Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Thief Presents continues to throw down a gauntlet with its festivals. It seemed fair after so thoroughly upping the game earlier this year with Psycho CA that big things would be in store for that fest’s autumnal counterpart, the Day of the Shred, but when you come out of the gate like it’s no big deal and be like, “Oh hey Captain Beyond is playing our fest year whatever,” you’re officially killing it. You’ve got John Garcia, Yawning Man and Ides of Gemini together, which makes me wonder if Zun won’t make an appearance, and Spirit Caravan, Elder and Crowbar, along with a righteous ton of others, up to and including Portugal’s Black Bombaim. It gets a hearty and heartfelt fucking a.
Details from the PR wire:
Day of the Shred Festival to Light Up Southern California November 1
Dia de los Muertos-themed Concert Event to Feature Performances from Captain Beyond, Spirit Caravan, Crowbar, John Garcia, Mondo Generator, Torche and More
This fall, The Day of the Shred Festival returns to Southern California, presenting a diverse lineup of heavy music acts. Billed as an experience “to gather the living and remember the dead”, The Day of the Shred will take place on November 1 (Dia de los Muertos) in Santa Ana, CA. Celebrating monolithic riffs, skateboarding and the souls of the departed, the second annual festival will be an all day, all ages event. Presented by Thief – also the creators of the annual Psycho California Festival — The Day of the Shred will feature headliners Captain Beyond, Spirit Caravan, Crowbar, Torche, John Garcia (of Kyuss fame), Elder, Saviours, Mondo Generator and more.
Tickets for the 2015 Day of the Shred Festival are on sale now at this location. Early bird general admission tickets are $59 (+ tax) and a limited VIP ticket package (which includes express entry, a signed festival screen print, access to the artist lounge, complimentary microbrew and snacks, a limited edition record bag and an exclusive Thief X Obey concert shirt) is also available. What: Day of the Shred Fest 2015 Where: The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA Time: 2PM – 2AM Tickets:Eventbrite.com/e/day-of-the-shred-2015-tickets-17017683349
The just-announced lineup for The Day of the Shred 2015 is as follows:
CAPTAIN BEYOND SPIRIT CARAVAN CROWBAR JOHN GARCIA MONDO GENERATOR TORCHE ELDER SAVIOURS OXBOW FULL OF HELL THE BODY YAWNING MAN KOWLOON WALLED CITY BLACK BOMBAIM FIGHT AMP THOU NIGHT DEMON IDES OF GEMINI MOS GENERATOR GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST WHITE MANNA POOBAH COMMUNION BLACKWITCH PUDDING DUEL Stay tuned in to The Day of the Shred Fest via the Facebook event page and follow THE DAY OF THE SHRED on social media:
Posted in Features on February 6th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Fatso Jetson‘s current European tour alongside compatriots and fellow desert rock progenitors Yawning Man began last night, in Dortmund, Germany. The band is touring as a trio, with the father/son team of Mario and Dino Lalli switching off on guitar and bass while Tony Tornay drums. Absent are bassist Larry Lalli (Mario‘s cousin) and saxophonist Vince Meghrouni, who aren’t out of the band or anything, just couldn’t make the trip. So if Europe’s being treated to a somewhat rawer form of Fatso Jetson, they’re also getting an extra dose of desert jamming from Yawning Man, in which Mario Lalli plays bass alongside Gary Arce‘s guitar and, this time, Bill Stinson‘s drums. The plan is to have Dino, who’s 18 and has been sharing stages with his father for the last half-decade or so — the two playing together in Auto Modown prior to Dino actually joining Fatso Jetson — sit in on guitar and jam during Yawning Man‘s sets. Everything evens out one way or another.
