Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Miracle of America

Darcy and I met up with my parents in Polson to check out the Cherry Festival (which was pretty non-eventful, except that we found a couple of great used books) and tour the Miracle of America museum. Outside was a what appeared to be a tribute to Joey Lawrence.

The main building was a hodgepodge of lots of junk, going in a very loose chronological order starting with the Revolutionary war. After that it sort of broke down to being a WWII museum with little pieces of freak show-like exhibits.

I was glad to see they had a fool-proof security system in place. Although I'm not sure that asking a question about an exhibit is an "integral" part of security. Maybe you use it to alert the old lady at the front who takes your money that the two-headed calf has come to life and is wreaking havoc on tourists.

The overall theme of the tour was patriotism. I don't remember exactly how one sign put it, but it declared that after a war with the United States, those nations that accepted our way of life and followed the principles of democracy "usually prosper." Hmmmm. Maybe...

Outside was hodgepodge of vehicles and buildings that would be an amazing set for a horror movie. Think the creepy town in "The Hills Have Eyes" meets a haunted carnival from Scooby-Doo. They even had old, creepy sounding music blaring and armored personnel transports from the army driving around.

Now I'm back home listening to the last strains of Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible." Which is good, but doesn't compare to "Funeral," which I listened to yesterday. Sandwiched between the two albums were a couple of Arcade Fire covers I'd completely forgotten about - "Naive Melody" by the Talking Heads and "Born on a Train" by the Magnetic Fields. Both great songs, and I think Arcade Fire do them both justice. You can find them both here.

Before that I tackled my Aphex Twin collection and the self-titled Apollo Sunshine disc. Apollo Sunshine are a decent band, but not very noteworthy. Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) however is one of my favorite electronic producers. I won't go too far into what he does, but I've always found him to be cutting edge, original and a little bit creepy. When the "Come to Daddy" video came out, it flat out terrified me.

...and now, on to some Architecture in Helsinki.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer Paradise

This pretty much sums up Missoula in the summer.

Even spending what seems like all of my time at work, this summer has been pretty great. It's been hot, but not too hot. Shorts and T-Shirt weather, my favorite.

I spent yesterday afternoon and this morning listening to hours of Animal Collective songs. "Strawberry Jam," "Sung Tongs," and the "Water Curses" EP. They're one of those bands I feel like I have to like, which makes me sort of hate them. So hip and obscure. I feel like they were a bunch of band geeks who discovered drugs at an early age and never had any non-hipster friends to make fun of their pretentious, "atmospheric," warbley voiced music. I do think that Panda Bear (one of the members) is talented and like his solo efforts, maybe because his album Person Pitch sounds like B-sides of Pet Sounds, one of my all time favorite albums.

Luckily, the Animals "A's, B's and EP's" came on just in time to save me from a spiraling descent into hipsterdom. I really dig the Animals, to use the vernacular of the time. The organ lines are so deep and full sounding. I usually hate all the Essential Collections or Best ofs, but this album encompasses all of their great songs, not necessarily just the hits. It really is all the tracks I need from them in digital form.

And before I forget, here's the aftermath of the fire last week. The fire clocked in at over 300 acres, didn't harm any people or structures, and was the best excuse the town had for drinking beer outside on a non-holiday Thursday night. Overall, it was a success.
I'm going back to some reading and eagerly waiting for Darcy to get off work so we can slurp down some oysters at Finn and Porter's happy hour. Maybe now that Arriba's is closed and I'm getting into oysters this will be my new favorite happy hour. There aren't that many other contenders out there, so we'll see.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We Don't Need No Water...

Mt. Sentinel is on fire right now. This is the view from outside our front door.

Anyone that makes a Grateful Dead "Fire on the Mountain" reference will get a beat down...seriously.

Split Shift

Today was another beautiful day in Missoula. This summer's been great since the rain and snow stopped. We don't even have any forest fires like the ones in California so we can still actually see the mountains. And unlike a certain cat, the bat did not come back the very next day, or any other day so far. Our bat wasn't the only one in the news.

I had to be at work early today for a "team building" session. Not really my cup of tea, but we were treated to cookies, doughnuts and pizza, so it was worth it. At one, I was set free to enjoy the afternoon before returning to work in about an hour to finish out the day. What did I do? Listen to music of course.

Yesterday, I listened to Amon Tobin's "Foley Room," which could only be described as "lush." Here's a trailer for the documentary detailing the creation of this album.

