About 6 years ago, my girlfriend and I drove coast to coast to coast. New Jersey to California and back. As much as we reminisce about our favorite places, we spend just as much time talking about the least favorite places we visited. Really, these are places that she disliked. I didn’t mind them all that much. There’s Indiana, where she got a speeding ticket…in a work zone…while located in the middle of a pack of cars all going the same speed. Other than that, Indiana was fine, but she still hates it. There’s Kansas. To this day, I still don’t know why she hates Kansas so much. It’s flat, there are a lot of fields, and not much else. Hardly hatable offenses. Honestly, her opinion was formed at a rest stop. I never asked what happened in the 5 minutes we were inside, but whatever it was, it forever shaped her views of the state as a whole. Then there’s Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
We may not necessarily agree on Indiana and Kansas, but we both feel the same way about Sioux Falls. I don’t know what it was, but we both got the worse feeling about that place. Maybe it was the fact that it was dark and gloomy on the day we drove through and saw the sites (let’s be honest, site…the actual falls). Maybe it was the slaughterhouse right around the corner from the falls. We aren’t quite vegetarians, but we don’t eat a lot of meat, and I swear there was the pain and suffering of untold animals in the air there. Even the people there seemed to carry some untold burden that just left us feeling so unwanted. We couldn’t have gotten out of there soon enough. Oddly enough, the state of South Dakota was one of the best states we visited. It’s beautiful and there are a number of attractions that are absolutely worth seeing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Sioux Falls the last couple of days because I’ve been listening to a band of the same name. The band, unlike the city, does not suck. Ironically, they also don’t come from Sioux Falls. Founding members Isaac Eiger and bassist / vocalist Fred Nixon met in high school in Montana and relocated to Portland, OR after graduating high school. Why they chose Sioux Falls for their name, I do not know. The band’s debut album, Rot Forever, is a sprawling 73 minutes of post-punk goodness. Criticized for being “too long,” by a some reviewers, the album’s length is no issue to me. The album’s length isn’t a result of the number of songs, but rather the length of some of the songs. Of the albums sixteen tracks, six of them run over six minutes. Truth be told, these are some of my favorite tracks. One of my least favorite aspects of Sioux Fall’s music is its lo-fi sound, but I am willing to overlook that aspect of the songs due to the strong songwriting. Not necessarily lyrically, since I can barely hear them, but the song structure. For example, the albums’s second to last song, “If You Let It,” runs nearly 8 and half minutes, but doesn’t feel that long.