September 19, 2014
HIGH LIFE 9-19-14 (Rachel Patrie Edition)

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Took a week off of our trip through the 1980’s so we could assist in the DJ training of one of our (and Missoula’s) favorite folks: Ms. Rachel Patrie. If you listen closely you can hear her say some stuff. The playlist was a true collaborative effort: both she and I threw a bunch of stuff at the wall and if it stuck it sounds great, if not, don’t you worry about it. From that Babes in Toyland song on we tried to keep the songs in a lady-centric-zone because Ms. Patrie is planning on getting a lady-centric KBGA show off the ground and we figured “HEY! why not just do that now?”

There’s a KBGA news break in the middle there so feel free to fast-forward or if you’re OK with listening to a daily broadcast from the past it’s totally your call. We’re that user-friendly.

Stay tuned for next week on 89.9FM KBGA when we return to our 1980’s series with 1983, they year I (your humble editor) was born. Ay yi yi.

Here’s the playlist:

Excepter - Sunrise
Faust - It’s a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl
The Walker Brothers - Nite Flights
Sean Nicholas Savage - She Looks Like You
The Blue Nile - A Walk Across the Rooftops
Iji - Hush Puppy
The Tammys - Egyptian Shumba
Nikki Sudden - Channel Steamer
The Cleaners From Venus - Marilyn on a Train (1982 Version)
Babes in Toyland - Sweet ‘69
The Slits - So Tough
X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents
Fleetwood Mac - That’s Alright
Grace Jones - Warm Leatherette
Peaking Lights - Midnight (In the Valley of Shadows)
Chandra - Kate
Sonic Youth - Little Trouble Girl
Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions - Trouble
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Hong Kong Garden
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
Julia Holter - Horns Surrounding Me
Young Marble Giants - Credit In the Straight World
Chrisma - Aurora B
Black Bananas - Physical Emotions
Family Fodder - Film Music
The Flying Lizards - TV
Maria Minerva - Soo High
Geneva Jacuzzi - Love Caboose

Stream it here: HIGH LIFE 9-19-14 (Rachel Patrie Edition)

September 17, 2014
HIGH LIFE 9-12-14 (1982 Edition)

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After going at it for these however-many weeks, I can tell you right now that the mid-80’s onward are just gonna get weirder and weirder. We’re not there yet, no, but researching a decade like this where the majority of my memories consist of eating crackers in an airplane (1985ish) or attending kindergarten (1988) has been nothing but rewarding. I already listen to a large percentage of this music but putting it into the context that I am is making me appreciate it from a different perspective. Dunno what that perspective is completely, but by the end of this thing I may have your answer.

HIGH LIFE is a Weird Missoula-affiliated radio show airing every Friday evening from 4pm to 6pm on 89.9FM KBGA. You can listen in Missoula, Montana or the surrounding area. Enjoy.

Here’s the playlist:

Brian Eno - A Clearing
Mission of Burma - Trem Two
INXS - To Look At You
Roxy Music - More Than This
Maximum Joy - Searching For a Feeling
Kid Creole & The Coconuts - K Pasa-Pop I
Dexy’s Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)
Kate Bush - Suspended in Gaffa
B-52’s - Deep Sleep
Rammelzee vs. K-Rob - Beat Bop
Gang of Four - Call Me Up
Cocteau Twins - Blood Bitch
The Saints - Out in the Jungle
The Clean - Slug Song
Savage Republic - Exodus
Walter Steding and the Dragon People - New Day
The Cure - A Strange Day
Tom Verlaine - Days on the Mountain
Nikki Sudden - Channel Steamer
Bored Games - Joe 90
Fleetwood Mac - Empire State
TV21 - All Join Hands
The Clash - Straight to Hell
Operating Theatre - Eighties Rampwalk
Crass- Major General Despair

Stream it here: HIGH LIFE (1982 Edition)

September 8, 2014
HIGH LIFE 9-7-14 (1981 Edition)

The decade continues. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this post. 1981 was a weird year. Reagan was finally sworn in, he was shot, he survived. The first test-tube baby was born. Muhammad Ali boxed for the last time. Apparently the Italian government collapsed when it was found out most of the officials were connected to some shady, fascist rogue Masonic lodge called Propaganda Due. It’s actually a pretty cool story. Bob Marley died at age 36 from cancer.

