Ya ever heard of the Krinkles, man?

The heat of a southern Nevada summer isn't quite conducive to any sort of behavior that warrants enjoying the outdoors, or life in general, for that matter. Tantamount to a northern winter, sitting inside is mostly the only way of life for those 3 1/2 excruciating months, barring access to a large body of water, and maybe even a kayak or some other water vessel if you're lucky enough. Otherwise, the only reprieve from this hellish time of the year is to get to higher ground, which is exactly what I do.

Back in June I embarked on a little trip to visit my pal, Nate, in Logan, Utah. About one day into my stay in Logan, I realized I'd misjudged northern Utah's climate based on a previous visit I made during a cool, stormy September of last year. Not only is Utah also hot as balls, but day time is about 3 hours longer there than in Vegas. Thus, you're about 20% more inclined to say fuck it all and stay inside and cry (or nap). Despite that debilitating fact, plenty of legit hikes were still embarked upon while visiting this beautiful region.

With that, here are a few panoramic pictures I assembled from various areas I visited and/or hiked in around central and northern Utah. Click on any of the pictures to make them gigantic. Bigger pictures, better detail, better quality of life.

(Grey sandstone columnar formations along the roadside, Nebo Loop Scenic Byway)

(Looking at the tail end of the Wasatch range, Nebo Scenic Loop Byway)

("Hell's Kitchen", conglomerate sandstone hoodoos in a small amphitheater formation similar to Bryce Canyon)

(Mt. Nebo, southernmost and highest mountain in the Wasatch range at 11,928 ft)

(Bear River National Migratory Bird Refuge, looking eastward at the Wasatch Range)

(Looking down at a huge, awesome beaver dam built along a creek near the Temple Fork Sawmill trail)

(Taken from a random t-post that was asking to be used for a self-pic)

(Ground view of the same beaver dam. The uphill trail to the left was made by the beaver's repeat trips to an adjacent aspen forest to retrieve wood)

(Somewhere near Pika Peak- Nate, the "Restoration Ecology Kingpin" of Cache Valley, UT looking down upon his empire. Check out his awesome restoration ecology blog, Perceptible Changes.)


SST Records' Overkill - The Lost Years

Per my usual internet boredom regime, the other day I was searching for obscure live shows of whatever musical obsession was racking my brain. That day it happened to be Overkill, SST's first true punk/metal hybrid band. Initially, my curiosity was piqued after investigating their contribution to Metal Blade Records' "Metal Massacre II" compilation, where they deliver a fairly whack version of their song "No Holds Barred". A superior version of the song also shows up on their posthumous SST LP "Triumph Of The Will". The Metal Blade version seemed glaringly mediocre in comparison to the version on "Triumph Of The Will", especially in the lyrics department. A little bit of research gleaned that their lead singer at the time of this recording was Scott Kidd, an adept L.A. metal singer, but definitely one who lacked the punk edge that former singer Merrill Ward brought to the table. Further sleuthing brought discovery of two gems-

- This detailed bio. Yeah, it's clearly written in the style of a heavy metal dunce, but you gotta hand it to them for the details.

Both are a pretty interesting addendum to an early SST band whose history is barely documented, though probably for good reason as their post-Merrill years don't seem as interesting. If you're not familiar with the "Triumph Of The Will" LP, get familiar. It's an underrated classic amongst SST fan geeks, and for good reason. Early 80's So Cal hardcore and Motorhead have never been blended as perfectly. It's the record Jeff Dahl's Powertrip wishes they could have made. Though, the Reign Of Terror single certainly gives Overkill a run for their money. (Speaking of which, here's an Ed Danky [Würm/Powertrip/Reign Of Terror] interview from 1983 in which dude claims Reign of Terror were on SST, who apparently funded their single.)

Also, if metal ain't your thing, there' always the first Overkill EP (click the pic)-


Los Autenticos Shapis

(Los Shapis posing with tall glasses of chicha, a traditional Peruvian alcohol which is made with corn that has been fermented after having been chewed up and spat out- it's an acquired taste.)

Upon release of their first single, 1981's "El Aguajal" ("The Swamp"), Los Shapis blew up to become one of Peru's most popular cumbia groups. Along the way, they supposedly also popularized the term "chicha", which was then coined to retroactively describe the brand of cumbia played by many Andean groups who had infused their cumbias with elements of Peruvian huayno, and 60's garage/rock.

This video for "El Aguajal" nicely encapsulates Los Shapis' celebratory vibe as juxtaposed within the plight of Peruvian reality- according to scarce internet sources, this clip actually comes from a Los Shapis full-length film of some sort.

Filled with many similarly warm-sounding chicha jams along the lines of "El Aguajal", the entirety of their first album, "Los Autenticos Shapis", is definitely worth searching out.

Despite my appreciation for Los Shapis, my true motivation for giving them a blog shout-out is said album's top-notch artwork, which absolutely floored me upon first discovering it, and always leaves me smiling whenever I think about-

Yes, this shameless Peruvian re-appropriation of the Ramones "Road to Ruin" LP is indeed the actual album artwork for the "Los Autenticos Shapis" LP!

If you're interested in checking out other similar chicha or Peruvian cumbia jams, La Cumbia De Mis Viejos is a great blog with tracks compiled by some Peruvian folks who aim to keep the sounds of old Peru alive, so you know it's legit- http://lacumbiademisviejos.blogspot.com/

While we're at it, another great blog to check out is Super Sonido - http://supersonido.net/
Super Sonido seems to be run by an American DJ who specializes specifically in older Latin American music which would remain mostly unheard of in the states if it weren't for his globetrotting to various locales in order to hunt down rare records. While it's updated pretty sporadically-if at all, anymore- its archive still holds a wealth of awesome jams.

Particularly worth checking out in relation to this post would be his post on Los Destellos, an amazing Peruvian cumbia band from Lima who somehow got lumped into being called a "chicha" band- http://supersonido.net/2009/06/28/los-destellos-enrique-delgado/

If you're interested in exploring the history of chicha music beyond
scarce internet sources and my half-assed overview, I remember reading a great chapter in this book which specifically details the cultural and socioeconomic history of chicha music within the context of Lima's history-