Chavez: Better Days Will Haunt You

By Ben Udashen

When you look at the back of the new Chavez retrospective Better Days Will Haunt You there is something that jumps out at you. It’s the pumping fists of college kids rocking out, with no smug smile on their faces, just unadulterated joy. Do you remember that? Rocking for the sake of rocking? Well, Chavez friggin’ rocked it back in the day and this is something I think we all could use a dose of.
Over the past few years indie rock has become more and more a celebration of posturing, pretension, and, of course, irony, so it’s nice to be reminded of how much this music can rock and just be great for the sake of being great. You don’t need to know any obscure references or have any kitschy tastes in mid ’70s Finnish Electro-Disco to be able to enjoy this great collection.

Coming out almost exactly ten years since their last album was released, Better Days Will Haunt You compiles literally everything Matt Sweeney and Co. ever recorded for Matador. There are so many great moments over these two CDs and one DVD. A lot comes from the great songs by Sweeney, best known for the fantastic Superwolf album he cut with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, which redeemed him for his slight involvement in the regrettable Billy Corgan project, Zwan. The combination of his guitar work, vocal stylings, and fantastic melodies are so infectious it hurts. Every time I listen to Laugh Track or Guard Attacks I find it spine chilling how well it all comes together. The rest of the band totally rules too, of course. There are few modern bands whose instrumental interplay can even touch Chavez. Seriously, if this doesn’t make you do any air drums or air guitar you might as well give up now. All kidding aside, the quality of this music is frighteningly consistent.

People always ask me what indie rock is. Some say it’s a totally vapid term that people just drop to look cool. Well, I have an answer, and it’s Chavez. So, if I haven’t offended you enough, run over to Cheapo and get this fantastic set—you’ll have a great time.