Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Swell Thanksgiving

The tour bus rolled up to Jil and Michael and Ian and Eric's North End bungalow, and a few minutes later my nonstop gravy-stirring-potato-mashing and the general kitchen cacophony was being recorded by a whole bunch of excited Irish guys. Cameras clicked, introductions were made, and guinea pigs brought out as the entirety of The Swell Season, including road crew and guests, came over for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Joy and John engineered it and brought a ham and a hundred pies. Jil and Michael made turkey and potatoes and gravy and enough other food to feed an army. We brought a turkey and some sides.

The Swell Season brought their appetites, their excitement at their first "American Thanksgiving," and a whole lot of music. Not to mention a busload of wine.

After dinner, Colm brought out his violin and treated us to a beautiful fireside serenade.

Thanksgiving 09, Fiddle by the Fire from Christopher Hess on Vimeo.

And in no time, the player piano was fired up and the wine took effect.

Thanksgiving 09, Opening Jig from Christopher Hess on Vimeo.

Glen sang songs, Marketa sang songs, so did Rob and Betts and Carly and Colm and Graham and undoubtedly a couple that I missed.

Thanksgiving 09, Blue Eyes Cryin In the Rain from Christopher Hess on Vimeo.

Everyone sang, for hours.

Thanksgiving 09, The Old Triangle from Christopher Hess on Vimeo.

Cathy took a turn at the player piano, too.

Thanksgiving 09, My Wild Irish Rose from Christopher Hess on Vimeo.

It was a beautiful, wonderful time. We danced and drank and talked and talked and talked.

"If Thanksgiving's about hanging out with your pals, then this was about perfect." So said Hansard during Friday night's amazing Swell Season show, and for my part I'm happy and thankful to have been a part of it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Friday

Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be

"Mortensen said his admiration for the loose assemblage of vague half-notions he calls the Constitution has only grown over time. He believes that each detail he has pulled from thin air—from prohibitions on sodomy and flag-burning, to mandatory crackdowns on immigrants, to the right of citizens not to have their hard-earned income confiscated in the form of taxes—has contributed to making it the best framework for governance "since the Ten Commandments.""

Thanks, Onion.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Wire

Above, the 100 Greatest Quotes from The Wire, the best show to ever air on television. CAUTION: This is full of spoilers, so if you haven't watched the show yet, don't watch this. But watch the show, because you need to.

In my opinion, though, they missed one of the best:

MCNULTY: I'll take a Jameson.

BARTENDER: We've got Bushmill's.

MCNULTY: That's Protestant liquor.

If you have watched the show, you'll want to see this at least a few times. It's that cool.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teabaggers: Punked

Smallpox? Columbus go home? Nice work, dude. Send em back where they came from. Almost makes you feel sorry for the idiots. Almost.

The Case for a Civilian Court

Andrew Sullivan makes a very good argument for trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a New York civilian court. And I think he's right.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we've made some grave errors in prosecuting the war on terror over the last 8+ years. Seems to me that military tribunals would do nothing to repair our image abroad, nor our own feelings mixed though they are about the nation we've become.

Handling these terrorists in our own judicial system, which we claim is the best in the world, so close to where the horrific attack on US soil happened, is a powerful symbol. Sullivan's right to pit the calm, methodical, and fair process of an American court against the fear-based scramble to revenge that seems at the heart of the pressure (and yes fear mongering) of those who are pushing for military trials.

And he makes another good point that most will not want to acknowledge:

It will be a civic lesson to America and the world. It will show the evil of terrorism and the futility and danger of torture. It will be a way in which Cheney's torture regime can be revealed in all its grotesque excess at the same time as KSM's vile religious extremism is exposed for its murderous nihilism. That all this will take place in New York - close to where the mass murder took place - is a particularly smart touch.

The glow of the righteous victim is dulled when the victim's hand can be seen carrying out its own injustices. Those from the Bush administration fear civilian courts, perhaps even more than those to be tried do. And for good reason.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just announced: Buddy Miller to play RX in-store Monday at 5:30!

I got to see Buddy Miller open for Emmylou Harris last night at the Egyptian. He put on a really great show. Most of the songs were he and an upright electric bass player, but Emmylou joined him for a surprise duet, and he played a handful of songs solo.