This afternoon I started with AmpLive's remix album of Radiohead's "In Rainbows." There was a little bit of controversy over this album, but once Radiohead heard it, they were all for its release, assuming he didn't charge anything for it. It's one of those cases where creative commons licensing could have come in handy and saved everyone a lot of trouble. Download AmpLive's album here.

Up next? Amy Winehouse's "Frank." I've heard she despises this album, this being my first solid listen I think its pretty good. Lots of classic hip hop beats with her great voice. As long as it lasts, I guess. She's got a good chance of turning out to be this generation's Janis Joplin.

There were a few random tracks between Winehouse and Andrew Bird's "Solider On EP." Andrew Bird used to play with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, a band whose album "Hot" will always remind me of 7th Grade. Bird has a legion of fans who love his virtuoso violin playing and whistling, I'm not that well versed in his work. This EP was sold on his European tour, and somehow I ended up downloading it. It was enjoyable, but it didn't convert me into a die-hard fan.

I had to sit through this guys album.

Enough said.

And now I'm enjoying The Angry String Orchestra's tribute to Guns and Roses in all of its glory. I'm somewhat of a sucker for instrumental tribute albums, especially to bands like Guns and Roses. Welcome to the Jungle from this album makes it on to a lot of mix cds I make for people.

Whew! It's almost time for work...again.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gone Batty!

We woke up this morning to a bat hanging on our back window! It was pretty cool, and hung out (literally...haha) for about 10 hours today. All of our neighbors stopped by to take pictures and otherwise ogle the poor beast, but it seemed unaffected. About 45 minutes ago, Darcy and I sat and watched as it slowly woke up, scratched himself, pooped and flew away. I've never been close enough to watch something like that and it felt really cool. I really never knew there were many bats around here, but it makes sense. I hope it eats all the bugs in the backyard, since they've been horrible this year. More pictures here.

This weekend I listened to two Alice In Chains albums, "Dirt" and "Jar of Flies" which were a total blast from the past. Their MTV Unplugged album would be the greatest of the unplugged albums if those pesky Nirvana fellows hadn't gone along and recorded one of their own. Jay-Z's wasn't too bad either. But I digress. Most of their unplugged material was culled from the above two albums and listening to it made me feel like I was in 8th grade again. In a really good way. They actually made beautiful instrumental tracks that were never really appreciated or remembered, at least by me anyway.

After that was the All Girl Summer Fun Band's self-titled album which, for obvious reasons, is best listened to in the summer. It's really fun and reminds me of some of my favorite Missoulian ex-patriots Razz 'm Tazz. I miss being able to see them play, but I think they'll be at this years Total Fest, which I'm totally looking forward to.

In other news, Darcy and I got mimosas and spyed on a particularily creepy wedding at the Holiday Inn near our house this afternoon. The couple seemed to be in for a lot of "enduring" and "leadership," if the words of the preacher were to be believed. I really don't want to end this three-day weekend, but time is running short, so I'll sign off here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

...One Week Later

So, It's been a week since I've updated. It's been a hot week. Our apartment is consistently reaching temperatures in the mid 80s during the day. We have a couple of fans, but they don't really do much to help, but they keep the air moving. That being said, I'd rather have this heat than the extreme cold of a Montana winter. Soon, Darcy and I will be going to movies just to escape the heat. Last year that resulted in us watching "License to Wed," a film I would not recommend to anyone.

On the music front, I spent the tail end of last week listening to a forgettable hip hop album from Akrobatik called "Balance." Not awful, just sort of there, with a couple of nice beats and an above average flow, but nothing to write home about.

Then I moved on to the Alan Parsons Project. I started with the classic 1981 album "Eye in the Sky." Despite it being made in the 80s, I still felt like I needed a Quaalude to fully understand the 70s style soft rock. Speaking of Quaaludes, have you watched the new show "Swingtown" on CBS yet?

It's a great show, and perfect for summer. I've really been digging it. Watch full episodes online here.

Then other Alan Parsons album on my computer was "Tales of Mystery and Imagination," where Parsons creates a soundtrack for the works of Edgar Allen Poe. IT's good, and really good music to read to which I did.

I relived some of the 90s next with Alanis Morissette's classic "Jagged Little Pill." I've always maintained that whether or not she meant it, her song "Ironic" is the best definition of Irony, since none of her examples of Irony in the song are actually ironic, which is by definition Ironic! Awesome!

In the midst of the Alanis listening I got a call from one of my oldest friends Jake, who lives in Sweeden, saying he was in town. I went out and had a few beers and cheese fries with him and caught up on old times. It was nice.

Now I'm listening to Alice Donut "Donut Comes Alive," which sounds exactly as it should, being on Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles (link slightly NSFW) label. More soon.