Saturday, July 22, 2017

Last Listen From a Distant Drive

Prolific would not be the best word to describe the frequency of posts in these parts since the LTL Family returned from the Southwest. I'll try to do better. This will conclude the vacation snapshots. I'm sure this is starting to feel like Grandpa's tired slideshow at the family reunion.

Our trip to the Utah-Nevada-Arizona corridor wouldn't have been complete without some time at the Grand Canyon, and that's where I'm taking you today. Mrs. LTL and I used to go to Arizona every year to catch our beloved Chicago Cubs during spring training. After the birth of our first child, we had this ridiculous notion our life wasn't going to change one bit, and we took him along to spring training when he was a year old. Needless to say, that marked the last time we caught the Cubs in Mesa. That also meant we hadn't been to the Grand Canyon in 13 years, and our kids had never been there. It's a picturesque setting that never gets old. As usual, these photos don't do the ol' place any justice.

Due to the excessive heat, there was a slight haze I had never dealt with since we always saw the Grand Canyon in March when there would be snow. Still, my boys didn't know any better, and they enjoyed the different shades of orange and red that made up the rocky terrain.

We have plenty of elk here in the Pacific Northwest, but their relatives around the Grand Canyon were much much bigger. This fella was enjoying his leafy dinner at sunset.

As I mentioned in the previous two posts, I had many hours on the road to listen to the mix of 2017 songs I put together just before I left. The trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon was about four hours (one way!). Quite a few albums got a good airing, including two from Australia. I highly recommend 'Living Right' by Glaciers and 'Benefits of Solitude' by Dag. Both groups obviously grew up listening to the right bands from their home country. Like many of you, I have fallen hard for the charms of Sacred Paws, too. Can't get enough of those horns! The new single from the Fireworks is bound to be near the top of my songs of the year list. Beth Arzy from the Luxembourg Signal is fronting the band now, and I'm truly smitten.

As darkness set in on the vast highway, I put on slow burner 'Please Be Mine' by Molly Burch. It's an album I have had for quite a few months, but I believe the environment had something to do with me becoming completely taken by her sound this time around. You'll think of Dusty and Patsy and even Spector at times when the percussion kicks in. I never expected this right turn from our friends at Captured Tracks, but it has been most welcome.

I could go on and on, but that's what December is all about. OK, two more, then. I don't get a chance to go local too often, but Seattle's own Zebra Hunt is right up my alley. Lots of jangle and with a hint of that Australian scene I have been going on and on about since Chook Race, Community Radio and the Goon Sax came into my life last year. You're going to want to put latest album 'In Phrases' on your short list.

And now on to my home away from home. I do miss the Chicago scene (and Portillo's hot dogs!), and hearing 'Lost World' from Star Tropics has me thinking about the old days. As you must know by now, I'm mostly about '80s indie pop and all of the jangle that comes along with it. Star Tropics hearken back to that time but to a different branch of the tree. I have read the band is into the Sarah scene (there is even a song call "Another Sunny Day"), but what I have been hearing is New Order all over new album 'Lost World.' I guess it doesn't matter much what influenced their sound. I just know it's pushing my buttons.


drew said...

I love that Molly Burch track, another to add to the Be My Babies, playlist.

Great photos again Brian. If only the States wasn't so far to fly to I would definitely visit.

The Swede said...

Awesome photos Brian, just mindbogglingly terrific. I enjoyed the Molly Burch tune a great deal, but have run out of time and will return later to check out the rest of your recommendations. I'm particularly intrigued to hear Zebra Hunt. My favourite Australian releases so far this year have been from Terry and Hollow Everdaze plus The Prophet Hens from New Zealand.

Rol said...

Sounds like a great holiday. Love the Molly Burch track too: that's on my emusic list now.

C said...

Fantastic photos again, Brian. Not like looking through Grandpa's slideshow at a family reunion at all, it's far too select! I felt a bit giddy looking at both those Canyon shots full size and I appreciate, as you say, that photos can't do it justice. Can't imagine how it feels to see it -and even just to be able to see that far - in real life.

McPop said...

Brian, looks like a cool trip...I’ve flown over the Grand Canyon many many times but actually never physically been there. We keep talking about getting there so must do it some day.

Zebra Hunt and Glaciers albums are two of my fave releases of this year! I’ll check out other stuff you posted. What else is currently in rotation on my turntable? Hoops “Routines”, Diamond Hands, Biff Bang Pow! ‘Waterbomb”, Smart Remarks and The Modulators, Bodines and Apple Moths 12”, No Ones and Stephen’s Shore 7”.

I’ve been on a Sarah label kick lately, mostly CDs as the vinyl is incredibly hard to find for a reasonable price. Also recently acquired Cherry Red CD reissues of two Razorcuts albums ‘Storyteller’ and ‘World Keeps Turning’ (previously only had Storyteller on vinyl).

Oh and of course picked up the new C88 box set.

The Swede said...

My word Brian - that Zebra Hunt album is fantastic.

Brian said...

Drew and Rol, Watch out for that Molly Burch. It's a real grower. I'm really surprised it hasn't made a bigger mark.

Swede, All I have heard from the new Terry is the song you posted, but it was really good. Completely with you on the Prophet Hens. Glad you like that Zebra Hunt album. Seems to be getting some traction. I have seen some other bloggers touting it in recent weeks.

C, Thanks for taking an extra second to open up those photos. Helps a little, but I think it's one of those you just gotta be there situations. Hope you make it there someday. It's worth the trip.

McPop, Thanks for catching up. You know I always enjoy reading what you've got on the turntable. You named most of the reissues that are in my top 10 for the year so far. Did you know Burger Records recently released Waterbomb on cassette? Crazy times. I haven't heard Hoops or Diamond Hands, but I will check them out tonight. I have a pretty fair Razorcuts collection. Let me know if I can help you with anything. I'm a huge fan of Gregory Webster and find myself obsessed with Sportique these days. As for Sarah, we all have the same problem and have to settle for reissues put out by others, don't we?