Monster Movie is a dream-pop band from London. Most of the time, they are incorrectly referred to as “a band that rose from the ashes of Slowdive”. That, simply, isn’t true. Not entirely, anyway. According to their bizarre and very self-derogatory autobiography, Christian Savill and Sean Hewson started a band in 1989 on a lark. They were in their late teens, and they were called The Geeks. They renamed themselves Eternal, then much later, Monster Movie. Here’s what the “bio” says:
We put out a record on Sarah Records but Sean wasn’t on it so it didn’t go Top Ten. We performed one gig which was 90% guitar tuning, 10% confusion. Christian, very sensibly, cried until Slowdive let him join them and they went on to invent Jazz-Funk.
After Slowdive broke up, Christian was anxious to play with someone uglier than him again and so we were back together. Though not romantically. We wrote some songs about sex toys and no one liked us. It was just like the old days.
(In 1999), we work in an office – we hate it. We try to listen to modern music – we hate it. So, we try to make the music we want to hear. We hate that too but decide to call ourselves Monster Movie and carry on with it anyway. In our minds we are a modern Krautrock band so we call ourselves after a Can album that we have never heard. In reality we are a pop band with weird bits.
(After the first album), we then decide that we don’t need Martin’s (producer Martin Nichols) help and record our second album – To The Moon – without him. It’s terrible – good songs, badly realised.
It goes on for a bit, but that’s the important part. There’s supposed to be a connection to Asheville, NC. However, I have no idea what that connection is.
I guess from a purist standpoint, I guess you could say that it is exactly the case that Monster Movie rose (like a Phoenix) from the ashes of Slowdive. Technically, that myth is about a bird experiencing a rebirth after his nest goes up in flames. That’s precisely what happened with Monster Movie after Slowdive broke up and rebranded. Rebirth. However, when people use the phrase “rise from the ashes of”, they almost always mean that something brand new emerged from something that blew up.
I don’t know whether To the Moon is indeed “terrible”, because it’s the only Monster Movie album that I own. I have nothing to compare it against. Standing on its own, I think it’s just fine. Sure, it’s not Slowdive, but it’s good.
Officially, Savill and Hewson are the only members of Monster Movie. Although she isn’t credited in the liner notes, Rachel Goldstar sings on at least six songs from this album, including today’s song.
Today’s song is about an asteroid which might strike Earth in the year 2880. There’s some heavy-duty astronomy-geek details about the scale that they use to determine the “impact hazard”. I literally have no idea what any of it means. Although asteroid 1950da has the highest probability among all asteroids of striking earth, NASA scientists predict that
there is no reason for concern over 1950 DA. The most likely result will be that St. Patrick’s Day parades in 2880 will be a little more festive than usual as 1950 DA recedes into the distance, having passed Earth by.
Anyway, this is that song:
“1950da” by Monster Movie
I like the low-fi super-fuzzy wall of sound element of the song. It sounds almost like it could be on The Apples in Stereo album Velocity of Sound. It’s really atypical of Monster Movie. Or at least it’s not in stride with the other songs on the one album that I have. That’s part of what makes it fun.
I checked the internets for the lyric sheet to your song du jour, and the first place that returned anything was (wait for it)…. the NASA website. I’m not even kidding.
Here’s a bit of those lyrics:
800 years away
another biblical day
Some people might run
little timid runaways
looking for a hideaway
Nobody can hide
from a giant tidal wave
Unless their science finds a way
Of course the scientists are saying that it won’t be a biblical day, but “it’ll pass us by without doing any harm” doesn’t rhyme with “800 years away” and “1950da”.
To The Moon was released on Clairecords, and it fell out of print for several years. However, some unsold copies were discovered, and you can get one of those from the Tone Vendor Distribution web store. Alternately, you can use the amazon store to get a “like-new” copy for a little less. Of course they also sell digital downloads, if that’s your thing.