The Inland Northwest Top 10
Northwest Bestsellers at Local Record Stores
- Built To Spill You In Reverse (Warner Bros.)
- Mudoney Under A Billion Suns (Sub-Pop)
- The Blowouts Self-Titled (self-released)
- Postal Service Give Up (Sub-Pop)
- Seaweed Jack The Captain (self-released
- Reverend Shines Today’s Good News (self-released)
- Five Foot Thick This Cold Life (self-released)
- The New Pornographers Twin Cinema (Matador)
- The Lashes Get It (Red Ink/Columbia)
- Band Of Horses Everything All The Time (Sub-Pop)
This list of Northwest artists and Artists on Northwest labels is compiled from sales reports from 4000 Holes, Boo Radley’s, The Long Ear, and Unified Groove Merchants.
MAY MUSIC REVIEWS
BAND OF HORSES
Everything All the Time
It may be premature to start dropping phrases like “best release of the year”-after all, we’re only a quarter of the way into 2006. That said, Band of Horses’ debut album is strong enough to incite such hyperbole. Channeling Neil Young by way of Built to Spill, Seattle’s Horses roam the range where classic and indie sensibilities meet. They serve up majestic, anthemic resignation in tracks like “The Funeral,” then hushed and haunting melodies like “St. Augustine.” While it doesn’t break new sonic ground, it has wooed at least one listener.
(self-released) LOCAL ARTIST
Best local CD I’ve heard so far this year. Big, fast, crunchy rock riffs in classic Spokane bar-punk style; will induce head-bobbing, but won’t spill your beer. The Blowouts feature ex-members of The Fumes and Velvet Pelvis. If those bands don’t ring a bell think of a sound akin to The Gits, or more recently, The Soviettes. Just when the songs start to sound the same the record ends abruptly-like all good punk records should.
BUILT TO SPILL
You In Reverse
Built To Spill claimed this would be their most collaborative effort to date-and they’re absolutely right. You In Reverse marks a shift from a Martschean autocracy of overdubs to a jammy, organic commune. The result is an album which is fresh and relaxed, yet surprisingly haunting. Various parts call for attention, yet blend tastefully. The BTS sound hasn’t been wildly altered, just thoroughly revitalized. And every time You In Reverse ends, I want only to listen to it again… easily making it the best BTS album of the past five years.
EAGLES OF DEATH METAL
Death By Sexy…
For a band as gimmicky and sleazy as EoDM, everybody seems to be taking it really damn serious. Whether you’re watching them on stage, talking to the big guys pulling the strings, or sitting before the man behind the moustache himself, Jesse Hughes, it’s totally impossible to understand if this band is a big joke or just about the greatest thing you’ve ever heard. Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme is behind the drums (and in the producer seat), while Hughes is penning the inane lyrics and belting them out behind the aforementioned ‘stache and black-as-night aviator sunglasses. It’s a trip back to classic rock nonsense, with a healthy dose of Really Frickin’ Awesome to balance things out.
Pop, electronica and techno come together with this aptly-named band led by Toronto’s Ken Ramm. Guest vocals pop up by the likes of Tracy Bonham and Tina Dico, but it is Ramm’s ability to craft ambient, melodic, powerful instrumentals which makes the music thrive. It can be a little too easy-listening in moments for these ears, but to its credit, Euphoria never falters in delivering complex and winning compositions.
THE FLAMING LIPS
At War With the Mystics
The Lips most recent soundtrack appearances were on Spongebob Squarepants and Wedding Crashers. This seemed like a bad omen, smacking of the hokey and mainstream. And while The Flaming Lips’ spectacularly offbeat muse protects them from anything too “mainstream,” At War With the Mystics is somehow underwhelming. It’s lavishly drenched in all the Lips’ aural hallmarks, yet both the lyrics and the songs feel underdeveloped. It’s a decent album, but Wayne Coyne and Co. have been blowing away “decent” records for fifteen years. The bar is set too high for AWWTM to clear.
PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES
Oi! It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten a new set of tracks from Seattle’s coolest band (yeah, cooler than that one band on The OC). So, yes, it’s cause for celebration. So, too, is their re-emergence into live-show-land. Yippee! Zollo and crew offer up 12 tracks of classic Girls mixed with a few tweaks-both facets completely welcome because every track is fabulous. From the first squeals of Zollo’s whistle in “The Nocturnal House” they’ll have you, and regardless if this is your first or millionth experience with Girls, you’ll undoubtedly be in love.