This is the last episode of HIGH LIFE featured on KBGA for the foreseeable future, I’m taking a new job that causes something of a scheduling conflict and at the moment, there’s no time-slot available that would work. It’s a bummer, for sure, but we’ll be continuing this Eighties Series, piecing together our mixes and probably just putting them directly on Mixcloud and this blog. We hope to find a new slot on KBGA soon but oh well. We’ll let you know. Expect 1982 in a week or so.

Here’s the playlist:

 Craig Leon - She Wears a Hemispherical Skullcap
 Modern Guy - Electrique Sylvie (Full Length Version)
 Tom Tom Club - Genius Of Love
 23 Skidoo - Last Words
 The Human League - I Am The Law
 Kraftwerk - Computer Love
 The Homosexuals - Nursery Chimes
 The Cleaners From Venus - Helpless
 Rolling Stones - Heaven
 Grace Jones - Art Groupie
 This Heat - Sleep
 The Au Pairs - Repetition
 Echo & the Bunnymen - Over the Wall
 Public Image Limited - Flowers of Romance
 The Clean - Quickstep (Live)
 The Barracudas - Don’t Let Go
 The dB’s - Black and White
 Dolphins - She Took A Long Cold Look
 Television Personalities - This Angry Silence
 The Slits - Earthbeat
 Gang of Four - What We All Want 
 Bush Tetras - You Can’t Be Funky
 Delta 5 - Journey
 The Birthday Party - Cry
 The Laughing Apple - Wouldn’t You
 New Order - Dreams Never End
 The Blue Nile - I Love This Life
 The Go-Go’s - Our Lips Are Sealed
 Lindsey Buckingham - Mary Lee Jones
 The Stranglers - Golden Brown
 ESG - UFO

Stream it here: HIGH LIFE 9-7-14 (1981 Edition)

September 6, 2014
(Live) Blogging Hemp Fest

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I spent the better part of my day at Missoula’s 19th Annual Hempfest in Caras Park. It was everything I hoped for and more. All times listed are PM in the possibility that you cared or something.

1:39 - “This Fest is DOPE, y’all!”
1:44 - The guy at the booth selling scarves and weapons really loves demonstrating his taser.
1:58 - There he goes again.
2:37 - I’ve seen at least five people dressed like Sinbad the Sailor.
2:41 - Taser time.
2:46 - If Spencer’s Gifts had a stand at this thing they’d be sure to make a killing.
2:47 - White people everywhere wearing red, green, and gold.
2:57 - Taser guy strikes.
3:04 - Three very fucked up people just showed up. One guy dressed as sexy Batman, two others, a guy and a lady, in matching sexy Robin costumes.
3:50 - Pretty boring, save for a band in full cowboy regalia playing “Super Freak.”
3:59 - The dude next to me just took a shit ton of drops from some weed tincture offered by a hippie-mom. 
4:01 - Q: “Is this music?” A: “I think so.”
4:18 - It’s always amazing the crossover between crust punks and hippies at events like this.
4:59 - Success! First juggalo sighting of the day!
5:02 - The oldest hippies here look 29 going on 70.
5:05 - The Joker has arrived! At least some dude in full costume. Sexy Batman and Robins are long gone. :(
5:23 - A dude with a fannypack and the most perplexing body.
6:42 - And now I am no longer there. It’s still going til at least 10pm I’m pretty sure.
9:46 - I can still hear this from my house across the river. 

September 1, 2014
HIGH LIFE 8-31-14 (1980 Edition)

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This is the first in a series of ten radio shows I’ve put together documenting music of the 1980s. The first question you may be asking is “why?” and to be honest, I didn’t really have a reason when I decided to do this. You could say I chose this decade willy-nilly (I did), but the more I’ve delved deep the more I’m certain that the 80s deserves a better representation than whatever passes for nostalgia radio these days. There are gonna be some “hits” from time to time but really, I’ve tried hard to avoid most of the stereotypes consuming those ten years. Consider this an “alternative history” of 1980s music. It isn’t all pop, it isn’t all new wave, or punk, or whatever. I tried hard to create a well rounded playlist for each decade that still fits into the loosely defined aesthetic of HIGH LIFE.

To explain my process: each show specifies a year and all of the music played in each show was released during the year in question. There are bound to be some historical errors but this is an example of my methodology: if an English band released a record in England in 1984 but it wasn’t released in the US until 1985, I considered the songs for the 1984 show. Sometimes the release dates are a little fuzzier for some of the more obscure bands and via research I attempted to make my best judgement.

