Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Honeymoon Yurt

This past weekend Cathy and I packed up the hounds and headed up to Sun Valley for a Christmas getaway (that's, to get away from Christmas). Very smart. There was tons of new snow up there, maybe more than we'd ever seen.

The drive up was a little nervy but not too bad. New snow tires and a steady pace did the trick. And worth the drive: Sun Valley was a true winter wonderland.

The hike up to the yurt went pretty quick--it's only a couple kilometers from the lodge.

The woodstove heats it up in no time.

We had a fantastic meal of pork chops (sent from Iowa by Cathy's dad), new potatoes, curried carrots, and a very nice pinot noir. We played Yahtzee, we read, we laid around, and the silence and the heat from the fire lulled us to sleep. Of course, we had to wake up every couple hours to feed the fire, as it got down to about 2 that night, but still, a lovely evening.

The next day, we hiked out in another few inches of new snow. Our snowshoes made a trench deeper than our dogs are tall, and that's no small feat.

We skied the Harriman Trail south from the lodge for a couple hours, then had a snack and a bloody Mary in the lodge before heading toward Ketchum.

We stayed in our friend Bob's condo in Ketchum that night, opting for delivered pizza and a TV movie rather than braving the winter storm and Christmas crowds for a meal in town. Wise decision.

A short hike the next morning with the hounds in yet more new snow, and then we hit the road for home. Right around Gooding it was like someone flipped a switch, the snow turned to rain and the roads were clear. Not so nice, but it made for an easy drive back to slushy Boise.


I don't even know what to say about this.

M.I.A. Dances With the Kids

Sunday, December 28, 2008

USA for Affluence

Tim Harrington is insane. Check out the indie-snark version of Feed the World.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Muslim Punk

We need more of this in the world.

This article from the NY Times tells of young Muslims, disaffected by the abuse of their faith by fundamentalists, definitely American but put off as well by greed-based politics, who forge their own identities. Just like millions of American kids have done through punk, or jazz, or rock and roll, these kids and young adults are creating who they are.

Check it out. It's a good read, and a very hopeful thing.

Photo from NY Times.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sullivan Reflects on Obama's Choice of Warren

Andrew Sullivan didn't like Obama's choice of Rick Warren to do the Inaugural Invocation. I think there were loads of people--gay and straight--who were dismayed by the choice.

But I think that's knee-jerk, and deeper thought on this decision could yield some interesting insights on the discomfort of change, the deeper thought required to institute it, and the trust we must have for the man who we just voted into the highest office in the land.

As he says, "I fear that in responding too viscerally to the Warren choice, we may be throwing something very valuable away far too prematurely."

Sullivan reflects at length on this topic in a most profound entry to his blog.

Top 10 Albums of 2008, extended version

I really get into doing this. Making time to sit and wander back through all my favorite music from the last year, giving things I'd dismissed another chance, scrambling to get hold of albums and tracks that I'd been meaning to get but hadn't and didn't want to not have on my list if they were kickass, etc.

I think it's good for me. I can tend to move through music fairly quickly, always on the lookout for new stuff to play on the show, and I don't give many things the time or spins they deserve. So I get to hang out with them again for this. And since I can never get a list down to 10, there's a whole lot beyond #10 worth noting.

Also, I'm going to post lists that other people send me, so send it along if you want it here.

And without further rambling, here it is, my Top Ten Albums of 2008, and a whole lot more.

Top 10 Albums of 2008

  1. TV on the Radio ~ Dear Science
  2. Deerhunter ~ Microcastle
  3. Why? ~ Alopecia
  4. The Rural Alberta Advantage ~ Hometowns
  5. Frightened Rabbit ~ The Midnight Organ Fight
  6. Deerhoof ~ Offend Maggie
  7. The Hold Steady ~ Stay Positive
  8. Flying Lotus ~ Los Angeles
  9. The Dodos ~ Visiter
  10. Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid ~ NYC

If my top 10 were a top 20, or If those other 10 albums hadn't come out
Los Campesinos! ~ We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed
Hammock ~ Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow
Alias ~ Resurgam
High Places ~ High Places
Sera Cahoone ~ Only As the Day Is Long
Dosh ~ Wolves and Whistles
Vivian Girls ~ Vivian Girls
Fuck Buttons ~ Street Horrrsing
The Sword ~ Gods of the Earth
Little Joy ~ Little Joy

