Is/Is in Joshua Tree: A photo journal

Emily Utne
The cover of this week's City Pages is a near and dear one to those of us at Gimme Noise. That's for selfish reasons, of course -- because, duh, it's a story about a band! The band in question is Minneapolis rock trio Is/Is who are just about to wrap up a month-long stay at a ranch that's right at the doorstep of the exotic Joshua Tree National Park.

It's a fun story because the band -- consisting of Sarah Rose, Sarah Nienaber, and Ronnie Lee, each familiar faces from several bands around town -- has committed itself to an adventure that has no clear-cut ending in mind. Basically, it's all about the journey. Fortunately, that journey lends itself to some great photos, and we have so many of them that we collected them into a slideshow. After the break, we'll walk you through a few of them.

See Also: Is/Is finds inspiration in Joshua Tree: A photo journal

The photos of the slideshow have been culled from a variety of people and places. Most of them come from the band themselves, with pictures that Lee and Rose shot on their way from Minneapolis to California, via Missoula, Montana and the great northwest.

Photos like this one, provided by Lee, document the band's trip along the coast of California as they first made their way toward Joshua Tree while touring in August:

Ronnie Lee

 Along the way, Is/Is picked up a band roadie: Dan Ryan, a native of Minneapolis, who went to college with Nienaber and whose brother, Nick, used to play guitar for Leisure Birds.

Photo by Sarah Rose
After the tour, the band settled down at their ranch outside Joshua Tree at the beginning of September. Isolated from the nearby town of Yucca Valley, it's a small house -- "little more than a kitchen and living room with a covered porch outside," as our cover story describes it.

Jeff Gage

All the same, the band has managed to get their gear inside the house, even setting up the drums, and have been recording together this month. Here's a picture of Nienaber in the makeshift recording set up, with mixing board, guitar, and amps.

Sarah Rose

The surrounding terrain, well, speaks for itself.

Sarah Rose

There are plenty of adventures to be had besides boring stuff like, say, playing music or being in the wilderness. There is, for instance, the Integratron, a meditation sound bath just a short drive from the ranch. "According to George van Tassel, who built it in the 1970s," explains our cover story, "he was instructed to build it by aliens, and it would be capable of time travel, but he died before it was finished."

Sarah Rose

Of course, as far as we're concerned, we don't need much more to help us meditate than something like this:

Ronnie Lee

Or, eeh gads, this!

Sarah Rose

You can color us impressed, as far as we're concerned. Much like Lee here, in fact -- who, contrary to the photos from our cover shoot, can actually crack a smile every now and then.
Photo by Sarah Rose
But hey, we won't tell you how to enjoy these photos. Check 'em out for yourself over in the slideshow.

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