You may not hear a lot of your favorite 80s artists. I’m not a huge fan of a lot of the mid-to-late 80s alternative rock scene ala Butthole Surfers, Husker Du, or The Replacements, but I tried to find homes for some of their better songs somewhere. These are incomplete playlists dictated by the two-hour maximum time allotted for a radio show. I did my best. I hope you enjoy this edition of HIGH LIFE and stick with me for the next nine weeks. If there’s a call for it I may make these available for download.

Kisses, Lord Topia.

Here’s the playlist:

 Glenn Branca - Lesson #1 For Electric Guitar
 Winston Edwards & Blackbeard - Downing Street Rock
 New Age Steppers - Fade Away
 Poly Styrene - Toytown
 The Specials - Stereotype
 Grace Jones - Pars
 Lizzie Mercier Descloux - Five Troubles Mambo
 Harald Grosskopf - So weit, so gut
 OMD - Bunker Soldiers
 Suicide - Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne
 Chandra - Kate
 Prince - When You Were Mine 
 Diana Ross - My Old Piano
 Gary Burbank - Who Shot JR
 David Bowie - Up the Hill Backwards
 The Clean - Oddity
 Echo & the Bunnymen - Stars Are Stars 
 Colin Newman - &Jury
 Adam & the Ants - Kick! (Single Version)
 The Ramones - Return of Jackie and Judy
 The Cure - So What
 Swell Maps - The Helicopter Spies
 Siouxsie and the Banshees - Christine
 Joy Division - A Means To An End
 Young Marble Giants - The Man Amplifier
 Talking Heads - Crosseyed and Painless
 Public Image Limited - Poptones
 Snakefinger - Living In Vain
 New Age Steppers - Animal Space

Stream it here: HIGH LIFE 8-31-14 (1980 Edition) NOTE: I totally mistitled this show on Mixcloud as 9-1-14, I’m aware it’s wrong and Mixcloud won’t let you change the titles so…oh well.

August 20, 2014
The Ancient Forest Band — THE ANCIENT FOREST BAND from the OLE BECK

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Sometimes you just gotta wait for the stuff. THAT stuff, you know, the stuff you’ve been waiting for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be groundbreaking (it isn’t) but that stuff is still there waiting for you whenever you wanna recognize it’s there. Missoula’s had that stuff for a long long time in the form of Kalen Walther’s Ancient Forest, our resident hermetic psych-folk-rock chanteuse.

The last few times we’ve been lucky enough to catch Ancient Forest it’s been a sublime affair. He’d graduated to the world of two-man band with the addition of a man named Cooper on bass. There was something unsettlingly beautiful about that lineup. I don’t think it lasted very long because here we have what I think may be the first full-band Ancient Forest recording. Sam Molstad rounds out the ‘Forest on drums and though I was skeptical at first (I really liked the percussion-less sets) this version is phenomenal.

It’s a live album. So you know that, I mean. It’s a live album recorded at the Ole Beck VFW Post, presumably made during their show with Iji a few weeks ago.

Syd Barrett, Skip Spence, and White Fence references may abound and really, they’re all true, but Ancient Forest is still a kind of mirage in a town that doesn’t have anything even approaching this level of depth within what (I guess) I’ll call the “psych idiom.” We need Ancient Forest. We need Ancient Forest to succeed. This record is really great and it’s the kind of document I’d like to see as the tea leaves predicting an absolute masterpiece of an album, hopefully to come. You can do it, guys. 

Some fave tracks, dunno if Tumblr is still weird with Bandcamp links or not:

You can purchase THE ANCIENT FOREST BAND from the OLE BECK at a cost you choose from their Bandcamp site. We highly recommend it. 

August 20, 2014
We Be Sad

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We had such High Hopes for you guys this month. It Was Not To Be. First off, the projected show (that would’ve happened two Sundays ago) with Arizona’s Prom Body didn’t materialize. They had van problems and had to abruptly return home. We understand and all. Still a bummer.

Secondly, Minneapolis’ Tender Meat (pictured above) was gonna roll through with Midwestern weirdo/sports columnist Matthew Saint-Germaine August 30th. That would’ve been one killer night to remember but alas, they too have canceled their tour. UGH. You guys!

Take some solace, the boys in Tender Meat just released an album today via Minneapolis label Totally Gross National Product. Entitled Hello, World, it’s available for streaming in its entirety today. Check it out.

We be sad. Two cool things planned for you, our friends and readers getting by in our fair Missoula-town. Though we’ve taken a bit of a sabbatical from booking shows, we hope to have something available for you guys in the not-to-distant future.

MUCH LOVE.

