Thursday, April 03, 2008

Nerf Herder

Today in Music History:

In 1993 Elton John’s “Simple Life,” from his 1992 album 'The One,' enters Billboard’s Top Forty. With this charting single, John breaks Elvis Presley’s longstanding record with 24 consecutive years of Top Forty hits.

Nerf Herder
My good friend Pete over at the Planetary Group is great at keeping me informed about new music which is where I got my first gander at Nerf Herder's forthcoming album IV, which is set to hit stores on April 29. Yes Nerf Herder is a band and they are probably most noted for composing the theme tune to the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and for their 1996 single "Van Halen", a parody tribute to the band of the same name, which attracted significant radio airplay and led to their first major record deal.

Now if you're a major geek nerd such as myself, then you already know where they got their name. If you are unsure I shall enlighten you. The band takes their name from a Star Wars reference — a "nerf herder" is a fictional occupation referred to by Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, when she insults Han Solo for arrogantly asserting that she has romantic feelings for him: "Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!" Apparently a nerf herder is a lower class outdoorsman who spends his days safeguarding the nerfs on various planets across the universe. They can best be compared to the American cowboy or shepherds of old in their steadfast pursuit of an independent lifestyle. They generally wear old, worn out work clothes and carry simple projectile weapons as well as staves they use to drive obstinate nerfs out of their hiding places. Due to their significant skills in fieldcraft and gunplay, as well as not having the resources to bathe and change their clothes often, the rest of the "civilized" universe looks down upon them.

Enough of that though and more about the band. They describe themselves as a "nerd rock" band, and are known for simplistic modern pop punk-style songs with frequently humorous, juvenile and pop-culture-referencing lyrics. Between 1996 and 2002 they had put a few albums under their belt, but after the final tour dates promoting their album American Cheese the band had disintegrated, without announcing an official split in 2003, and a post by on the band's website some time afterwards detailed how most of the former band members had gone on to get "proper jobs". In late 2005, however, Nerf Herder made a surprise comeback, announcing on their website that they were playing a handful of gigs with the original lineup of Parry Gripp (vocals, guitar), Charlie Dennis (bass) and Steve Sherlock (drums). For Parry's May 7, 2007 review of the day, he announced that the original lineup had finally finished recording their 4th album.

This is an album that homercat is heartily recommending. Chock full of pop culture references, witty and humourous lyrics abound and the music is great. For the last week(at least twice a day) I've been playing this album more than anything else in my library and really enjoying it. Not a klunker to be found here folks. A couple of the songs had me laughing out loud and really to sum it all up this album is stuck in my head. Honestly this is my favorite album so far of 2008. Nerf Herder IV is destined to make my top ten list at the end of the year. My advice pre order it now. Why take my word though, here's a couple samples.

Garage Sale by Nerf Herder
High School Reunion by Nerf Herder
Buy It

Funny Toon