Camera Obscura comes to America; makes pop for grown-ups.
Yosemite Falls & El Capitan
Length: 19 miles (depending on detours)
History: Carved by glaciers, created with volcano and faults.
Notes: I never anticipated on going to El Capitan, since I am usually very slow climbing Yosemite Falls. I also skipped sleeping. Somehow, I ended up blazing through the trail and arrived to the top of the entire falls in about two or two-and-a-half hours, so I just took an additional ten or twelve miles to venture further in to El Captain.
I was so exhausted, at the end of the day I saw a piece of brown mammal behind a tree. I tried to ask for direction but it was a deer.
Big O has a very nice tape today, custom-made by Jonathan Richman for, natch, a girl named Laura. This was, I believe, immediately following the dissolution of the Original Modern Lovers, and Richman was trying to figure out his next, much quieter, move. Awesome stuff, including a quite lovely version of “Singing In The Rain,” of all things. I have another tape from this period that is pretty much just vocals and percussion. The dude was — and remains! — a true trailblazer! Jonathan’s coming to Denver this summer for a few shows, and I just might go to all of them. Until then, let’s make those secretaries feel better.
Arizona band Destruction Unit subscribe to the idea that what you build you must also then destroy. They layer kraut grooves, noise jams, hardcore razor guitars, and a jittery vocalist who sounds (and kind of looks) like Ian Curtis especially from that live “Transmission” video. Maybe Destruction Unit is the musical conclusion to what Joy Division could’ve been — fits of rage and noise all musick-ified into a circus of feedback and pedal tricks and holding guitars aloft and kicking down amp-heads. If you watch the band you won’t stop watching the band until the band is done. You don’t check in with your friend who’s next to you doing the same thing. You just sort of stare and hope no one gets electrocuted or that their blood and sweat doesn’t land in your mouth.
Listen now to the full album stream of Mavis Staple’s ‘One True Vine’ from NPR First Listen http://bit.ly/1truevine
Coconino National Forest
It might not be a state known for its trees, but Arizona might surprise you — 15% of its land is designated as national forest, and Coconino is at the very heart of it all. With 1.85-million acres that span from Flagstaff to Sedona, the forest is a playground with something for everybody, from mountains and mesas to tree-lined lakes and red rock canyons.