Sounds more complicated than it is, maybe. The idea to take away from it is the amorphous nature of the two bands — a symbiosis between them — and Mario Lalli‘s pivotal contribution to both. This is a Fatso Jetson interview because that was most of what I wanted to ask about; his role on the tour and writing with his son, helping Dino find a creative voice while also progressing his own band after 2010’s excellent and underrated Archaic Volumes (review here), and whether the material they contributed to their 2014 split with Herba Mate (review here) was at all indicative of where Fatso Jetson‘s next record is headed. It just as easily could’ve been talking about Yawning Man and when one might at last expect a follow-up to 2010’s Nomadic Pursuits (review here), or Mario‘s 30-year collaboration with Arce, which has served as a foundational element in the creation of what we now call desert rock in no small part because that’s where they happened to be jamming out when they created it. That’s another interview, though. We’ll get there when the time comes.
It’s worth noting that the Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man tour is called “Legends of the Desert Volume II,” and indeed, it’s the sequel to a run the two groups did together back in 2013 that was built around appearances at Desertfest in London and Berlin. Says something about the ongoing first-exposure to their particular brand of heavy rock and roll that the two groups — whose sounds are complementary for sure but ultimately have two different styles — would find demand fervent enough for a repeat trek. In the end, you gotta give the people what they want. Fatso Jetson, as Lalli points out, has never done a full US tour, which is something they hope to change, but the next task seems to be recording. Their LP will be the first with Dino in the band, and while there’s a lot of history one can talk about with Mario Lalli, whose involvement in groups like Sort of Quartet and Yawning Man and Across the River and Fatso Jetson means he was the guy who was always there, it seemed that much truer to what he does musically to look forward rather than back. I hope you’ll agree.
Please find the complete Q&A after the jump, and enjoy.
The history behind Big Scenic Nowhere is nearly as complex as the desert ecosystem that gave birth to the project in the first place, and before I get into it, I want to send a personal thanks to Nick Hannon, bassist of the UK’s Sons of Alpha Centauri, who was kind enough to send me their demo. Hannon, who of course also plays in the just-reviewed Yawning Sons alongside Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce, and has appeared on split releases between Arce‘s WaterWays, Sons of Alpha Centauri and Australia’s Hotel Wrecking City Traders (who also had a collaboration with Arce out), as well as Yawning Sons and WaterWays, in different permutations of players working together and collaborating. Arce, whose guitar tone is one of the founding tenets of desert rock, is generally at the center, and that proves to be the case in Big Scenic Nowhere as well.
It seems unfair to call Big Scenic Nowhere a short-lived project considering that it involves Arce and bassist Mario Lalli, who’ve played together for over 25 years in Yawning Man, as well as drummer Tony Tornay, who doubles in Lalli‘s “other band,” Fatso Jetson, and could be heard last year propelling the formidable Napalm Records debut from Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, Black Power Flower (review here). But while these three know and have worked together for a long time one way or another, as Big Scenic Nowhere, their tenure was brief. The band was born out WaterWays, which featured vocalist Abby Travis in addition to Arce, Lalli and Tornay, when the recordings for their debut album got tied up in legal issues. Big Scenic Nowhere went back into the studio, re-recorded the tracks instrumentally, and set about releasing them on their own, posting them on YouTube, etc.
That was circa 2008/2009. In 2010, most of the WaterWays songs would surface on the aforementioned splits with Yawning Sons and with Sons of Alpha Centauri and Hotel Wrecking City Traders, so that material is out there. It exists. In the wake of that, Big Scenic Nowhere were just about done. Yawning Man, with Arce and Lalli, put out Nomadic Pursuits (review here) and Fatso Jetson, with Lalli (on guitar/vocals) and Tornay, put out Archaic Volumes (review here). That’s half a decade ago now, and the Big Scenic Nowhere CD was included as a bonus for anyone who purchased the splits. So far as I know, that and at shows were the only ways it ever officially came out, despite the fact that the original recordings of most of these songs, with Travis, have been released on those two split offerings.
Like I said, it’s a complex history.
