I started an end of year, best-of 2012 list over at Weird Missoula a few weeks ago, and of course as soon as you do something like that, you know, you remember all the stuff you forgot. So, hey, here's some more good things, not so good things, and errr, reflections from 2012, from my vantage point. Excuse the relative stream-o-consciousness happening here.
Not the Steve Martin movie. Awwwww, yeah, this is another bleary-eyed screed from a new parent about how being part of a new life is so crucial and grounding and simultaneously uplifting or whatever. And mind-blowing. And you never get any sleep. Well, it is all that shit, and whole bunch more emotion that doesn't really nicely compress into words. And you get some sleep. I went thirty seven years before diving in, and well, it's certainly nuts, and excellent and tests your mettle and means you've got to kind of watch the Kowloon Walled City on the stereo after about 7:00 PM. Wouldn't trade it for nuthin'. I also gained a deeper appreciation of Missoula, Montana and the people here who brought over the mountains of caserole-type food, beer and dessert for a couple weeks after the dude was born. Hopefully this isn't killing you with sappiness.
Dan Deacon America LP
Electronic music guy whose music is so energetic and interesting, it just doesn't remind you at all of the heaps of dullness that exist in this electronic music realm, with its massive and mostly untapped potential. This record's got a classical album kind of hugeness to it, and I love the fact that it's got a song called USA I: Is A Monster.
No Statik Everywhere You Aren't Looking
I really started getting into hardcore when Tom from the old Missoula hardcore group Ass-End Offend introduced me to the Oakland band Artimus Pyle, whose Fucked From Birth LP holds up incredibly well as a rippingly angry mid-Bush jr. era piece of focused, protest. Robert Collins from that band (and Fuckface, who played my college house's basement, in the mid '90s) is a man about town in the world of lifer punk/hardcore folks. He regularly puts stuff on the MRR website and does a blog about obscure crust punk from far out parts of the world. Robert's new band is No Statik, who I got to see play a couple summers ago, and whose rage I've been in love with ever since. Treat yourself. They're seriously excellent.
Missoula, its tunes and more.
I really liked seeing Needlecraft in 2012, even if they played about 6 times a week for a fair amount of the summer. They bring spectacle, show-womanship, bone-simple and perfect pop songs about tacos and burritos, and have a freakin' blast of a of time doing it. They went through at least three guitar players in about four months. They toured a couple times, talked some young fellers into being exploited as shirtless dancers in go-go shorts and ruled a ton, for my money. I also really have enjoyed checking out local bands at the band-currated months at the VFW. VTO, Bird's Mile Home, and their peers all did some solid work putting together really interesting shows. For a town our size, we've got some good things happening. Also, in terms of new Missoula developments, Burns St. Bistro is an absolute gem of a place. Making stuff from scratch, candying bacon and blasting out the the BBIT, I think. Could eat it every day. Would be fatter.
What Missoula Needs, and Doesn't.
Dare one occasionally challenge his community to live up to more of its great potential? Why, yes. Here's the soapbox getting slid out from under the bed. Yes, in 2012 we saw lots of examples of public shittiness that got our community onto the map for all the wrong reasons. I didn't think I'd be carping on this, but we need more moderation, and less bingy, dipshit behavior across the board. Drinking too much and acting like pricks isn't strictly a problem of fratboys, jocks, students or even young people. It permeates. Somewhat overshadowed by the rapes last year was the fact that our drunk driving problem is not getting better. The other night the cops gave out 12 DUIs. In a single evening. Six was considered a lot before that. So it's a problem that's not going away. Sure, college is about occasionally sewing your wild oats or whatever, and I absolutely love beer, but my god. From a legal standpoint, I think we need less tolerance and higher costs for people who drive drunk, and some clearer heads on occasion. As a society I don't know what the answer is, but I think it has to do with moderating ourselves.
Two important Missoulians left us this year, and I've been kind of continually reminded as I do things like invite people to an event using facebook (and get asked if I want to invite Ferd and Aaron) or look up phone numbers and come across these guys. I guess it's been most sad because I wouldn't have thought that either of them was anywhere close to even the halfway point in their lives. Scott "Ferd" Ferdinand was just Ferd to most of us, and he was a fixture here for years and years. A huge fan of punk rock, garage and underground music, Ferd played tunes, went to shows and added more color to the scene than you can imagine. Super good dude. Aaron Bolton too. Always a smile from that guy and lots of contributions to make this place better. RIP dudes.
A lot of wild stuff happens backstage in a green room. Bands like Mötley Crüe had no qualms giving us the sordid behind-the-scenes details of what happened before and after their shows. Jimmy Kimmel's green room has become infamous for its party atmosphere and strange meetings. There are sweet stories about green rooms, too, where artists cross paths in a moment of serendipity and respect. Above all, we like to think of a green room as a place where good ideas come about in a candid fashion, on-the-fly.
Green Room, the Indy's new arts forum, brings that same idea to the web. It's an online space for reporting and discussion of the Missoula arts scene by our arts reporters, by local artists, by arts connoisseurs and, hopefully, by you. We'll be looking to the community for strong opinions, enlightening commentary and constructive questions, and we'll be seeing those both in the comments section and through regular guest bylines.
We hope to create an atmosphere that's as intimate as a green room with a limitless space for conversation—even debate—about local music, visual art, dance, theater, writing, film and everything else that falls into the art realm. We've got a fine thing going here in the Missoula art world and it's something worth talking about. Now, with Green Room, we have a place where that conversation can happen.
Photo by Cathrine L. Walters