Ass-stompinest non-list-makinest records
Tapes n' Tapes ~ Walk It Off
The Black Angels ~ Directions to See a Ghost
The Raveonettes ~ Beauty Dies EP
The Cops ~ Free Electricity
Nomo ~ Ghost Rock
Okkervil River ~ The Stand Ins

Local flava
Invasion ~ How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Madness
Kris Doty ~ Smoke In the Mirror

08s dance traxxx
Crystal Castles ~ Crystal Castles
The Orb ~ The Dream
Thomas Fehlmann ~ Lowflow
Ratatat ~ LP3
Cut Copy ~ In Ghost Colours
Brazilian Girls ~ New York City

Poptabulous, craptacular
Deastro ~ Keeper's
Fujiya & Miyagi ~ Lightbulbs
Jamie Lidell ~ Jim

From the sophisticates
James Blackshaw ~ The Cloud of Unknowing
Anathallo ~ Canopy Glow
School of Seven Bells ~ Alpinisms
Calexico ~ Carried to Dust
Stereolab ~ Chemical Chords
Atlas Sound ~ Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel

Brilliant yet disposable
Vampire Weekend ~ Vampire Weekend
Santogold ~ Santogold
Ra Ra Riot ~ The Rhumb Line
Hot Chip ~ Made In the Dark
The Raveonettes ~ Lust Lust Lust
Crystal Stilts ~ Alight of Night

The old faves produce, but come up a little short
Iron & Wine ~ The Shepherd's Dog
The Helio Sequence ~ Keep Your Eyes Ahead
Spiritualized ~ Songs in A&E
The Walkmen ~ You & Me

Returns to form
Obits ~ 7"
Portishead ~ Third
REM ~ Accelerate
James McMurtry ~ Just Us Kids

File under Saturday morning songs
Robert Plant & Allison Krauss ~ Raising Sand
Ray LaMontagne ~ Gossip In the Grain
Fleet Foxes ~ Fleet Foxes
Bon Iver ~ For Emma, Forever Ago
Belle & Sebastian ~ The BBC Sessions

The best of the sleepiest
Brightblack Morning Light ~ Motion to Rejoin
Desolation Wilderness ~ White Light Strobing

More freak than folk, and all the better for it
Women ~ Women
The Ruby Suns ~ Seal Lions
Au ~ Verbs

Notes from the continued divergence of hip-hop
Reefer ~ Reefer
Koushik ~ Out My Window
Restiform Bodies ~ TV Loves You Back
Roots Manuva ~ Slime and Reason
Madvillain ~ Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix

Best of bleeps and bloops
Autechre ~ Quaristice
Tobacco ~ Fucked Up Friends

Repacked Leftovrz
Animal Collective ~ Water Curses
Four Tet ~ Everything Ecstatic Part 2

V/A's greatest
Until the Ice Melts (Texas electronic music comp)
Matador Intended Play, Fall 08

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Harlan's Year-End List

This from Harlan, down in the ATX. (Mine's going up tomorrow, just in time for the Top 20 of 2008 Range Life on www.radioboise.org, from 1 to 3pm mountain time. Recorded live!)

Hey, Chris-
As promised, here's my top music...
2008 Top 10 Albums

1 Deerhunter Microcastle
2 Okkervil River The Stand-Ins
3 Shearwater Rook
4 Cut Copy
In Ghost Colours
5 TV on the Radio Dear Science
Oracular Spectacular
7 Black Angels Directions to See a Ghost
8 Wolf Parade At Mount Zoomer
9 Experimental Aircraft Third Transmission
10 The Hold Steady Stay Positive

Close ones…

Times New Viking Rip it Off

Death Cab for Cutie Narrow Stairs

The Walkmen You & Me

Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes

Frightened Rabbit The Midnight Organ Fight

I want to see yours when you get it done.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top 20 of 2008 Live

Tonight on Range Life, from 5 to 7 on www.radioboise.org, I'll be spinning my top 20 of the year. Loads of great stuff. Check me out!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Finally, Winter

We've had a gorgeous fall and a notable lack of cold weather and snow. When you're as dry as Boise in the summer, snowpack is very important, and we're finally getting some up here.

Cathy and I took the dogs for a hike in a fresh 6 inches today. It was cold and calm and beautiful up in the trails near our house.

The dogs were charged up from the moment they stepped out into the snow this morning. They love this time of year.
The roads will likely be just bad enough to keep me from riding in the morning. Might be time to get back into my winter bus routine.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Year-End Lists, Anyone?

I'm working on mine. It's a tough one to whittle this year. I'm almost there. A few great things, and then a whole lotta good stuff that's tough to order.