You weren’t tired of Gang of Four just yet, were you?
RAPIDER THAN HORSEPOWER/MAE SHI
This disc calls out of the stereo like a battle cry for all of us who have ever listened to something our peers described as “just noise.” To the unknowing ear that might appear to be what it is, but with two fantastic bands on board, it’s actually anything but. As we’ve always known, and those dumb peers never did, there’s often something to the noise-and in this case it’s something really extraordinary. An appreciation for the awesome punk coming out of San Diego right now, or those fresh-faced Thermals in Portland will do you just fine for getting into this.
Today’s Good News Vol. 1
This is a slammin’ new mix-CD from the DJ behind Portland’s hip-hop heroes, Lifesavas. Today’s Good News satisfies all three of my criteria for a great mix CD; 1) Greats beats I’ve never heard and could never afford to own, 2) Tons of cool loops and grooves that could probably never be licensed for a legitimate release, and 3) lots of sonic curveballs revealed on multiple listenings.
ROCK KILLS KID
Are You Nervous?
Rock Kills Kid is at times a little too trendy for its own good-pitfalling into Killers territory a few times too often-but when it’s good, it’s pretty damn good and shows signs of promise in the Smiths/Cure category, which hasn’t been touched lately with much success. Plus, these guys just look like rock stars.
Um, holy crap, could Barsuk Records get any cooler? With Rocky Votolato and Mates of States releases already in the bag for this year and Long Winters and Smoosh ones well on their way, it doesn’t seem to get much better. But wait! Here’s the latest release from Norman, Oklahoma’s Starlight Mints. Easy to dismiss at first glance, when the disc goes in the player it becomes completely inescapable. The first three tracks are about the best introduction to any band you could ever ask for-and the goods continue well beyond them, making Mints the best thing comin’ outta Barsuk right now. Meet your new favorite band… Seriously.
TAPES ‘N’ TAPES
Does this album title refer to a scavenging sea bird or deranged madman? The music-swooping and squawking, eccentric and unpredictable-seems to suggest both. Tapes ‘n’ Tapes have shortlisted Frank Black and Stephen Malkmus as influences, and their music displays both Pixiesque crazed cacauphony and Pavementian verve and catchiness. This album is noisy, schizoid, yet possesses an undeniable groove. The Loon is like that friend whose oddball behavior is deemed delightful rather than erratic. Tapes’ press-kit puts it neatly: “RIYDL-Black Eyed Peas, Nickelback, Sammy Hagar.”
Weekend Rock: Washington
Mountaineers Books, January 2006, 240 pages.
When the opportunity to review the guidebook, Weekend Rock: Washington by David Whitelaw presented itself I was excited for two reasons. One, after reviewing the book I might have new climbing destinations to visit, and two, I would have beta on climbs my friends didn’t. I was not disappointed; the guide provides good driving instructions and clear illustrations of the climbing areas. There are several climbing areas near the west side of the state that were new to me and I look forward to exploring this summer.
The book is focused on climbs rating 5.10a or lower and would be a good addition to a new leader’s library. There is a good mix of sport, trad and alpine rock climbs. Many of the areas in the book are ones I have visited in the past so I was able to compare the author’s description of the climb to my own experience. We were pretty much in agreement with the exception of Peshastin Pinnacles. My experience with Peshastin is that it’s a pretty sketchy with long run outs and plenty of Elvis leg moments. No doubt he is a more fearless leader than I am but a cautionary word might be in order.
Missing from the guide is any mention of climbing areas east of Banks Lake, we have several good climbing areas here in the greater Spokane area and a brief description of these areas would have been a worthwhile addition. Climbers looking for more information on climbs east of the Cascades should check out Rock Climbs of Central Washington by Rick La Belle or Marty Bland’s Inland Northwest Rockclimbs.
Camping with Kids: The Complete Guide to Car, Tent and RV Camping
Goldie Gendler Silverman
Wilderness Press, January 2006, 251 pages.
Just as families come in all forms, so does the outdoor experience. Being outside with kids allows parents and grandparents to “be” with their children. The young person can be awe-inspired, exploring an adventure wonderland with their parent’s undivided attention. Children can learn valuable lessons about using maps, planning hikes, preparing food, and experiencing the weather first hand. By carrying a magnify glass and a small notebook to record and draw their findings, children become scientists making observations, asking questions, and drawing conclusions. Without electronic distractions, children can discover their own rhythm and the rhythm of the world around them.
