And I’m back! Five days away from home is a wonderful thing, and taking the next day off of work to maintain that sense of well-being is almost as nice.
Of course, as I reported before, we stopped (okay, I coerced Alissa and Amanda into riding along and being bored) at Lou’s Records in Encinitas, CA. If you were keeping up with the news this weekend, you might have seen mention of a heat wave in Southern California. Yeah, I know about that first hand – we struggled to deal with 100+ degree temps along with incredible amounts of humidity. I can handle heat – I am from Arizona, afterall – but the humidity just about killed me. Anyway, it turns out that Lou’s doesn’t really have much in the way of air conditioning, so my plan to wander the aisles aimlessly for as long as the rest of the fam would handle it was cut a bit short. So stifling hot was it that after only a few minutes, Alissa took Amanda back out to the truck to sit in the comfort of its air conditioned cabin. I held strong, however, and pored (and poured – you know, sweat) over the CD racks in search of unusual treats. It wasn’t as fruitful as I’d hoped, but what I did find was pretty cool:
Cloud Cult – The Meaning of 8: I don’t know how to describe this exactly. Think of Built To Spill’s Doug Martsch on vocals fronting a band that bounces from an electronic-dance vibe to straight up indie rock, and often blends the two together while tossing in plenty of psychedelic flourishes. I’m telling you, it’s not easy to verbally summarize this music, but it’s very, very cool. Also cool is that the band makes every effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible – the packaging is made from post-consumer waste, the inks are soy-based, and they fund the planting of trees to offset what little damage to the environment they can’t escape. After reading up on them, I have also found out that they shun the advances of big label interests because they simply want to keep doing what they feel is the right thing. Neat. I do feel a little bad that I bought it for $4.99, but I’ll look at it their way: it was recycled. (Not to mention that I’ll sure pony up for other albums I don’t get at used prices.)
Bruce Dickinson – Alive: I’ve avoided picking up this repackaging of the former (and now current) Iron Maiden vocalist’s two live albums until now because I rarely saw it anywhere and when I did, I felt it cost too much. Now I’ve found it for $13 and don’t feel so bad.
Liars – They were Wrong so We Drowned: I’m really starting to like these guys. Their most recent is probably going to get the most play with me, but their older, even weirder stuff deserves a listen, too. And at $1.99, I couldn’t possibly pass it up.
Blue Merle – Live at Bull Moose Music: Alissa and I saw this band open for Glen Phillips a couple years ago and I remembered being surprised by how strong of an opener they were. With a voice that combines the emotion and melodic nature of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz with the croaked honk of Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Luke Reynolds is backed by laid-back, bluegrass-tinged pop-rock (that is not unlike Glen Phillips and Nickel Creek.) This little live release is unfortunately probably the last thing we’ll get from this band – after recording and touring for Burning in the Sun the band broke up. Reynolds is off on his own, however, doing much the same thing the band did. Oh, and this live EP was a whopping 99 cents.
Amazingly, that was it. Lou’s was having a dollar sale this weekend, but after listening to the workers talking about how the room wasn’t air conditioned at all (and I thought the one I was in wasn’t – it was, just poorly so) I opted to just cut my losses. Those kind of sales typically only yield anything of interest after a lot of digging, and I just wasn’t up for that after all the sweating we’d been doing the previous few days. I left, completely drenched in sweat, and we went back to the hotel to finish off our final night there. And now, unfortunately, back to reality . . .