Send me your lists and I'll put them up here. Mine'll be a bit longer than 10 items this year, I'm sure.

For review:
Best of 2007
Best of 2006
Best of 2005

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New on the Range

I just got my hands on a couple new tracks from the brand new band Obits. Who the hell is that, you ask? That's only the new rock outfit fronted by none other than Rick Froberg, that's who. (Who the hell is that? C'mon. Dude from Drive Like Yehu? Hot Snakes? That's right.) If you ain't excited, you must hate rock and roll.

Also got some of that new Tobacco for ya. Juana Molina, Thao, Mount Eerie, The Raveonettes, and Squarepusher, too.

We'll dig deeper into The Rural Alberta Advantage, Anathallo, Finn Riggins, Desolation Wilderness, Reefer, Stereolab, Deerhunter, Okkervil River, and a whole lot more amazing new music.

And remember: It's time to start putting together those Best of 2008 lists, too. I'm running behind. I'll start mine tonight, 5 to 7pm on RadioBoise.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Good Start

This article in the NY Times details the Indian Muslim reaction to the terrorist attack on Mumbai. Though many demonstrations are small, the Muslim community has come out hard and unified against these attacks and others like them.

The roots of Muslim-Hindu strife are old and run deep, but Muslims recognize the need to disassociate themselves from this terrorist activity. As I said in my earlier post on this subject, it's no longer enough to assume a defensive posture and say that terrorism and Islam are not the same thing. More is needed. From the story:

Muslim leaders have refused to allow the bodies of the nine militants killed in the attacks to be buried in Islamic cemeteries, saying the men were not true Muslims. They also suspended the annual Dec. 6 commemoration of a 1992 riot in which Hindus destroyed a mosque, in an effort to avert communal tension. Muslim religious scholars and public figures have issued strongly worded condemnations of the attacks.

As one man interviewed for the story says, "“It’s a pity we have to prove ourselves as Indians... But the fact is, we need to speak louder than others, to make clear that those people do not speak for our religion — and that we are not Pakistanis.”

OK, that last bit is a little disturbing, as he and other voices in this piece suggest that Pakistan is a terrorist state and that while it's important to recognize that all Indian Muslims are not terrorists, we can't necessarily say the same about Pakistanis, but still.

An effort from the West, from the outside, will not eradicate Islamic terrorism. The effort has to come from within. This seems at least a couple solid steps in that direction.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Happy Friday

New on the Range

New music on today's show from Los Campesinos!, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Anathallo, Finn Riggins, Ray LaMontagne, Fujiya & Miyagi, and a lot more. Plus some great electronic music from Texas off a compilation we just got called Wait Til the Ice Melts. Great stuff.

Plenty of not-exactly-new-but-still-exciting music as well. TVOTR, Frightened Rabbit, Vivian Girls, Four Tet, and so forth.

Check it out. 1 to 3, mountain time, on RadioBoise.

Uh Oh.

Don't we all need another time hole?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hummer Club

Or, as I like to call it, Band of Douchebags.

Colbert's a genius.

Speak Up

In today's NY Times, Thomas Friedman writes about what an appropriate response from Pakistan, in the wake of the horrific Pakistani-perpetrated terrorist activity in Mumbai, might look like.

He makes good points. Taking to the streets to denounce this--not saying "Oh, that's not what Islam is all about, those are bad apples" or "But they've been oppressed and blah blah blah"--would be a powerful signal both to the world and to homegrown terrorist wannabes.

Denouncements from the West mean nothing. This is a problem in their religious community that needs to be dealt with, stamped out, at home.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Big Wood Weekend

After Thanksgiving Cathy and I got away. We reserved a condo up in Ketchum and headed out Saturday morning.

We did a great hike up Murdoch Creek on Saturday afternoon, after a burrito at KBs. That night we went to the Ketchum Grill and had a wonderful dinner, lamb shank for me and lemon pasta for C. Then it was back to the condo for a date with the sofa and WALL-E. Great time.

Sunday morning, after breakfast, Cathy did some hanging out and writing and relaxing in Ketchum proper, and I took the dogs and the flyrod out on the Big Wood River for some late season trout harassment.

Up by Fox Creek I had no luck at all (as the wise folks at Sturto's said I would not), so I took their advice and hauled it down toward Hailey. I parked on Zinc Spur Road (I think) and hoofed it through the brambles to the water. Found nice confluence and some down trees, caught two small rainbows in the first hole I tried, and that was it for the day. Good time, though, and therapeutic as hell to get out and stand in the river in the chilly sunshine.