Beat Happening Crashing Through

When it comes to naming influential American bands in the world of indie music, one name keeps cropping up again and again, Beat Happening, yet they are a band that more people have heard of rather than have actually heard. However, just like is said of the Velvet Underground, most people who did hear them formed a band of their own. Calvin Johnson, Bret Lunsford and Heather Lewis were just that important. Their music wasn’t really punk, but it wasn’t pop either. Some people who heard it though it childlike and crude, but the way that it took garage, punk and pop influences and turned them into something so memorable was a lot more sophisticated than many people gave them credit for. Maybe it did sound like they didn’t know how to play, or that Calvin couldn’t really sing, but that was the whole point. Everything about Beat Happening was tied into that "do it yourself,” lo-fi philosophy that was exemplified by Calvin’s K Records, which not surprisingly released much of the band’s output. Unfortunately most of it has been out of print for several years and if ever there was a candidate for a comprehensive series of reissues, it is Beat Happening. Crashing Through, their much-delayed box set, includes all five of the Beat Happening albums that were released between 1985 and 1992, plus a sixth disc featuring many of the songs that were released on singles and EPs during their career. The seventh disc is a CD-Rom with footage from live shows, TV appearances, a couple of music video and so on. Naturally there’s also a comprehensive book (written by Lois Maffeo) that details the story of the band and features a wealth of unseen photos. If you’ve heard Beat Happening before, you’ll want this. If you’ve never heard them, you need this. But keep in mind that it is limited to 5,000 copies worldwide, so you’ll have to move fast. (K)