But the end result is that Big Scenic Nowhere have wound up as this kind of hidden secret of Californian desert rock. The CD — you might note the shadow of the famous “Welcome to Sky Valley” sign on the dry cracked earth on the disc itself– contains all the dynamic turns one might expect from a Lalli/Tornay rhythm section and the signature bliss of Arce‘s guitar, and in addition to the six prior-recorded songs that would be later released by WaterWays, there are also the original “Bows and Arrows,” a cover of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and a live set from the Date Shed in Indio, CA, broken down into two separate jams and presented complete with a spoken introduction. All told, it’s a 57-minute collection that, particularly for fans of Yawning Man is probably worth being easier to track down than it is. Big Scenic Nowhere wound up in a strange position once the WaterWays stuff came out, but even instrumental, songs like “Waterways,” “Queen of the Passout Riders” and “Three Rivers” retain a memorable feel. Liner notes from Arce that explain the whole situation are included, so you can work your way through to how the tracks got to be what they are. Even out of context, however, they leave an impression, whether you heard the WaterWays splits or not.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I was lucky enough to be able to watch Yawning Man and Fatso Jetson play back to back at Desertfest London 2013. What an absolute blast it was, to see those two bands who by all rights should walk the earth as gods among men get on stage and show the entire room the roots of a sound they obviously hold very dear, myself included. Yawning Man looked like they could’ve played for four hours and Fatso Jetson were a punk/blues rager with Mario and Dino von Lalli nailing blinding turns on classic early material. So cool. Their split was new at that point, and Yawning Man‘s Nomadic Pursuits was fresh in mind as well, but even just to stand in front of the stage was one of those lucky-to-be-there moments.
And that’s my story about it. I’d call their upcoming European run nothing if not well named:
Yawning Man & Fatso Jetson to tour Europe in February 2015
Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man, two legendary bands whose roots are from the low desert area of Southern California and are well regarded amongst the underground heavy music community as pioneers of the “desert rock” scene will be pairing up to embark on a month long trek across The Old World in the month of February for a tour properly and respectively called “Legends Of The Desert” tour. Masterminds Mario “Boomer” Lalli and Gary Arce have considerable musical history with one another, having contributed to each other’s projects (Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man respectively) and playing live with one another on both domestic and international level all throughout their humble/experimental beginnings to the present as the established/experimental artists they are revered as today.
The Palm Desert music scene’s most notable names have credited their beginnings in music through attending witnessing the well documented generator parties that took place in various spots around the low desert area in the late 80s. These gatherings is where Gary Arce and the Lalli cousins (Mario and Larry) and notable desert drummer Alfredo Hernandez would enchant and hypnotize spectators with colorful and dynamic reverb drenched tones and seemingly endless improv jam sessions that echoed through the barren, rocky landscapes of La Quinta all the way to Yucca Valley as the first incarnation of Yawning Man was birthed and would assist in planting the seeds of a sound that would define a geographic areas.
Fast forward a few years later (1994 to be exact) and enter Rhythm and Brews, a drinking hole/live venue venture that the Lallis helmed and it was there, the idea of the riff monolith known as Fatso Jetson was materialized between Mario, Larry and Tony Tornay. Forging a sound that combines the elements of what has been coined “stoner rock”, punk and surf their catalog has seen the light of day on such labels as SST, Bongload, Man’s Ruin Records (Flames For All – Gary Arce was recruited as second guitar player for this release and joined Fatso on tour in support of the album as support for Queens of The Stone Age on their first European run), Rekords Rekords Cobraside and Go Down Records since their formation and they’ve shared the stage/toured with some of the most iconic acts in heavy rock including Queens Of The Stone Age and an appearance at Dynamo Open Air in Eindhoven alongside Mercyful Fate and Metallica.
Now fast forward into the new century and the evolution of both bands , recent activities in the past few years have been a new recordings amongst the two bands released by various labels across the world (including a split 12” of the two released in 2013), appearances at festivals across the world: Desertfest Berlin (both), Roadburn (Fatso Jetson) With Fatso Jetson now expanded from a trio to a quintet via the addition of the next generation of the Lalli family, Dino Von Lalli on second guitar and exploring jazz textures through Boomer’s recruitment of Vince Meghrouni on sax and harmonica. Yawning Man has revamped their lineup as well with the inclusion of Bill Stinson on drums.
At the present, Yawning Man are currently in the middle of writing a new record that is set for a 2015 release and Fatso Jetson are setting their sights upon recording of new material as well with plans for a US tour in the works for the coming year.
