Friday 5/17 Death Valley, CA
(The following paragraph should maybe be an aside but it was important to 5/17 and the days since so it goes here)
Oh Tyler, you sweet sweet boy, you’ve done it again. I think I found Goblin and Bastard too early, so for a long time Tyler wasn’t so much my thing. Listening now I’ve got a lot more appreciation for the early Odd Future projects, these two included, but for a long time I mostly knew Tyler for the incredibly cute mugshot taken in 2014 after he was arrested at SXSW for inciting a riot. Like many, Flower Boy did a lot to make me a Tyler fan, but honestly, until pretty recently, I think I’ve way underrated that project too. What really got me into Tyler was my punk class last semester. For my final I wanted to write an essay about the Florida Soundcloud scene as “punk rap,” but pretty quickly that turned into an essay crediting Odd Future for the rebirth of “punk rap” as a thing. The deeply DIY, totally inflammatory, angsty, immature, insular community building, and crazy talented music of the group was really 100% punk, and both their sound, and the way they went about virality are still super influential. Anyway, this all made me into a much bigger Tyler fan, and I was pretty excited to listen to his new album. This we did en route to Death Valley. First listen was not the hottest of strikes. The mixing is pretty crazy, which didn’t work great through Slug’s speakers, and the album is a lot less accessible than FlowBoy, so I needed some relistens. At this point, I don’t think I’ve yet gotten everything going on in Igor, so I suspect it will keep growing on me, but I really dig it. All the kitchy pitched up vocals are hilarious, all the distorted synth bass is super catchy, the grooves are hard, and the songwriting is fantastic. On the last point in particular, I think this is his best album to date. Yay.
Death Valley is significantly more beautiful and hospitable than I’d imagined. The surrounding mountains (which I’m told are ‘badlands’ and contribute greatly to death valley being the literal hottest place on earth) are cotton candy sherbert, there are actual waterfalls and living green organisms, and the only thing that dies is our coleman stove (this has happened before, so I’m not sure we can blame the valley). Slug’s park tour consisted of viewing loops, really more scenic points than hikes. One up a little stream, teaming with tadpoles teams, to the aforementioned waterfall, another up some great sand dunes where the dragonflies are massive and bright ass orange.
The strangest part of Death Valley by far is the resorts. These have full, flowing, green lawns, enough lush tree cover to provide day long shade, and an actual 18 hole golf course. Imagining the quantity of water necessary to keep these places running is enough to make one consider arson. Heavily.
We dined on a picknight table by the visitor center, and my lover befriended a coyote. The full moon tossed the stars back into darkness.