New Roman Times

New Roman Times
New Roman Times
Studio album by Camper Van Beethoven
Released October 12, 2004
Recorded 2004 (?)
Genre Alternative
Length 67:22
Label Pitch-a-Tent/Vanguard
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Camper Van Beethoven chronology
New Roman Times
Discotheque CVB: Live in Chicago

New Roman Times is an album by musical group Camper Van Beethoven, released October 12, 2004 on Pitch-A-Tent Records. It is the band's first studio album of new material since they released Key Lime Pie in 1989 before dissolving in 1990.

The core lineup on the album consists of David Lowery, Jonathan Segel, Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher, Chris Pedersen and David Immerglück, all who played in earlier lineups of the band. With former Camper member Chris Molla participating on a few songs as well, the album features many members featured in the band's late 80s heyday. The album also features some songwriting and musical contributions by Johnny Hickman, the guitarist in Camper frontman David Lowery's other band Cracker, who was also a member of an early Camper Van Beethoven lineup. Cracker drummer Frank Funaro and accordianist/keyboardist Kenny Margolis, both of whom are featured in Camper's live shows, are listed in the credits as "live band blood and guts," though it is not clear if they actually play on the record or not.

The album is set in a surreal, alternative universe in which the United States is split up into separate, hostile countries. Texas is a right-wing, Christian country, while California is a left-wing utopian state, although in the story it is engulfed by civil war and occupied by right-wing security forces. This is a cryptic commentary on the red state/blue state political division that exists in the US.

The main character is a Texan around the age of twenty who enlists in the army after an event similar to 9/11 occurs. In the beginning of the story, he is very nationalistic and gung-ho about defending his country. He fights in the war and is wounded, losing a leg. He returns disabled and disillusioned with the fight. After an uprising in California, he joins the right-wing security force called "The Texas Bureau" that maintains peace there. After being disillusioned with that work as well, he joins the "rebels," who are portrayed as kind of hippie/skater/surfer eco-warriors who are allied with Mexico and with space aliens. At the end of the album, he prepares to be a suicide bomber, presumably for his new cause, although the album's deliberately obscure storytelling style makes the ending unclear. The album features other characters as well, including right-wing militia members, a retired intelligence officer, and mentally disturbed homeless people.

The title, in addition to commenting on the theme of the album, is a play on the typeface Times New Roman.

Track listing

  1. "Prelude" – 0:55
  2. "Sons of the New Golden West" – 2:55
  3. "51/7" – 4:44
  4. "White Fluffy Clouds" – 5:01
  5. "That Gum You Like Is Back in Style" – 4:56
  6. "Might Makes Right" – 2:46
  7. "Militia Song" – 2:10
  8. "R 'N' R Uzbekistan" – 1:13
  9. "Sons of the New Golden West Reprise" – 0:21
  10. "New Roman Times" – 4:47
  11. "The Poppies of Balmorhea" – 3:23
  12. "Long Plastic Hallway" – 5:09
  13. "I Am Talking to This Flower" – 2:30
  14. "Come Out" – 1:44
  15. "Los Tigres Traficantes" – 2:30
  16. "I Hate This Part of Texas" – 2:45
  17. "Hippy Chix" – 4:27
  18. "Civil Disobedience" – 6:25
  19. "Discotheque CVB" – 5:48
  20. "Hey Brother" – 2:46

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