Tour Dates Feb 5 – Dortmund, Germany (The Piano) Feb 6 – London, UK (The Purple Turtle) Feb 7 – Leuven, Belgium (Orange Factory) Feb 8 – Drachten, Netherlands (Iduna) Feb 9 – Hamburg, Germany (Hafenklang) Feb 10 – Bielefeld, Germany (Forum) Feb 11 – Berlin, Germany (Cassiopeia) Feb 12 – Jena, Germany (Kulturbanhof) Feb 13 – Deventer, Netherlands (De Hip) Feb 14 – Mons-en Baroeul, France (Le Trait d’Union) Feb 15 – Paris, France (Glazart) Feb16 – Karlsruhe, Germany (Alte Hackerei) Feb 17 – Munich, Germany (Feierwerk) Feb 18 – Linz, Austria (Stadtwerkstatt) Feb 19 – Vienna, Austria (Arena) Feb 20 – Innsbruck, Austria (PMK) Feb 21 – Bozen, Italy (Pippo Stage) Feb 22 – Brescia, Italy (Latteria Molloy) Feb 23 – Rome, Italy (Sinister Noise) Feb 24 – Ravenna, Italy (Bronson) Feb 25 – Padova (Go Down Festival), Italy – Mame Club Feb 26 – Milan, Italy (Magnolia) Feb 27 – Lucerne, Switzerland (Sedel) Feb 28 – Frankfurt, Germany (Das Bett)
Fatso Jetson Mario Lalli – Vocals/Guitar Dino Von Lalli – Guitar Larry Lalli – Bass Vince Meghrouni – Saxophone and Harmonica Tony Tornay – Drums
Yawning Man Gary Arce – Guitar Mario Lalli – Bass Bill Stinson – Drums
At best, this stuff is a crapshoot. Until something’s just about in your hand, you never really know when or if it’s going to come out. But they’re fun, and it’s exciting to think of good music being released, so you do it anyway. On the whole, I don’t think I did that badly between the two lists. Of course there was stuff that wasn’t anticipated — Colour Haze‘s new album, To the Highest Gods We Know, walks by and waves en route to its Dec. 15 release date — but for what we got, it worked out well.
That’s the general overview, but because I hold myself to a standard of accountability more rigorous than, say, my nation’s torture-happy secret police, here’s a full rundown of the list as it was, now (as then), presented alphabetically and with the titles listed as they were at the time:
42 of 2014’s Most Anticipated Albums — REVISITED!
1. Acid King, TBA: Word is Acid King‘s first in 10 years was mastered last month and will be out in Feb. 2015 on Svart.
2. Alcest, Shelter: Was way less post-black metal than their prior stuff, and I think it threw a lot of people off. Not a bad record (review here), but worked against lofty expectations.
3. All Them Witches, TBA: I remember including this because they said they were going back into the studio. Turned out they were recording the Effervescent EP/jam (review here). No regrets.
4. Alunah, TBA: Their new one was their Napalm Records debut, Awakening the Forest (review here). It was awesome. Score one for the list.
5. Blackwolfgoat, Drone Maintenance: Yeah, it was cheating to include this since I was there when it was recorded. Still a killer record though.
7. Conan, Blood Eagle: What does complete dominance sound like? Sounds like Conan to me.
8. Eggnogg, You’re all Invited: Was dying to hear what the Brooklyn trio came up with. No word on it yet.
9. Elder, Live at Roadburn 2013: Still don’t have a copy of this. Maybe I can pick one up when I get their forthcoming third studio album, Lore, out early next year.
10. 40 Watt Sun, TBA: More like “MIA” than TBA. Anyone heard from these guys?
11. The Golden Grass, TBA: Their self-titled debut (review here) was one of the finest first-albums I heard all year.
12. Greenleaf, Trails and Passes: Any Greenleaf is a treat. Trails and Passes (review here) was no exception.
13. Grifter, The Return of the Bearded Brethren: Solid follow-up (review here). Grifter‘s humor and lack of pretense serves them well.
