Sunday, July 6, 2014

North Carolina Trip June/July 2014 - Highlights

(from the It's Better In The Carolinas department)

Hi everyone,

We've been on vacation for the last few weeks.  Here's a few snaps.

First up - Flag Day in Old Salem (June 14th, 2014):

Dana sure looks patriotic, doesn't she?

Next Dunkin' Donuts had a special Father's Day "#1 Dad" donut - I ate a few of them.  Here it is:

After spending some time with Dana's mom in Winston-Salem, we headed to Sunset Beach on the coast.  On the way there, we saw some amazing sunsets:

After our arrival at Sunset Beach, I found the perfect spot for my brother just a few miles away in South Carolina:

Donuts, Ice Cream, Fireworks, 
and there's a Waffle House in the background 

Rare shot of Dana entering a Dunkin' Donuts

David, Rena, and the cousins Alan, Amy & Eric flew in to join us.  The next day, we caught a ferry and headed to the Fort Fisher Aquarium, where we were joined by Dana's brother Nick:

One of the few moments Rose stopped running around the ferry

The whole gang at the aquarium - with butterflies!

Rose gets a little crabby

After we visited the aquarium, we headed to the boardwalk at Carolina Beach, to visit one of the finest donut shops in existance:  Britt's Donuts

They only make one type of donut - glazed - but it's amazing.

In an Ideal Deal Copy Blog exclusive, here's the masters at work:

Sunset on the ferry back

Dave, Rena and the cousins got to spend a few days at the beach with us.  Here's the cousins interacting:

(from L to R, Eric, Rose, Amy & Alan)

Amy caught me taking pictures

Dave joins them - how did Eric's shirt change?

Rena catches up with the outside world

Next, we went to Calabash, NC to get some seafood:

Rose runs from the shrimp

Fresh from the boat!

While we were there, on July 3rd, Hurricane Arthur passed close by.  We got a chance to see it:

Luckily, it was long gone by July 4th, and we had a great day grilling and visiting with Dana's friends.  Finally, on July 5th, Dana, Nick, Rose and I got ice cream at the Calabash Creamery.  Good stuff!

Nick and Dana define cool!

Rose enjoys her chocolate

Rare self portrait


Friday, July 4, 2014

Flashback Friday: Raise by Swervedriver

Now - there's two things you should know about my musical tastes.  Number 1 - I love Shoegazing bands.  Shoegazing was a musical genre that started in the 1980's or so - and hit its apex in 1991 with bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Lush, and Catherine Wheel.  Shoegazing was known for its dense wall of complex guitar sounds that required many foot pedal effects, forcing the guitarists to stand fairly still, and concentrate on their feet, hence the term "Shoegazing".  (Wikipedia has a great entry on the genre.)

The second thing in my musical tastes is Swervedriver.  Although nominally a Shoegazing band, they also had a fondness for Detroit punk (Stooges, MC5) that added an aggressiveness to their sound that most of their psychedelic brethren in the music scene lacked.  Sadly - they also had one of the worst runs of luck of any major label band, so most of their work comfortably fits in Flashback Friday.  I'm sure I'll be covering all of their four albums eventually, so let's start with their first release, Raise.

You can hear it here:  Raise by Swervedriver (Xbox Music)

Originally begun as a series of EPs, the band collected them together, recorded some new material, and called the resultant album "Raise".  Even though the songs were recorded at different times, it sounds remarkably uniform and works as a coherent statement from the band.  Continuing with the Detroit fascination, many of the songs are about cars and driving.  Highlights include Son Of Mustang Ford, Rave Down, Feels So Real, and Sandblasted.  Think dense melodic guitar rock, in the vein of Dinosaur Jr. or Neil Young - but with a denser, fuzzier wall of sound - and you won't be far off the mark. 

Although well regarded at the time, their run of bad luck also started right after the album's release; during a North American tour, while the band was waiting to enter Canada, the drummer left the tour bus to "get a sandwich" and never returned.  When he was finally located, he would only speak to one of the band members, and stated he wanted out of the band.  Their bass player quit shortly thereafter, leaving just two members to decide the band's fate.  (To be continued...)

Give this a spin and see what you think.  Comments always welcome.