For the camping expert and beginner alike, Camping with Kids provides a thorough overview of being outdoors with children. Those who have never gone camping will find an easily laid out compilation of camping options (from backpacking to RV-style camping), where to go and what to bring. The expert will find useful lists, websites and ideas about how to view nature and the camping experience through the child’s perspective.
With a Pacific Northwest perspective, the author provides a host of ideas for contingency planning and things to do on rainy days. She focuses on creating a safe and happy experience by making readers aware of situations they may encounter in the wilderness and by offering suggestions about how to prepare in advance in order to create a positive experience for kids. The author also promotes the “Leave No Trace” principles and encourages readers to follow these simple guidelines in order to help our children become responsible stewards of nature.
Like anything, learning to have vacations outdoors comes with trial and error. However, the experience can be more enjoyable by being knowledgeable and prepared. Camping with Kids provides both a step-by-step “how to” for beginners and opens a window to creating an enjoyable experience from the child’s perspective for those who are experienced campers, but new to camping with kids.
Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
Ten Speed Press, 2005, 298 pages.
Like mushrooms? This book is stuffed with just about everything you would want to know about the environmental benefits of fungi. Washington State Mycologist Paul Stamets shares 30 years of research into the workings of mycelium-the fungal threads in soil which produce fruit bodies we know as mushrooms. Stamets sees mushrooms as crucial to the overall health of our planet.
Fungi occupy a unique niche between life and death, and knit ecosystems together by turning wastes into essential nutrients for plants and animals. They are one of the primary recyclers and digesters of life. Stamets stretches our common understanding of consciousness by describing mycelium as the neurological network of nature. The interlaced fungal threads share information that allows them to react to environmental change and govern the flow of nutrients that cycle through the food chain.
It is the ability of fungi to disassemble molecules and create soil that makes it so useful for environmental restoration. Stamets, who recently led bioremediation efforts near Bellingham to clean up a diesel spill, explains how certain mushrooms and their associated mycelium decompose toxic wastes (mycoremediation), rehabilitate forests (mycoforestry), reduce siltation (mycofiltration), and eliminate pests (mycopesticides). Real examples show the promise the infant science of mycorestoration has for returning nature’s balance to altered environments.
So how do you get fungi to grow where you want them? Spores, spawn and stem butts of mushrooms are used for colonization and can be purchased or collected. Fungi can be cultivated in straw or on logs and stumps. Many mushrooms have nutritional or medicinal value for humans. Stamets catalogs numerous species describing cultivation methods, nutritional value, medicinal properties and mycorestoration potential. Information on flavor, preparation, and cooking instructions is a bonus.
This somewhat technical yet intriguing book is rife with pictures and how-to details. It is a must read for anyone interested in partnering, or running, with nature to solve environmental problems. As the author reminds us, “Living in harmony with our natural environment is key to our health as individuals and as a species.”
Jess Walter: The Urban Outdoors
By Jess Walter
I apparently own climbing shoes.
I bought them at the Nordstrom Rack for fifteen bucks because I wanted brown and black shoes to wear with jeans. It wasn’t until I got home that I saw they were “for alpine spires, talus scrambling and moderate climbing.”
I don’t climb, moderately or otherwise. I wouldn’t know a scrambled talus from a poached phallus.
But sometimes when I wear my ultralight midsole for supertrek and uphill scrambling and light big wall third class skipping shoes, real climbers approach me as if I’m one of them and start talking about “holds” and “routes” at places like “Mini” and “Zion.”
It’s like walking around town in a wrestling singlet. (“You sucking down to 148 this year?”)
Don’t get me wrong. I like all of the climbers I know. What’s the saying? Some of my best friends…
Knowing how climbers love being the first to do something, I had an idea once to be the first person to climb Steptoe Butte-with oxygen. (Or oxycontin. I’m not particular.) I’d go all out, hire some Sherpas, set up a base camp next to the convenience store there, do one of those time-delayed webcasts, make an IMAX movie, start trudging up the paved road in our oxygen masks, single-file, and-at the first sign of bad weather-do something outrageous and unimaginable, the consequences of which I’d have to live with the rest of my life. (At the premiere of my award-winning documentary, I offer this weak self-defense: “This is so unfair. You eat one lousy Sherpa and they call you a cannibal.”)
