Monday, December 17, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Top Ten Albums of 2007
1. The National ~ Boxer
2. Radiohead ~ In Rainbows
3. LCD Soundsystem ~ Sound of Silver
4. The Octopus Project ~ Hello Avalanche
5. Blonde Redhead ~ 23
6. Matthew Dear ~ Asa Breed
7. The Twilight Sad ~ Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters
8. Spoon ~ Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
9. MIA ~ Kala
10. Les Savy Fav ~ Let’s Stay Friends
Indie Greats That Should Have Made It But Didn’t
Arcade Fire ~ Neon Bible
The Ponys ~ Turn the Lights Out
The Shins ~ Wincing the Night Away
Band of Horses ~ Cease to Begin
Menomena ~ Friend and Foe
Earlimart ~ Mentor Tormentor
Dinosaur Jr. ~ Beyond
Okkervil River ~ The Stage Names*
Other Great Stuff That Would Have Made a Top 20 List
Manu Chao ~ La Radiolina
The Gourds ~ Noble Creatures
Feist ~ The Reminder
Experimental / Electronic Music and Other Slightly Odd Stuff That I Love
Burial ~ Untrue
Fridge ~ The Sun
Subtle ~ Yell & Ice
Deerhoof ~ Friend Opportunity
Artanker Convoy ~ Cozy Endings
Trans Am ~ Sex Change
Records From Fave Bands That Were Really Good But Not Great
Cloud Cult ~ The Meaning of 8
Iron & Wine ~ The Shepherd’s Dog
We Are Wolves ~ Total Magique
Art Brut ~ It’s a Bit Complicated
Caribou ~ Andorra
Wilco ~ Sky Blue Sky
The Sea and Cake ~ Everybody
New Pornographers ~ Challengers
!!! ~ Myth Takes
New Stuff That Turned My Head
Yeasayer ~ All Hour Cymbals
Kevin Drew ~ Spirit If…
St. Vincent ~ Marry Me
Shout Out Louds ~ Our Ill Wills
Big New To Me Discoveries
Apparat ~ Walls
Blitzen Trapper ~ Wild Mountain Nation
Manu Chao ~ La Radiolina
Soundtracks That Stood Out
Into the Wild
Albums That I Looked Forward To But Didn’t Much Care For
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah ~ Some Loud Thunder
Bloc Party ~ A Weekend In the City
Huge Phenomena About Which I Remain Ignorant
*(UPDATE: After being called on it no less than 4 times, I admit that I totally forgot about Okkervil River's new one. I feel shame. So I've added it. Sorry.)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
We started out at Richard and Allison's place, where we had a glass of fortified and fizzy cranberry apple cider while watching them get the first steps of dinner preparation underway.
Then we drove out Hill Road to my brother John's place for dinner #1. He's perfected his brining method, and along with some pumpkin gnocchi, two kinds of stuffing, steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, and the mandatory baker hat biscuits, this could have been his best holiday dinner yet.
At Sara's parents' house, we had some lovely wine from the Duoro valley as we stood around the kitchen island watching them go through the final prep for the meal, thickening gravy, carving the bird, filling glasses.
Then on to Chuck and Chris' place, where we spent our 5th Thanksgiving dinner with a dozen or so friends. Dueling turkeys were both fantastic, the gravy was divine, and the wine flowed freely. A great meal and a great time that lasted well into the night. So long, in fact, that Pong became a spectator sport.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I've taken a couple of these things, but none of them really had a depth of question that would suggest solid results. This one was a bit better than the others, and though I don't really know who this Alan Auguston person is, and I'd have hoped for a better ranking for Colbert, the rest of it seems pretty reasonable to me.
If I can't have the ideal, I'll take Barack. Link to the test below.
2008 President Selector http://selectsmart.com/president/2008.html
1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100 %)
2. Barack Obama (76 %)
3. Alan Augustson (campaign suspended) (76 %)
4. Dennis Kucinich (70 %)
5. Joseph Biden (67 %)
6. Christopher Dodd (67 %)
7. Hillary Clinton (67 %)
8. John Edwards (66 %)
9. Wesley Clark (not running, endorsed Clinton) (64 %)
10. Al Gore (not announced) (63 %)
11. Michael Bloomberg (says he will not run) (56 %)
12. Mike Gravel (55 %)
13. Bill Richardson (52 %)
14. Ron Paul (43 %)
15. Elaine Brown (36 %)
16. Kent McManigal (campaign suspended) (36 %)
17. Mike Huckabee (32 %)
18. Rudolph Giuliani (28 %)
19. John McCain (27 %)
20. Tommy Thompson (withdrawn, endorsed Giuliani) (23 %)
21. Mitt Romney (22 %)
22. Alan Keyes (20 %)
23. Fred Thompson (18 %)
24. Chuck Hagel (not running) (16 %)
25. Jim Gilmore (withdrawn) (16 %)
26. Sam Brownback (withdrawn, endorsed McCain) (15 %)
27. Tom Tancredo (15 %)
28. Newt Gingrich (says he will not run) (13 %)
29. Duncan Hunter (12 %)
30. Stephen Colbert (campaign ended) (6 %)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Outside right now it's chilly and sunny, the leaves are carpeting the sidewalks and streets, and every sprinkle of rain brings the anticipation of snow. We've had a couple dustings so far, but nothing that's stuck.
