Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More Songs For a Distant Drive

Did I mention our trip to the Southwest was a scorcher? I took this photo of the dashboard as we pulled into our hotel in Las Vegas after a long day of hiking and sightseeing. Note the time and temperature. The hottest day of all was when we ventured to Hoover Dam. We were ready to jump into Lake Mead when the mercury read 116 degrees! I have been to the Palm Desert a few times in my life, but I don't believe I have ever been in heat quite like that.

Seeing Hoover Dam was well worth the sweat and panting. I was filled with mixed emotions as I studied the beauty of the structure. It was built during the Great Depression, and I was fascinated by not just the mighty structure itself, but the beautiful art-deco details and finishes as well. Then your mind wanders to those that put themselves in harm's way and even died to complete the project. I couldn't help but wonder whether we would or even could build something this grand today. Here are a few more shots from that memorable day.





This has been a fantastic year for reissues and compilations, and I already have a solid top 10 with almost a half year to go. Here are a couple that got quite a bit of play while watching the odometer.


'Three Wishes: Part Time Punks Sessions' came out at the beginning of the year with little fanfare, and that's a real travesty. I mean, c'mon! This is the June Brides, 14 Iced Bears and Aberdeen recorded live from Los Angeles in 2011 by Rob Campanella of Brian Jonestown Massacre in what the Brides' Phil Wilson described as "the most rock 'n' roll day of my life." For indie-pop fans of a certain age, and you know who you are, hearing a new recording of 14 Iced Bears for the first time in 25 years should be enough to get you seeking this one out... along with that old anorak up in the attic.


Moving ahead a few years, if you have any recollection of German indie-pop label A Turntable Friend Records, then you know their stable of stars included the likes of Love Parade, the Apple Moths, the Claim, the Rileys, Boyracer and many more. I picked up 'The Test of Time' compilation at my local indie shop just before taking off on the trip, and I have never been happier to find this one in the bins because the shipping on this one would have been ridiculous. Forty tracks on three heavy pieces of vinyl housed in a dazzling tri-fold sleeve that includes an album-sized scrapbook of the label's history.

The packaging is nothing short of perfection. What a feast for the eyes. I especially love how you get a photo of the front and back sleeves of all the releases along with a comprehensive discography. There's just so much to look at while you're listening. 'The Test of Time' is a definite contender for compilation of the year! Here is a peek inside. Like those pictures from Hoover Dam, I wish I was able to take better photos because this doesn't really do the packaging justice, but here goes...

Back next time with one more go around of music and photos from the family vacation.

7 comments:

The Swede said...

The photos are absolutely fantastic Brian, glimpses of a world far removed from the one I inhabit. Having said all that, I'm not sure I could've coped with those temperatures! How do you do it? Hiking in it too? I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it!
These compilations sound great and have your name written all over them. What a nice job Turntable Friend did with the packaging, if only all labels paid that much care and attention to detail.

drew said...

Great photos Brian. I would have dissolved in that heat.

charity chic said...

Almost as hot as Glasgow in May!

TheRobster said...

Ridiculous heat, but awesome photos. I just have Bob Mould singing "Standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam...." in my head now.

C said...

Wow, stunning photos, Brian. Thanks for posting them. As The Swede says, a very different world to the one we're familiar with here, but not just great subjects, they're also great shots. (I couldn't help but be reminded of a famous photo of a lift though in pic 5, v glad not to see Trump and our own despicable Nigel Farage emerging from the gold)
Also agree about the Turntable packaging, clearly done with dedication and love.

Brian said...

Thanks for the great comments, everyone. About that heat. I grew up in the hot/humid confines of rural Illinois. I have lived in Japan, Washington, D.C. and Chicago twice. They were all tough climates for the heat. The last seven years, however, have been in Seattle. It's not all the different from Glasgow. Cool and rainy 10 months of the year. This trip confirmed what I assumed. My resolve has softened since moving to the Pacific Northwest. I caught a cold almost as soon as we came home, and I have been fighting congestion and a cough ever since. You just can't go from 110-plus temps every day to the 60s and 70s. Still, one of the best trips we have ever had. More on that next time. Can't recommend Hoover Dam enough. One of the most amazing man-made structures I have ever seen.

Swiss Adam said...

Greta pics Brian.