Harm Farm

  • Harm Farm
  • Spawn (Alias) 1990 
  • Nice Job, Einstein (Alias) 1991 

Because of their San Francisco home, prominent use of violin and spirited instrumental forays into ethnic territories, Harm Farm has no doubt gotten used to seeing the name Camper Van Beethoven mentioned in the first paragraphs of their clippings. CVB’s hijacking of original violinist Morgan Fichter would have doomed lesser bands, but Harm Farm survived, stronger than ever. Drummer Noah Chasin deftly jumped to fiddle, and Melanie Clarin (who played vital roles in the exceptional recorded outputs of both the Cat Heads and Donner Party) stepped in behind the skins. Produced by Henry Kaiser, Spawn is Appalachian mountain music on a skewer, waved about in all directions, raising up dust, and spearing bits of whatever it finds. The quartet is at its impressive best on wild twisted-tempo medleys like “Sleep/Señor Tuchus” and “Snapdragons»Greeneyedgirl,” and at its excusable worst on the intentionally silly (but still fairly irritating) “Clams.” Strong debut.

[Steven Grant]

See also: Camper Van Beethoven, Cat Heads, Donner Party