August 17, 2014
Total Weekend XIII: All I Want Right Now Is Fried Chicken

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Once again this Missoula-place turned into a mecca for the sweater-toothed and right on, it was worth it. It was really worth it, guys. We saw more than we have in years previous, we’re still reeling from minds blown despite the fact our illustrious editor felt like an Old Man for much of the weekend. HELL IS REAL. I’ve been getting there, feeling 10 years older every day for the last week. I’m 203 now. I look awesome. I feel like all I want right now is fried chicken.

So after our favorite-thing-that-happens-in-Missoula is over, what the hell do we do now? No idea. This was kind of a watershed Total Fest for us. You may or may not know this but two Important Missoulians left town. They’ve left marks on festivals past and neither was in attendance. You were missed, Dane “Naked” Hansen and Colin “University” Johnson. It doesn’t help either that Important Missoulian Mikki “Internet” Lunda announced plans to leave town too. I’m beside myself, guys. What are we to do??? I totally understand the need-to-leave but I’m sad and these three folks are/and have left massive holes in our little town. :(

Oh well….still had fun this year. Most memorable to these ears (in no particular order): Dreamsalon, Darto, Chastity Belt, American Cream, Chemical Lawns, the last bit we saw of Shramana, KITTEN FOREVER, J. Sherri, King Lollipop, Toupee, Nerve Beats (wow!), and of course WOLF EYES. Saw some girl that looked like a blonde version of our friend Martha, watched some lady enter the festival with her dog and complain the music was too loud, Reggie Watts crashed the thing again, someone threw up outside, debauch debauch debauch, after parties that were probably amazing that I didn’t go to (Old Man Excuses). Another year, guys. We have to wait another fucking year.

And because I love lists, here’s some cool groups that come to mind should the Total Fest committee have trouble thinking of bands or whatever for next year (no order):

1. Punishment. From Seattle, he’s pretty hard to describe. Some of you may remember the time we brought him to town along with solo-Megabog at the ZACC about a year or something ago.

2. U.S. Girls. From Chicago (or maybe Canada now? dunno). Just listen to her shit and fucking do it already. One of the best.

3. Megabog. Seattle again. In a similar vein with say, Chastity Belt (bring them back too!), and they cover Kevin Ayers so they’re golden in my book(s).

4. Naomi Punk. They live in Olympia now and are thankfully nothing like those joyless poli-prudes that seem to overpopulate the place. The Only Grunge I Like. Killer live, doods. Bring them to this festival.

We could probably think of more but hey, we don’t wanna be too annoying. Bring back all the good bands too, we never get sick of good bands. CYA next year.

August 9, 2014
Weird Missoula’s Total Fest XIII Top Ten With That Stuff

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Missoula Punk News’ Kate Whittle just posted a list of the top ten or so bands she’s anticipating at Total Fest this year. Good idea. We’re just going to take that and run with it it. This is very very loosely ranked, btw.

1. Wolf Eyes (pictured above)I’ve been lucky enough to see Wolf Eyes multiple times in the past and I can attest to the absolutely mind-melting effects their music has in person. You’ll be on the edge of the abyss knowing full well that that abyss is looking right though you (pardon le cliche). You will go insane. Wolf Eyes is easily the heaviest band to have played Total Fest in the history of Total Fests. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Palace Lounge)

2. Nerve Beats. Who would’ve thunk there’d be a band like Nerve Beats playin’ Total Fest? Not this guy. Nerdy post-punk angular jizz jazz fusion or whatever. Shit’s taught, Wire-y, just up my kind of anti-punk Punk alley. They would totally rule that Punk Alley. Can’t wait. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Palace Lounge)

3. J.Sherri. Together with Boys (also playing Total Fest this year) and anything Max Roberston is doing, this is my favorite band in Missoula right now. (Re)Joining forces with their drummer Sam (who is a big part of the Sherri’s Prince-esque public language), their performance at Total Fest is something that really shouldn’t be missed. I remember hearing a rumor that one veteran member of the TF committee “doesn’t really get it” but to be honest, I don’t think “getting it” is the point. These kids got the stuff and to define the stuff is to completely misunderstand what the stuff is doing to your groin. (playing Saturday Aug. 16th at Big Dipper during the Record Swap)

4. Dreamsalon. Seattle seems to have a glut of good bands spewing out of the ashes of their ill-advised grunge experiment from howevermany years ago that was. I dunno. I was in middle school. Most kids today touting Nirvana are/were younger BY FAR. Don’t mean to pull out Mr. Older-Wiser, but come on, there are some better ideas floating around in the music ether and Dreamsalon just got that stuff. Dreamsalon = psych rock without all the wishywashy un-fun blokes running down yer good time. (playing Friday, Aug. 15th at The Palace Lounge)

