Photo by Bob Doran

Live Show Review: Scuber Mountain and Moon Pine 1/16/16 at Humbrews: The Pajama Party

Laird Allen, contributor

Scuber Mountain is a musical oddity. In a town where bands wear their influences on their sleeves or take great pleasure in shameless copycatting, Scuber Mountain does all original tracks that defy easy categorization. Is it some kind of jazz? Is it elevator music from an alternate universe where winged whales and fair trade opium are a major component of daily life? Do they just love beer and hate being in prison and/or college?
All of these interpretations are supported by the text, but what matters is the feel. Scuber Mountain shows tend to be pajama or communism-themed, but musicians get in on the act with an assortment of onesies and laser pointers and accented fiends proclaiming death threats from the sound booth. The whole feel is one of surpassing competence under constant assault, a band that is professional, tight, well rehearsed, and in some kind of terrible trouble that causes them to be bedeviled by nonsense and soviet agents.
The music is great too, not simple or easy stuff. With an emotional range, one that wanders from a sort of gleeful maliciousness to self-pity to other-people-pity, to furiously smoking weed to take your mind off of not getting laid for a whole goddamn semester. That’s not just my interpretation. The song is called “Celibate Semester,” and the events I describe take place in the verses. They have a number of epics centering around the lives of various Lost Coast luminaries, most of whom die or are eaten by sharks, some of whom enact  terrible revenge on the rivers of the world, at least one of whom is “fictional anyway, so why are we getting so concerned?”
The charm of Scuber Mountain is fantastic. Intensely focused, precisely instrumented, and deadpan, they are just having the best goddamn time on that stage and they will not even hint at it for you. The songs are dense and dancy and fun and reward both casual listening and early morning drives with the stereo up. They’re golden oldies from a world that never was, and you get to hear them live. You lucky bastard. Get out there.

About Ben Allen

Our music editor Ben Allen was born one stormy evening in a quaint Northern California coastal village. Upon birth he was immediately exposed to the soothing analog sounds of artists such as Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Captain Beefheart and Santana. As the lad grew, so did his appreciation for an assortment of abrasive hard rock. A pubescent flirtation with butt metal was shattered in the early 1990’s by exposure to Nirvana and other so-called “Alternative” bands. While in college, our protagonist became a DJ on a local station, and began work as a freelance music journalist. During this period he became entranced with artists such as Tortoise, Slint, Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices and Pavement. Currently Allen resides in Arcata, CA where he continues to obsess and salivate over new recordings by his favorite artists. He works with music industry people to ensure that Savage Henry’s contributors receive music and other promotional materials. He also writes a silly monthly list titled “Ben’s 10.”

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