But I’m not a climber and I can’t help but feel the disappointment in some people when they realize that, in spite of my shoes, I haven’t chewed off an arm that was pinned beneath a boulder. It’s one thing I’ve never understood about outdoor people-the way they create extreme social castes around their hobbies. Ever listen to skiers? Telemarkers dismiss downhillers (unathletic fogies) who look down on snowboarders (boorish punks) who laugh behind the backs of telemarkers (yuppie squares).
To this day, whenever I walk into cliquish REI (okay, I’ve only been there twice), I feel like I’ve walked into a junior highschool lunchroom. You can ask about the kayaks or the hiking shoes, just like you could sit at the jock table or the cheerleader table or the just-made-a-bong-in-shop-class table, but you won’t exactly feel welcome and there’s always the fear someone will yank your underwear until it looks like you’re wearing a hoodie.
All I can tell you is that my brother once asked a climber-girl out and she said, “I only date climbers.” Of course, this could have more to do with my brother, who has been rejected in the past two weeks for each of the following reasons:
- I’m half your age.
- I’m twice your age.
- I prefer men with two distinct eyebrows.
- Sir, that’s inappropriate given that I’m a state patrol trooper. Now put down the martini shaker and step out of the car.
Attack of the Bloodsucking Ticks
By Derrick Knowles
There are plenty of good reasons to hate ticks. They are creepy little blood-sucking, disease carrying critters that latch on to unsuspecting nature lovers and immediately seek out your warmest, darkest nether regions for a quick meal. But if you spend much time outdoors in the Inland Northwest, you’re bound to bump into a tick or two, and knowing how to protect yourself may literally save you a few headaches.
Like many creatures that occasionally get an upper hand on those of us on the top of the food chain, ticks are often despised and widely misunderstood. Of an estimated 850 species of ticks world-wide, there are only two types to worry about in our neck of the woods: the tiny, elusive soft ticks that you’re most likely to run into in one of the Inland Northwest’s many dilapidated, rodent-infested cabins, and the more oft-encountered hard or “wood” ticks that wait en masse in grass, trees, and shrubs this time of year for a spring snack.
The Spokane Regional Health District suggests several tick prevention methods. Walk in the center of the trail to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush; wear light-colored clothing so the ticks stand out; tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirts into pants; perform a complete body check when you get home, which can be a lot more fun and effective with help from the right hiking partner; check your pet for ticks before allowing them inside; and don’t sleep in or near cabins with major rodent problems, which often means there’s also a soft tick problem.
When prevention inevitably fails, and you find a tick firmly attached to a precious body part, don’t make any rash decisions. Over the years, I’ve heard of people burning them off with lighters, pulling them out with rusty pliers, suffocating them out with gelatinous substances, and even cutting them out with pocket knives. It’s wise to heed warnings and potential pitfalls associated with all of these backwoods remedies. While a thoroughly lodged tick isn’t cause for a 911 call, it’s best to follow the advice of medical experts on removing ticks to reduce your risk of infection, disease and unnecessary self-mastication.
If the tick is crawling on you, brush it off immediately and set it free. If the tick has embedded in the skin, grasp the tick close to its mouth parts (next to the skin) with tweezers. Gently and slowly pull the tick outward without squeezing the tick’s body; the goal here is not to leave any mouth or head bits behind in the bite site. After removing and burning, crushing, stomping on, or drowning the dislodged tick, wash the bite location with soap and water, and apply an antiseptic to the wound immediately.
According to the Spokane Regional Health District, there are several tick-borne diseases in the Spokane area that make following tick prevention and removal protocol a good idea. Soft ticks can transmit Relapsing Fever, which causes some people to become critically ill. Hard or “wood” ticks can carry Tick-borne Paralysis or more infrequently, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Relapsing Fever is the most common tick-borne disease in this area and can result in abrupt fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches and other miserable symptoms within three to eleven days after a bite. Within a week, symptoms commonly come back, and may recur up to five or six times. Medical treatment is encouraged.
Tick Paralysis is less frequent in our area and occurs when a hard tick releases nerve poison into the victim. Symptoms include nonspecific numbness, followed by weakness in the legs. Paralysis ascends and progresses, impacting muscles used in swallowing, speech and breathing. After finding and removing the tick, symptoms typically diminish within hours to weeks.