14. Hull, TBA: Well, they had the Legend of the Swamp Goat single (review here) to coincide with their Euro tour. Waiting on the album.
15. Lowrider, TBA: I wouldn’t mind if this materialized right now. Or now. Or now. Or 2015. Or 2016.
16. The Machine, TBA: Might’ve jumped the gun on this. Hopefully in 2015.
17. Mars Red Sky, TBA: Easily one of the year’s best records. Stranded in Arcadia (review here) continues to get regular spins.
18. Mos Generator, Electric Mountain Majesty: A highlight of early 2014. Darker record (review here), but inarguable songwriting.
19. Mr. Peter Hayden, Archdimension Now: Fitting end to their trilogy and hopefully not their last outing.
20. Pallbearer, TBA: Their Foundations of Burden has topped year-end lists already. It’s still on my desktop. I’ve barely listened to it.
21. Papir, IIII: Very, very good. They seem to be developing, but IIII (review here) was a satisfying chronicle.
22. Pilgrim, TBA: Can’t say II: Void Worship (review here) wasn’t a win for the band since they did a month on the road with Spirit Caravan. Maybe overshadowed by more recent stuff, but a quality record.
23. Radio Moscow, Magical Dirt: Their incendiary heavy blues was in top form on Magical Dirt (review here). Glad I got to see them live once or twice (or 18 times) as well this year.
24. Sigiriya, Darkness Died Today: Also residing on my desktop. A vocalist switch caught me off guard and I feel like I still haven’t given it a fair shot.
25. Sixty Watt Shaman, TBA: Really? I had Sixty Watt on the list? That seems ambitious. No doubt they’ll have something new eventually, but that was a pretty high expectation it would be out this year.
26. Skraeckoedlan, Gigantos: If this came out, no one told me. Seems like not yet.
27. The Skull, TBA: A stunner. As much as I looked forward to it, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) exceeded the excitement.
28. Sleep, TBA: Included as wishful thinking. Their The Clarity single (review here) was something to celebrate.
29. Slough Feg, Digital Resistance: I was really looking forward to this one. Kind of fell off with Digital Resistance (review here) after a while. Hard to argue with Slough Feg though.
30. Snail, Feral: Waiting on it for 2015.
31. Steak, TBA: The London four-piece followed two strong EPs with Slab City(review here), as heartfelt a showing of desert rock loyalty as I’ve heard.
Damn, this was a long list.
32. Stubb, TBA: I had my doubts it would arrive, but Stubb‘s Ripple Music debut, Cry of the Ocean (review here), found welcome when it did.
33. SunnO))) & Ulver, Terrestrials: One of two collaborations SunnO))) would have out in 2014. Heard a lot about it at the beginning of the year. Less now.
34. Tombs, Savage Gold: Good band, doing interesting stuff. I have a hard time transitioning from appreciating it to actually being a fan.
35. Triptykon, Melana Chasmata: Sorry, but when Tom G. Warrior puts out a record, you hop to. I didn’t review it to save myself having to buy a copy, but dug it anyway.
36. Truckfighters, Universe: I feel like this one picked up steam as the year went on. I didn’t go back to it as much as its predecessor, but Universe (review here) was a logical next step for them.
37. Valley of the Sun, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk: Nothing to complain about with the Ohio three-piece’s debut (review here) or the effort they put into supporting it throughout the year.
38. Weedeater, TBA: Nope. At least I knew it at the time.
39. Wolves in the Throne Room, TBA: Surprised a lot of people when Celestite (review here) was a companion piece for their last record instead of a new album proper, myself included.
40. The Wounded Kings, Consolamentum: 2014 was quite a year for doom, and The Wounded Kings were right there at the start. This lineup may be gone, but Consolamentum (review here) holds up.
41. Yawning Man, Gravity is Good for You: Rumor is guitarist Gary Arce has a few projects in the works for next year. Not sure if this is one of them or not.
42. YOB, TBA: We certainly know how this worked out, don’t we? If the votes in the Readers Poll are anything to go by, yes. Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) was a landmark, and this won’t be the last year-end list around here on which YOB make a showing.