This man writes great songs, and it's a treat to see him in the lead role, especially along with getting to see him in lead guitar role in Harris' band. And it's a big coup for the Record Exchange to get him to do an in-store. Don't miss this one.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Built to Spill Plays KRBX Benefit

Here's the press release from the RadioBoise site. Note the new call letters--KRBX y'all! Get used to em.

Radio Boise to Present Built to Spill, Monday, Nov 23 at the VAC

On sale now

Local indie rock heavyweights Built to Spill will headline a concert at the Visual Arts Collective on Monday, Nov 23 to benefit efforts by Radio Boise to bring a noncommercial, community-based radio station to the Treasure Valley.

Built to Spill will play Boise for the first time since the recent release of their highly acclaimed seventh album, "There Is No Enemy". All proceeds will benefit Radio Boise's "89.9 Fund", established to purchase broadcasting equipment for the nonprofit organization.

Guitarist, Brett Netson, has been an advocate of the project for several years. Returning to Boise for a break after the band's most recent shows in San Francisco, he explained, "We have to do this. Not only is it a right, but it is a responsibility to use the airwaves that we as citizens do, in fact, own. You need this station because it will be yours! Community Radio will be the sound of us relating to each other and working things have the opportunity to be who we are. It's about our identity. This is how we as a community stay strong. This is democracy."

Broadcasting on the internet at for four years, Radio Boise is now seeking to raise $250,000 for their first year of terrestrial operations on 89.9 FM and to match federal grant funds for equipment purchases. The nonprofit organization has been authorized to broadcast using the FCC call letters "KRBX".

Also appearing on the bill for the benefit show will be J&L Defer (of Disco Doom), Beautician and Bales of Hey! Tickets are available at

Monday, November 09, 2009


Since the release of Atlas Sound's new record Logos, I've been pretty much unwilling to concede iPod time to anything not directly related to Bradford Cox. Between this and the most recent Deerhunter EP, as well as the first Deerhunter record Cryptograms, which I've gone back and bought in light of Logos' awesomeness, I just can't make time for anything else.

I'm not sure what it is about his music, across these two projects, that's suddenly speaking to me. When Cryptograms first came out I liked what I heard but didn't really seek it out. Microcastle, their second full-length, is what woke me up, but not to this extent.

Now, though. The gorgeous, tinkly guitars, the hazy melancholy melodies, the incredible depth to his not-so-lo-fi-lo-fi, all of it adds up to a music that goes into and beyond any label you might apply. It's indie and psychedelic, but it's sunny pop and noise and freakfolk and ambient and shoegaze all at the same time.

The new songs reference girl groups and doo-wop as much as they do Animal Collective or, back further, the Beach Boys. The songs are sunny on the surface, but there's something sad and a little disturbing bubbling below the surface.

If you haven't yet, check out this guy's music. Microcastle might be a good place to start. Or, dive right in and get Let the Blind Lead Those Who See But Cannot Feel. Wherever you start, and whichever direction you go, I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sully Defends Obama to Colbert

Andrew Sullivan
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

This is great stuff.

High Places

A new video from High Places for their new single, I Was Born. They get a bit adventurous here, both with the sounds laid over the beats, which are typically woozy and persistent, and with Mary Pearson's vocal range.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

On Fox

A good piece in the WSJ about the sham that is Fox News. The piece focuses on delusions of media persecution of the type that the Fox douchebags live on. Money:

But no journalistic operation is better prepared to sing the tragedy of its own martyrdom than Fox News. To all the usual journalistic instincts it adds its grand narrative of Middle America's disrespectful treatment by the liberal elite. Persecution fantasy is Fox News's lifeblood; give it the faintest whiff of the real thing and look out for a gale-force hissy fit.

My New Year's resolution this year is already decided: To close the mental door on the poison of sham journalism and talk radio garbage, to not let Rushannitybeck into my consciousness, thereby becoming a happier, less frustrated human being. So, for now, I'm still thinking about it. Because soon I'll turn it off.

Boise Election Results

Looks like the good guys swept this one. Nice work, TJ.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

It's National Novel Writing Month again. The premise is simple--write a novel, inside a month. Last year I wrote some but I didn't commit. This year I'd planned to commit, but now I'm on the verge of chickening out. I've got a lot going on to be able to churn out this kind of copy. And blah blah whine whine ppffbbbthththth.

What about Novella Month? Or Short Story Week And A Half? 50,000 words is a lot. But I will start today. Anyone else taking part in this lunacy?

Okay. I'm gonna try. I might need a support group for this one.

Monday, November 02, 2009