This has been a weekend in slow motion, sort of, easing into it with a day working at home, then lingering over dinner Friday night after the ride. Yesterday was spent on errands and projects around the house, walking the dogs, hanging out. Today I got a ride in, a short windy road ride, I hung a cuckoo clock, I made breakfast. Now we sit in a coffee shop, reading and typing, drinking coffee and watching the sun drop and the shadows get long. It's 4:30 and I can already feel it sliding toward evening.
We're watching Woody, our friend James' yellow lab, for about a week or so. He's a great dog, as labby as lab could be, and it's a pleasure to have him around. But having a third dog around always reminds me that there is such a thing as too much dog. It's nice for a while, but I can't imagine living with more dog than we have already. Still and all, he's such a good dog it's fun to have him in the house.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
The long climb up was enjoyable until we hit the Bears themselves, and when David climbed away from me a bit I found myself alone in my little circle of light and remembered, too, that riding in the dark sometimes creeps me out a bit. The coyote whoops surrounding us didn't relieve that sense, but it was really cool to hear so close.
The descent, once I got used to going downhill with these lights on again, was fantastic, very focused, skimming the sandy surface and trying to keep my vision trained out ahead, not on that shadow of the front wheel, not on the big rocks and loose rubble that pop into the light and demand attention.
David took a tumble on the Buck Trail, soon after I took the lead, but it was a flatland affair and other than a scraped arm and being a bit shaken up there was no damage. It was a real kick descending for so long into the sea of lights in the city below us. Great views, and the perfect trails for it.
I'm gonna have to try to do this more often.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Howdy peeps. Tune in to Range Life on Friday for a whole mess of wonderful new music.
A recent trip to Other Music in NYC left me with some shit-hot tracks as well, and I'll keep spinning selections from a dynamite Morr Music comp, a collection of DFA remixes, and a crazy-ass electronic long-form composition by Nobekazu Takemura called Sign. Great stuff. And keep an ear out for a classic of classics in electronic jams from Underworld. Raise your arms, duff duff!
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Recently, though, I lost one of them, my Uncle Bob Hess, from the north side of Chicago. He was a great guy, and though I haven't been able to see him or my Aunt Dottie much since I bolted Illinois for Texas and now Idaho, I'm finding that I miss him.
Uncle Bob was my closest uncle growing up. We spent all major holidays together, as well as birthdays, family milestones religious and otherwise, and every single Christmas Eve I can remember during my childhood, switching off years between his place in Chicago and ours in the suburbs. I have vivid memories of falling asleep in the car on the way home, every single year, watching the city lights slide past through the blackness outside the car windows. His daughter, my cousin Kim, spent summers with us through middle school and high school. He was the oldest of four sons; my dad the youngest.
I find it frustrating to try and fail at remembering stories or specific profound events revolving around my Uncle Bob. But then, I have no shortage of images and memories involving him, and in fact most recollections of holidays or parties have him smiling in the background. He was a presence, a happy and calm being in the room who always called me and my brothers Butch or Tiger, and we loved it. His answer to any impatient kid question of When can we open presents? or When's dinner? or When can we have dessert? was a patient "After while." That says a lot about my Uncle Bob. Nothing was so important that it couldn't wait until after the football game or after one last cup of coffee or just to wait, to wait until the extended family unit was ready to move on to the next item on the day's unspoken schedule.
I flew to Chicago last weekend for my Uncle Bob's funeral. It was wonderful to see everyone, if a bit disorienting, to be transported back from my life in Boise to the midst of all these people who I hadn't seen for so long, to suddenly be in the middle of one of these gigantic family gatherings, surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles and family friends and my Godfather (Bob's son), but to not have Uncle Bob there, the quiet patriarch at the center of it all. I'm glad I went, but I feel changed because of it. Older. And I feel more distinctly now being separated from family by miles.
My Uncle Bob was an anchor to my family and my past. He was a constant, a benevolent human being who was a truly good guy. And in a world lacking in good guys, his loss is that much more profound.
Uncle Bob, you are missed. I hope to see you again. After while.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Again I've been remiss in putting the things here that I want to put here. It's been a rough couple weeks, including a short-notice trip to Chicago last weekend for the funeral of my Uncle Bob. More on that later.
I'm working on finishing up the New York tale, and there's lots more to say beyond that. So check back. I'll get it together.
Monday, October 22, 2007
The concert venue at Randall's Island is essentially a ginormous field connected to a huge paved rectangular area at least a couple hundred meters across and twice that deep fronted by a tall girdered bandshell. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but plenty of room and easy access to beer and food.