5. Sediment Club. Rhode Island has always been known as the prime purveyors of The Weirdness, The We-Hate-New-York-School, and the General Fucked-Up-Ed-Ness of the East Coast. Sediment Club plays that card and then just pretty well runs with it. We don’t necessarily have a Lightning Bolt on our hands (thank gawd) but we almost have an Arab on Radar. These dudes write some seriously fucked up amalgamations of sound that the better part of me would classify as songs. True Total Fest children, Queen Mab, these guys. (playing Friday, Aug. 15th at The Badlander)

6. Woolen Men. This is for you ten (x50) Burger Records fanatics that probably lose your mind every time Thee Oh Sees come to Missoula. They didn’t come this year? Boo hoo, there are a ton of bands better that have been doing the same damn thing. Woolen Men, they’d tickle your fancy. Garage Rock has been slowly ebbing and flowing since 1963 and dudes, take one last look before you turn 30. This is the soundtrack of the last fun you’re ever able to have before the realities of life, debt, relationships, adulthood, whatever you wanna call it, have destroyed your ability to party. Cheers! To no more parties! (playing Thursday, Aug. 14th at the ZACC)

7. Chastity Belt. Fuck men. No. Seriously. I have it on good authority a person-that-is-well-known-in-Missoula yelled “My friend wants to BONE YOU!” at the guitarist in Chastity Belt while they were playing the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, ID. She belted back “I’m a lesbian!” Fuck you, guys. Come see Chastity Belt and be grateful that such a killer band of Seattle ladies have figured out how to essentially make the late 1980’s indie-rock moment irrelevant. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Palace Lounge)

8. King Lollipop. Cody, one of the folks I’d tab for BEST GUITARIST EVER is finally gracing Missoula with his superb solo concoction known only as King Lollipop. He’s that dude-voice you’ve heard on every Shannon & the Clams record, btw. Think children-sing-along-doo-wop. This shit is candy-coated and perfect for the record swap Saturday morning/afternoon. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at Big Dipper during the Record Swap)

9. American Cream. If anyone’s ever been asking why there isn’t more Krautrock or something you might mistakenly define as Krautrock at Total Fests past, there’s no reason to look no further than American Cream. These Minneapolis weirdos write songs in REAL TIME. Confound your notions as to what a band really is supposed to be with these guys. They too, they got the stuff. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Badlander)

10. Criminal Code. Read Echo & the Bunnymen + excess chorus, punk, some other shit that sounds nothing like Echo & the Bunnymen, you almost get the idea. Sing like you’ve got a nasal injury. Play guitar like you’ve no idea that chorus is a thing you can use some-of-the-time. It won’t matter. You’ll still rule. You’ll still be Criminal Code. This may be the sound in which we get the closest to Olympia via listening to a band from Tacoma. Check it, dudes. Broken Water a few years or so or whenever ago, Criminal Code is that cool band right now. (playing Saturday, Aug. 16th at The Palace Lounge)

July 1, 2014
Lozen, Qui, Shramana, Fuuls @ The Ole Beck VFW Post #209, Sunday July 6th

Any Total Fest veteran should perk up at the mention of the name LOZEN. They’ve played the fest at least twice (I think) since I’ve lived in Missoula and as a better writer has waxed on these killer ladies better than I, I give you a quote from the Total Blog ala 2012:

Lozen, as a band, has been around since 2005, but their friendship extends further back to those ever so foundational bonds of high school. Taking their name from the Chihenne Chiricahua Apache warrior, the duo melds an isolating vocal cacophony with some well-tested droning sludge. Straight up reinvigorated riot grrrl.
Somehow this all does them a disservice. They’re more unique than reviewers give them credit, and their song writing is more innovative than the easily applied Melvins, Unwound comparisons suggest. As women artists go, we’re still in the habit of trying to make them fit into some pre-established mold. Performative contradictions aside, sure the influences are there and nothing is created in a vacuum, but after almost eight years of playing together and evolving their sound, it’s somewhat degrading to keep throwing out comparison after comparison, as if that somehow legitimates what they’re doing.
Lozen and Qui (who apparently have a pretty sweet Jesus Lizard connection) are playing the Ole Beck VFW Post #209 on Sunday, July 6th along with locals Fuuls and Shramana. Show is starting at 9pm and it’s a $5 cover.