The list from July had a few winners on it as well — Apostle of Solitude, Blues Pills, Bongripper, Brant Bjork, Earth, Lo-Pan, The Well, Witch Mountain, etc. — but I think we’ve probably got enough as it is.
With the year starting to wind down, I’ll be putting together my Top 30 Albums of 2014 in the next week or so. Please keep an eye out for that, and thanks for reading.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all on board with desert rock legends Yawning Man going over to Europe for a round of dates. Would I rather they were playing the East Coast or, say, my back yard for myself, The Patient Mrs. and a handful of close friends? Yes. But failing that, a European tour’s as good as anything (except maybe a new album) in that at least they’re getting out. The only crucial bit of information missing is who’s in the band at this point.
Of course Gary Arce is on guitar. It’s his band. And it seems reasonable to expect Mario Lalli (see also: Fatso Jetson) will be on bass, but I’m not sure if Alfredo Hernandez (see also: Kyuss) is still with Yawning Man, and even if he is, people kind of come and go depending on who Arce is jamming with at the time, so there’s no real guarantee he’ll be along for the trip. I guess either way it’s worth showing up — hell, if it was Arce and his pedalboard alone, it’d be worth showing up — but I’d be more interested to know if Hernandez is going because that might give some tip on where the trio are at with making their next record, about which it’s been a while since we’ve had an update.
Maybe if you’re in Europe and you go to one of these shows, you can ask Gary yourself what’s up on that front:
YAWNING MAN SUNSET SUMMER TOUR
Yawning Man will be bringing our unique, surreal sounds to Holland, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland August/early September. Our shows are limited this time around, so please, pack your friends up in your vehicle and make a road trip to come see us. We look forward to seeing you all!
29.08.14 Deventer, NETHERLANDS ~ DE HIP 30.08.14 Hummelo, NETHERLANDS ~ Mañana Mañana Festival 01.09.14 Vienna, AUSTRIA ~ THE ARENA 02.09.14 Berlin, Germany ~ Wild At Heart 03.09.14 Dresden, GERMANY ~ Ostpol 04.09.14 Jena, GERMANY ~ KULTURBAHNHOF 05.09.14 Frankfurt, GERMANY ~ DAS BETT Sky High Festival 06.09.14 Zurich, SWITZERLAND ~ Kinski Klub
Please contact the venues for ticket prices, times, etc.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I was fortunate enough to be there to take the above photo of Yawning Sons at the 2013 Desertfest in London. Their set was plagued by technical difficulties — all the more a bummer since the collaboration between Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce and UK instrumentalists Sons of Alpha Centauri doesn’t happen every day — but still, my affection for Yawning Sons‘ debut album, Ceremony to the Sunset (review here), had (and has) endured to the point where it hardly mattered. Just being there to watch them jam out, even for about half their allotted time, was one of the high points for me of that entire trip.
Seems I’m not the only one who still digs on Ceremony to the Sunset five years after its initial release through Cobraside Distribution. Respected Spanish imprint Alone Records has the album slated for a vinyl pressing on Oct. 6, with a preceding digital reissue next week. That’s notable because the record is gorgeous and worth hearing for anyone who hasn’t yet had the occasion, and because in addition to reworked cover art, the new version will also feature a previously unreleased track from Yawning Sons, started with the intent of being included on the album but never finished.
You can find the vinyl details below — pressing of 500, transparent colors, etc. — courtesy of the PR wire, but keep an eye out either way, since rumor has it this is a prelude to further collaboration between Arce and Sons of Alpha Centauri, and if that’s the case, the desert just got richer.
YAWNING SONS is the result of a unique collaboration between musicians from different sides of the Atlantic. ALONE RECORDS are proud to present the vinyl release of the desert rock classic CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET.
Limited to only 500 copies housed in a deluxe gatefold housing on either transparent yellow, red or orange vinyl this release includes the original closing album track from the studio master tapes not on the 2009 release! CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET has proven itself as a classic desert rock album and five years after initial release deserves the fullest vinyl release treatment – a revelation to fans of any and every of the artists involved.
