Fabulous" on September 2nd, 2004 for the vaunted KDVS radio station in California. I've never heard of the band before nor any of their affiliated groups - Klondike & York, Antennas Erupt, My Whole Hand Was Wet, Tally Bland and Black Bottles, although I think the second one rings a faint bell now that I type it out. I don't even know if LBM have recorded together before, but I sure hope not. Across these 56 minutes, LBM lay out some of the most lame and contrived moves in the short history of New Weird whatever, all in the name of stoned hippie-dom. Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm advocate of stoned hippie-dom in some of the worst and cheesiest senses of the term, but this one grates even on me. The only thing this disc has pulling for it is that somebody brought a sax to the gig which I'm always a sucker for, but other than that this is like a checklist/accompanyment to the August 2003 issue of the Wire (you know the one): aimlessly strummed guitar? Check. Limp-wristed percussion? Check. Unintelligible vocals? Check. Chimes and bells? Check. Synth and keyboard drones? Check. Drop the proverbial needle anywhere and you're liable to hit on any/all of the above going through the motions as one. And don't get me wrong - I think anybody's who's read through these pages with a degree of regularity knows that I can get down with some of the most predictable stuff on earth if it's at least executed well. But this? I can't even find the words. The label blurb speaks to the effect that "Happiness" is "definitely for fans of Avarus and No-Neck Blues Band" and that's precisely where they've gone wrong. Why in the world would anybody pick this up over, say, just about anything released by the aforementioned groups? Or even something by Sunburned, whose discography can vary so wildly in quality that it'll irritate you to no end but man at least that's a reaction. "Happiness" is just in a permanent state of catatonia from beginning to end.
It's weird how Weird Forest stuck me with what are (in my opinion at least) a couple of duds because they've also released some classics in their day: Yellow Swans' "Psychic Secession", Hair Police's "Drawn Dead", Eikenskaden, Dead Raven Choir, Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice...classics all much more worth your time and money then this, in any event. But I digress.