Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Let the Clueless Hear Candy #1: Ira Ironstrings - Music for People with $3.98 (Plus Tax, If Any)

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 10:24 AM

Every month, I pick a record from Ear Candy’s used section based on the cover alone. Some audiophiles refer to this practice as “Johnny’s Chancers.” I then review the record. This is Let the Clueless Hear Candy.


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Friday, May 13, 2016

Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" airs some familiar Montana people, places on Sunday

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 12:34 PM

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Anthony Bourdain's award-winning CNN travel show, "Parts Unknown," traveled to Butte, Livingston and some surrounding areas late last year. That episode, which also features some of the last footage of author and poet Jim Harrison, premieres Sunday night. 

Bourdain has long been a fan of Harrison — and, by extension, Montana. His previous show, "No Reservations," visited the state about seven years ago and remains in reruns a worthy love letter to Big Sky Country. This weekend's episode looks to be more of the same, if not even more special considering Harrison's recent death. 

"You may be the most cynical, born and bred, citified lefty like me — instinctively skeptical of big concepts like 'patriotism', relatively foreign to hunting culture, unused to wide open spaces, but spend any length of time traveling around Montana and you will understand what all that 'purple mountains majesty' is all about, you’ll soon be wrapping yourself in the flag and yelling, 'America, fuck yeah!' with an absolute and non-ironic sincerity that will take you by surprise," Bourdain wrote in advance of the episode. "You will understand why and what people fought and died for — or at least perceived themselves to be fighting and dying for when, either defending Native American hunting grounds against Custer, or 'defending America' against foreign aggressors — and you will be stunned, stunned and silenced by the breathtaking, magnificent beauty of Montana’s wide open spaces."

He goes on — "And when you look up at the night skies over Montana, it’s hard not to think that we can’t be alone on this rock, that there isn’t something else out there or up there, in charge of this whole crazy ass enterprise." — before ending up writing about the one thing that's always been, for him, one of Montana's main attractions. 

We show you a lot of beautiful spaces and very nice people in this episode, but its beating heart, and the principal reason I’ve always come to Montana is Jim Harrison, the poet, author and great American-a hero of mine — and millions of others around the world.

Harrison — and his fishing guide, Dan Lahren, who spoke with the Indy after his friend passed away — feature prominently in the episode. You can see a short clip below. It airs in Montana at 7 p.m. on Sunday night, and re-airs again at 10 p.m. In the meantime, it's worth reading his full essay about Harrison and Montana right here



About last night: Turkuaz at the Top Hat

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 12:31 PM

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Turkuaz's Dave Brandwein talks modern funk, King Arthur and digital madness

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 11:48 AM

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Brooklyn “powerfunk” band Turkuaz takes a modern approach to classic funk sound.
They have a few songs titles that seem apt to the genre—“Doktor Jazz,” for instance—but also unexpected titles such as “European Festivity Nightmare” and “Murder Face.” The 9-piece band tours constantly and has already been through Missoula twice. In anticipation of their return to the Top Hat tonight, we spoke with frontman Dave Brandwein about the modern funk band's style.

Tell me about how Digitonium is different from your other albums.
Dave Brandwein: It was an attempt to go for a more futuristic funk kind of hi-fi digital sound, and it’s a lot more synth-y than what we’d done. In the past, we were more organic or even more ’60s and ’70s-style funk. Digitonium is more of the 1980s-style funk with a futuristic twist on it. I borrowed the word from the movie The Sword and the Stone, actually. I thought it was such a curious word to be in this old cartoon from the ’60s about midievil times—it sounds so futuristic to me—so we kind of used that as concept to build the album around.
We also went into the studio without most of the material written this time around, which is a unique experience for us that yielded awesome results. We were able to write while we were recording, which made for keeping things really fresh and exciting and collaborative. It was definitely a new experience and our favorite one yet.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
DB: I personally grew up listening to mostly classic rock: Stones, Beatles, Floyd, Zeppelin—things like that. And I kind of transitioned into some Steely Dan and some jazz and then came out the other end on the funk spectrum. But there being nine people in the band, so if you asked each person, they would have their own very different set of answers, which is one of the perks of having a large band. There are so many influences coming together, different sensibilities, different musical backgrounds that all contribute to the sound. But I think my classic rock influences our lyrics and vocals, which makes it different than a lot of funk.

Yeah, a lot of funk is purely feel-good music. It’s just about dancing. But your songs actually have some underlying tension and storylines.
DB: That’s part of the thing I like. For James Brown it made sense. He was inventing and cultivating a new style of music and he wanted to talk about the funk and the groove. But for us it seems a little disingenuous to do that, so I try to get creative and more abstract with lyrical ideas, make more story lines and reference things that actually happened to us in our lives. I like to let the music speak for itself and the lyrics say something totally different.

What’s “Lift it Up” about?
DB: Like I mentioned, the title, Digitonium, is borrowed form The Sword and the Stone and, actually, if you look at the lyrics throughout a lot of the record it’s pretty topical to that movie and the legend of King Arthur. That theme continues throughout the album. That song is sort of about finding who the future king is. It’s about the old king dying and about who can lift the sword out of the ground, basically.