Besides, later, when the Arcade Fire hit the stage to send the already ecstatic hordes into orbit, mere details like the asphalt underfoot wouldn't matter.
But first, out of New Hampshire, Wild Light. In a word: Lame. Perhaps I'm being too hard on them, but their Wallflowers meets Midnight Oil vibe just wasn't doing it for me. They looked like rock stars, but they were just plain boring, pedestrian lyrics made all too clear and intelligible in the vocal heavy mix, with the same description applying to the rhythm guitar. And no matter. Les Savy Fav was next.
Tim Harrington moved as quickly from normally dressed to costumed to half naked to costumed again (this time in a leotard with the nervous system printed on it, far as I could tell) as he did from flailing about the stage to wandering in the crowd to flailing about the stage again, and again. He was all frenetic magnificent energy, romping through plenty of new stuff off Let's Stay Friends (Raging in the Plague Age stood way out) and reaching way back past Inches (The Sweat Descends!) to ROME and beyond to drop some Who Rocks the Party on us real quick like. A great set, even if the sound and maniacal presence were somewhat unavoidably tamed by the size of the stage.
Blonde Redhead followed, as the sky darkened a bit, and their all-red lightshow matched well to the darker, more ethereal and mysterious feel of their new record, 23. The threesome stayed with the new release for most of their set, and this was a good thing, the set bound together by common vibe and sound more than I've felt with them before. Even if the new one is more poppy and accessible, adjectives some wield as condescension but I feel serves them well this time round, the show was magnificent, the mood sustained and the songs memorable to the last.
When LCD Soundsystem took the stage, launching straight into Get Innocuous off their latest, the crowd blew up. James Murphy's sort of solo recording act is a full-on dead-righteous band in the live setting, up to 4 or 5 people playing percussion at any given time, and Murphy himself with charisma to burn. The songs were long and knocked out with unflagging energy every time, from the showstopper North American Scum to the first album's Tribulations. The light show was hot, and the band obviously thrilled to be back home after a long time on the road.
Us v Them was a nonstop dance party, and Someone Great was sublime, ringing through the doorbell melody and accentuating the lightly plodding bottom. They ended with New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, of course, and it was a fitting end to a brilliant set.
It'd be hard to imagine having to follow this band on this night, but when the Arcade Fire is headlining, the wonder stops pretty quick. It'd been since Sasquatch two years previous that I'd seen them, and I found myself as excited as the first time as they took the stage. They started a bit slowly, with Black Mirror off their new one, but there'd be no disappointing this crowd tonight. Keep the Car Running was right on its heels, and that one elevated the assembly to the heights they'd been expecting. From there on, it was relentless. Haiti, Power Out, Intervention, I'm Sleeping In a Submarine, No Cars Go, they just kept coming. They closed the set with Antichrist Television Blues, powerfully, and came back out for a few more, including the showstopper Wake Up.
The Arcade Fire play every song like the world will end with its final crescendo. Who knows how long they can keep that up, or how long we'll rise and fall with their every move. From the looks of this show, from the sound of this band, the end is nowhere in sight.
(photos horked from http://www.villagevoice.com/gallery/0741,0740arcadefire,77987,3.html?pic=1&total=39)
Monday, October 15, 2007
But not tonight, as Interpol and Liars are playing the Big Easy. I'll be doing that instead, thanks.
Other things of note to be hitting this blog soon:
- Thoughts on Radiohead's In Rainbows.
- Updates on Boise Community Radio's progress toward obtaining a license and frequency.
- Notes on Les Savy Fav's Let's Stay Friends.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I've been a fan of Beam for a short while, and was totally convinced of his talents after hearing his collaboration with Calexico of last year.
Check out my man Dan Oko's piece on Beam, his music, his art, and his new home, on the cover of the Austin Chronicle.
Monday, October 01, 2007
The main reason for the trip is to catch the rock show of the decade: Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, and Blonde Redhead. We've been scouting the opportunity to catch AF and LCD on tour together, and had just about bought tickets to Denver to see them at Red Rocks when we found out that Les Savy Fav and Blonde Redhead were joining the bill on Randall Island in New York.
Cathy got in touch with our wonderful friend Heidi who is gracious enough to put us up, and the deal was done.
We'll catch music and eat our way across the city.
I hope to take plenty of photos and do some writing over on the travel blog, if you care to check in there. Also, if you have interest, Cathy will soon be putting together some words and pictures from her recent trip to Burma over on that blog.
Check it out.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Not the biggest race in the world, but a solid overall victory for Hincapie. This is the inaugural edition of the new week-long tour, which is big in itself. But even bigger, Team Disco is over, and George is going out on top.
Next year he'll be in the big pink of T-Mobile, and while that'll be a big big change, gone are the days when pink and black stood for the German dynasty. They're up-and-comers now, focusing on racing clean and developing the next generation of pro riders.
George has a valuable role to play. Strong as he is, and destined though he was to play a perennial supporting role, he'll be of utmost value to teaching the young guys how it's done in the bigs. I can't imagine a better mentor.