April 19, 2007

YouTube Rodeo: Brushes with Mercury Rev's "Something For Joey"

Folks not familiar with Buffalo, NY-spawned Mercury Rev's back catalog may be surprised to learn that they once could almost out-Flaming Lips the Flaming Lips. And that at one point guitarist Jonathan Donahue played with the Lips; Rev bassist Dave Fridmann of course has recorded the Lips many times. The Allmusic entry for Mercury Rev is full of other revelations and we recommend reading it. We turned onto Mercury Rev, and this song in particular, long before we became Flaming Lips fans. We were in the brand-new-at-the-time studios of Bucknell University's radio station in late '93 or early '94 when we came across a cardboard box full of discarded promo materials sitting next to a brown plastic trash barrel. These included a demo cassette we still have featuring three tracks from Mercury Rev's sophomore set Boces, "Something For Joey," "Bronx Cheer" and "Snorry Mouth." We've listened to the tape hundreds of times, and yet we'd never seen the video above before stumbling upon it the other night. We didn't watch much TV in the early and mid-'90s, and we think that may be why. Or, perhaps because the video features at least one recognizable porn star, some topless women (tastefully covered with cartoon stars here) and suggestive (if silly) imagery it was never aired in the first place. All the same, this may be one of the best, or at least ridiculously excessive, music videos ever made. Note that this video is on YouTube with the permission of SonyBMG, but embedding is disabled. We guess AOL didn't get the memo on that, eh? Or they have better licensing terms. Here's some more classic Mercury Rev the band is offering at its site, a live performance of "Carwash Hair" from 1996.

Mercury Rev -- "Carwash Hair (Live)" -- Houston, TX 2/8/1996
[right click and save as]
[buy Mercury Rev records from Newbury Comics here]


ric dube said...

I was sort of obsessed with this period of Mercury Rev, when it was a particular joy to collect their CDs because they were obscenely prolific, releasing one CD-EP after the other, each nearly album length, and all of them well worth the attention and low price. They have never really hit this bar since. Some of these CDs seem to be available as used items through Amazon at absurdly low prices, others at absurdly high prices.

jbreitling said...

You must have the Harmony Rockets record then? Awesome. I was going to mention it in this item but I was in a rush to get out to the Tourfilter DJ night at River Gods. It looks like Rev just recently re-released it, according to the web site. Speaking of rushing last night -- in the piece when I said "demo" cassette I meant "promo" cassette.