Is that a metaphor or are you just into the story of King Arthur?
DB: We actually created a metaphor for Digitonium and how it sounds like a future word. I created this world referred to as “Computer World”—pretty blatant to our times, obviously—and so you see Computer World throughout the record, too. It’s an analogy to our modern struggle, like the idea of lifting the sword and being able to break the code and discover your own personality and reality amongst all this digital madness that surrounds us. And it goes along with the more literal King Arthur legend that’s described throughout the album. And of course a good amount of the album is just pure nonsense, as well. Not every word means something.

What do you think about the digital madness right now?
DB: The world is changing and that’s hard. I find myself a slave to it sometimes, not taking in what’s around me and forgetting to have the kind of experiences that I remember when I was kid, before everyone looked at their phones all the time and everything was about social media. I remember when people would actually have to call each other and be on time and learn how to break awkward silences. That doesn’t happen any more. I think getting back to that human interaction is an important thing. I don’t always succeed, but I try to remind myself everyday.

What’s the origin story of Turkuaz?
DB: Most of us met at school in Boston, at Berklee [College of Music], and then moved to Brooklyn shortly after and formed the existing lineup that we have now. We started touring in 2012, doing about 180 shows a year. And we’ve been doing that ever since. Being on the road over 200 days a year, we’ve become a tight bunch. All of us are really good friends.

With so much touring, can you narrow down some of your favorite shows?
DB: It’s always fun for us to play Brooklyn Bowl, which is kind of our home venue. We just did a three night run there to kick off this tour. We sold out Friday and Saturday and that send off was really amazing. We had some great festivals we’ve done over the years—High Sierra Music Festival in California and the Catskill Chill Festival in upstate New York where we did some really cool cover sets, like Sly and the Family Stone and Studio 54. Honestly, we’ve had great shows at the Top Hat. We’ve been there twice and each time has been really awesome.

You do a lot with costumes and choreography, too, right?
DB: Each band member has their own designated color and that manifests itself in the form of a few different outfits. We have suits, members-only jackets, jumpsuits and sometimes we’ll just wear T-shirts and jeans if we’re feeling a little more casual. But it’s always color coordinated. There’s definitely some stage choreography as well. A lot of the choreography happens because one person does something and we all get into it. We don’t have a choreographer or specifically rehearse a lot of stuff. It’s a pretty organic thing. It comes out of having fun. And that’s what happens. Andbecause of the color and choreography I’d say the shows are equally visual as they are a sonic experience.
Turkuaz plays the Top Hat Thu., May 12, along with The 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Photos from Saturday night's Dead Winter Carpenters and Local Yokel show at the Top Hat

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 6:19 PM

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Photos from Saturday night's Death Cab for Cutie concert at the Adams Center

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 6:18 PM

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Camp Daze countdown is on

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 4:38 PM

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When we shut the doors on Total Fest last August, we tried to make it pretty clear that Camp Daze is a worthy use of the freewheelin' Missoulian's time, energy and dollars. This similarly volunteer-run festival is entering its third year, and we like the spontaneity, all-ages welcome, and DIYness of the thing.

It's its own deal, for sure. Certainly if Total Fest had a bent toward noise rock or heavy stuff, I'd say that Camp Daze oeuvre is a little more pop-punk, "post rock" focused. And I say that lovingly, as a guy with a fair amount of pop in his collection. If you get too macho about your music, I think you run the risk of becoming a parody of a music fan. I'd never heard of Florist, for example, but they just did and NPR Tiny Desk concert and they're coming to Camp Daze from the other side of the country. 
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Right now (but for how long...) Camp Daze is selling a full pass to the thing for $40, which is significant discount, and is rather insane when you think of the fact that you can get four days worth of festival out of that. I'm pretty sure the $40 passes are about sold through, so don't complain if you don't get one for that much. You just could, if you were to now, you know. 

Some stuff I'm keen to check out includes:
Vasas (played Total Fest XIV)
Gold Leather (Wes Williamson's new Austin, TX band. Wes is from Missoula, Riddilin Que, etc!)
Snow Bored (Billings! Surf/garage)
Like a Villain (Whoah!)

And some rad locals like Eat Strike, Wojtek, Rooster Sauce, Sunraiser, Gerygone and Twig, Holy Lands and Mido Skip are ripping the thing too. All this happens between the Zootown Arts Community Center, VFW (and some backyards) from June 2 to June 5, here in Missoula City, U.S.
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Freddy Monares captures a moment with "door man" and UM actor Marquis Dijon Archuleta

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 6:42 PM

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Marquis Dijon Archuleta, a University of Montana theater student, spends his free time on the steps of the Social Science building opening doors for other students and practicing his lines for whichever play he happens to be in at the time. Check out the multimedia story below about Archuleta, created by Freddy Monares from UM's School of Journalism.

Archuleta stars in the school's current production of Romeo & Juliet playing the role of Lord Capulet, Juliet's father. The play continues at the Montana Theatre tonight through Saturday and again Tue., May 3, through Sat., May 7.  

You can check out more work from Monares here.

The Door Man from Freddy Monares on Vimeo.


Photos: University of Montana's Dance New Works continues through April 30

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 4:22 PM

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About last night: photos from the M83 show at the Wilma

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 4:20 PM

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