Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Money for Music

An interesting article in Pitchfork today about government support of the arts--namely popular music--in Scandinavian countries.

As American musicians wait to see whether Obama's landmark health-care legislation-- finally signed last week after a year of heated debate and concessions-- will do anything to relieve their worries about surging medical costs, countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Canada make it easier for bands to focus on the creative arts by providing not only universal health care, but often cold hard cash, too. Every year, millions in public money goes toward recording, artist promotion, videos, venues, touring, festivals-- even showcases at South By Southwest or CMJ Music Marathon. "Things that are not possible are made possible," notes Ólöf Arnalds, an Icelandic singer/multi-instrumentalist who has benefited from government support. Over the past decade, Sweden has, perhaps not coincidentally, become a major player in global indie music. So, too, has Canada, which also enjoys government support for pop music.

Of course the US will never ever approach this level of support for the arts. And, in a way, we shouldn't--that whole American can-do yadda yadda, you know. Which is valid. But, seems to me there should be something between the Scandinavian models and our assaulting each other over providing the most basic of health care. We amaze me.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Back From Whom?

From Frank Rich's Sunday column:

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

I've thought all along, with each new round of manufactured outrage, that this is what's at the bottom of the derangement of the birthers, and the teabaggers, and whatever other goon group of the month is making headlines. And I still think so.

America looks less and less like what these folks want it to, and their radio Gods never let them forget that things are getting away from them. That's hard to swallow.

No one ever said this would be easy. In fact, Obama has said over and over that it would be difficult for true change. This is what he means.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Party of...

From Dowd's column today:

“We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat,” Frum wrote on his blog, adding: “Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother?”

When Glenn Beck is the brains of your party, and John Boehner the face, you are in trouble. The Party of Taking My Toys and Going Home. The Party of Big F*#king Babies. The Party of Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy.

Okay, I'll stop. This is too easy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New on the Range

Lots of great new music on tap for today's Range Life. New tracks from Bonobo, She & Him, Frightened Rabbit, Summer Cats, Henrik Jose, Ted Leo, JJ, and a whole lot more.

Tune in 5 to 7 mountain time at www.radioboise.org.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BFD ctd


BFD Indeed!


No Ideas

The Party of Ignorance

Normally, I'm not a big fan of Bob Herbert. He can go a bit over the top for me. But in this column, I think he's got it right when no one else has the guts to say it out loud, let alone in print.

For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.

This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.

Read the whole thing. It's pretty good,. and in a lot of ways it barely scratches the surface (climate change denial, anyone?). And I'm very much open to debate about this.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"This Is What Change Looks Like"

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

They got it done. It was never easy or pretty, and the arguments will go on, but in passing the health care reform package Congress has done the right thing for the people of this country.

At the least, this is a really good start. It'll change and evolve, but at least we've put a foot on the path.

Nice one, Congress. Didn't think you had it in you.

Friday, March 19, 2010


"I just got into a dayshow where the lineup is Surfer Blood, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the xx, Superchunk. How sweet is that?" ~ HS

Yeah, pretty sweet. Damn.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Flying Lotus kicks SXSW square in the ass.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Reasonable, Responsible Plan

Krugman debunks a few of the big health care myths out there in his piece in today's NY Times.

Glad to see that health care reform is "back from the dead," as he says, though I thought that reports of its death were greatly exaggerated. The political sh*tstorm around this issue continues to baffle me. Trying to provide help with health care for those who can't afford it seems like a noble goal to me. Yet it's seen as the next great evil. Pure craziness.

Don't believe the spin and lies. We need this--even if you'll keep the insurance you have, even if you're into your Medicare years, this country needs this. There's no two ways about it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New on the Range

Yesterday saw the release of new albums from mysterious Swedish ethereal indie poppers JJ, as well as the latest from Scotland fellas Frightened Rabbit. That's a big day to me.

I'll be spinning new tracks from both of them--along with other cool new stuff from Jason Collett, Broken Social Scene, MGMT, The Sight Below, Local Natives, Broken Bells, Freelance Whales, Pantha du Prince, Daedelus, and a whole lot more. Plus some great remastered and re-released Pavement, just because.

Tune in to www.radioboise.org from 5 to 7pm mountain time, and again Friday from 1 to 3pm.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Funeral Singers Trailer

All My Friends Are Funeral Singers Trailer from Califone on Vimeo.

At SXSW this year, Califone will be performing the soundtrack to this film live along with a showing of the film. Were I going to be in Austin, this is something I would not miss.

We Are the Music Makers...

2 Good Reasons to Visit the Record Exchange Today

JJ No. 3

Frightened Rabbit, The Winter of Mixed Drinks

I've been waiting for both these releases for some time. They both drop today. Titus Andronicus, Ted Leo, and Besnard Lakes also have new records hitting shelves today. It's a good day to visit your local independent record store.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Teton Backcountry Ski Trip

The Tetons are a pretty sweet place for a first backcountry ski adventure. I lucked into a space in the Baldy Knoll Hut out of Driggs, ID, thanks to DV, as the only newbie on a trip with some folks I'd never met. Turns out, this'd be one of the coolest things I've ever done.

We had 3 nights in the hut and 2 full days skiing. We dug a few snow pits, did some beacon drills (Tip: turn your beacon on "transmit" or "send" mode before burying it in a drill), climbed and shuffled along many a ridge, and got in many many turns in some fresh gorgeous powder.

It was a great group, too. David came up from San Diego, me and Derek came from Boise, and Sean and Angie drove in from Butte, where they've been only since last fall. We fell easily into the rhythm of eat drink ski eat drink hang out etc.

The snow wasn't piling up, but we got about 5 inches the night before we hiked in. And the weather. If you can't have new snow every day, you want blue skies and sun and temps that stay low enough to keep all but the most sunbaked snow in very nice shape. And that's what we got.

When I decided to learn to ski at the tender age of 35, it was for the goal of skiing in the backcountry. I knew on this trip, before I ever pointed the skis downhill, that I'd made a wise decision.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

No Warren Miller Movie

But it sure was a blast up there. Pictures and a fuller account coming, but here's a video of my totally rad and aggressive backcountry skiing style. Honest, it's a bit steeper and deeper than it looks...