Since 2009 and this release, YAWNING SONS have gone from strength to strength releasing their first 7″ single from Abbey Road Studios in 2010 with desert brothers ‘WaterWays’ and beginning live performances in 2013. Return now to the beginning of the adventure with this deluxe release and remember the freedom of music and the spirit of the CEREMONY TO THE SUNSET!!
Limited to only 500 copies housed in a deluxe gatefold housing on either transparent yellow, red or orange heavy vinyl.
I’m not one for mindless patriotism. I have reasons I’m glad I was born an American and reasons I’m not. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge today is July 4, the day my country celebrates Independence Day. It’s a day off work for the three or four of us left who still have jobs. As that’s not me, it seemed the least I could do to spend the afternoon typing. Not that I’d know what else to do with my time anyway. It’s raining here as an alleged hurricane makes its way somewhere along the Eastern Seaboard, so the traditional barbecue is out, and if I’m wasting electricity by running the air conditioning for the better part of the afternoon, well, that feels pretty American.
Still, I wanted to find something that represents something I can be proud for my country having produced, and Yawning Man came to mind pretty quickly. Their only real competition was Funkadelic, and I did the self-titled last year, so Vista Point it is. Classic desert rock sound, made in America. It’s everywhere now, of course, but when Yawning Man started in the ’80s, with Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, Larry Lalli and Alfredo Hernandez, that wasn’t the case, and their surf-rock-without-the-water would become the foundation for an international movement the influence of which is still only expanding. Released in 2007, Vista Point— which it bothers me more than a little that I don’t own on CD — culled together Yawning Man‘s two official studio outings up to that point, 2005’s Rock Formationslong-player and the Pot HeadEP (have those), into one hour-plus of reverbed trippery, the dynamic between Arce, Mario Lalli (Larry had long since left, though he remains in Fatso Jetson to this day with Mario) and Hernandez dripping across every dreamy movement in the songs. In true desert rock fashion, Yawning Man were about two decades late in getting recognized for the influence they had and the excellence they proffered — as much as they have to this point, anyhow — but they continue to bring something distinct to what they do that no one else has been able to capture. Oh yeah, and Kyuss covered them one time.
Enjoy Vista Point, in the spirit of the holiday and with the hopes of YawningMan‘s nextrecord turning up sooner rather than later.
Well, thus ends the first of my four weeks without The Patient Mrs. while she’s in Greece. It went pretty quickly, to be honest. After the move last weekend, there was a ton of cleaning to do at the new condo — home ownership! mortgage debt! the American dream! — and lots to unpack, scrub down, set up, etc., and that consumed a large portion of my week, the first couple days in an A/C-less swelter and the last couple in relaxed comfort. We’ve spoken just about every day, including today, but I’ve nonetheless developed five rules for myself to live by while she’s not around. Even wrote them on the markerboard:
If you can’t read my handwriting, which isn’t great, they are as follows:
1. No more than one (1) full day can be spent in bed, and not in the first ten (10) days.
2. No Anathema or Alice in Chains, Sap.
3. Eat a vegetable at least four days a week. Potatoes don’t count.
4. No more than one full day can be spent in the house. Opening the door for the dog is not “going out.”
5. No “Ain’t No Sunshine” either.
I’m happy to say I’ve lived up to each of these at least so far — though I saw a link to Alternative 4on Thee Facebooks last night and had to stop myself. We’ll see what the next couple of weeks bring. It’s pretty funny to be reminded every now and then of my own complete lack of independence, though. Hilarious to be so utterly inept at what to most people are daily tasks and to go entire days (though not two in a row!) where most of my conversation happens between myself and the dog. Indeed. Quite a week it’s been. Did I mention I’ve started watching Star Trek again from the beginning of the series?
Next week, the Conan interview goes up. This will happen come hell or high water. It’s been a while at this point since we spoke (it was the week of Hellfest), so yeah, it’s time. Also reviews of Wasted Theory and John Garcia‘s solo record.
I hope you have a great and safe weekend, and I hope it already began and involves friends and good food and all that wonderful stuff. Please check out the forum and radio stream.