The good news is that many other tick-borne diseases that occur in the U.S. are extremely rare in our region, including Lyme Disease, Q Fever and Colorado Tick Fever.
So get smart about ticks, so you can enjoy getting out there.
For more information contact the Spokane Regional Health District at (509) 324-1560, ext. 7.
Roadtrip to Historic Dayton, WA
By Erin Beil
CLOSE YOUR EYES AND IMAGINE. The open road stretches to the horizon line with rolling green hills in the rearview. Your windows are down with the sweet smell of spring rushing through the car. White windmills cover fields, moving in slow, relaxing rotations while the sun kisses your cheeks.
This is the scenery you can experience on the drive down to Dayton, Washington. Just 25 miles from Walla Walla, it’s an area thick with history-and wine. Passed through in 1806 by Merriweather Lewis and William Clark, Dayton is now a thriving community rich in wineries and organic foods.
On the way in to Dayton, roughly 20 minutes before entering the town, you will see signs for the Palouse (spelled Palus) Falls State Park. This is a do not miss! Paired with a stunning view of the Snake River, the Palouse Falls rise 198 feet over a majestic canyon ridge. Coming out of nowhere, these falls are a product of the mountain runoff from Missoula, Montana. Hiking trails are located along the canyon ridges providing picturesque panoramic views of the falls and the Snake River. During the spring and summer months, full service camping is also available in the park.
Quietly nestled at the foot of the Blue Mountains and the Snake River, Dayton offers activities ranging from downhill skiing in the winter to some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest fishing and hunting in the summer. The Blue Mountains also offer a selection of choice summer picnicking spots with huckleberry picking. Dayton’s small town atmosphere also provides a main street full of quaint galleries and antique shops, diners and wine tasting classes at the Patit Creek Cellars.
With a historical feel encompassing the town, old-fashioned lamp posts line Main Street with Lewis and Clark flags indicating Dayton’s stretch of the famous trail. More than 117 houses and buildings within the town are on the National Historic Register, along with the colonial style courthouse and train depot equipped with canons in the front yard. Walking tours are available on the weekends, featuring the historic background for each establishment, breathtaking architecture, and an old-fashioned soda from Elk Drug.
The land and history of Dayton can also be seen by horseback riding through the Tucannon-Wenaha wilderness with Western Life Outfitters. If equestrian just isn’t your thing, try touring Dayton’s wine country and historic buildings in the comfort of a small bus tour.
Among the many different nature trails, the Lewis and Clark-Patit Creek Campsite is one of the newest attractions to Dayton. Free to the public and open year-round, this exhibit features over 80 steel silhouette sculptures depicting Lewis and Clark’s journey when they passed through the area.
Once the hunger strikes, which it will with all of the activities in which to partake, Wildberries Whole Foods Caf specializes in organic cooking. Restaurant owner and head chef Judith Henderson says, “When you come to Wildberries, you’re not just eating a meal, you’re feeding your soul and your attitude.”
With items on the menu ranging from organic salad equipped with strawberries, tangerines, locally made cheese and lemon curry dressing, to organic corn beef sandwiches on sour rye bread with tart cherry mustard topped with caramelized Walla Walla sweet onions. A wine pairing of a local wine is offered for each entre. For the dessert I recommend the dark chocolate cherry espresso brownie paired with a cup of espresso. “Our focus is sustainable communities with sustainable attitudes,” says Henderson.
After a long day of exploring and wine tasting, the time has come to rest your weary soul. High on the list of recommendations is the Purple House Bed and Breakfast. Built in 1882, this elegantly remodeled Queen Anne style mansion holds modern day comforts with the culture of yesteryear. Set back on a quiet side street, sweeping views of the Blue Mountains are at your window sill. Each reservation includes a full breakfast and access to the library and parlor. Small pets are welcome guests as well.
For you night owls, Dayton also offers outdoor movies and wine on Saturday nights. The movies are projected onto the top of a selected downtown building, playing old classics late into the night. Wine packages are also available.
Summer is just around the corner, so there is no better time to plan that road trip. Just pack up the car or motorcycle, grab some sunflower seeds, and get ready for scenery you thought was only in dreams. Now is the time to enjoy food that melts in your mouth and wine that cleanses your palate. Take a long weekend from work and discover one of Washington’s hidden gems.
For more information visit: http://www.historicdayton.com
To find berry picking patches visit: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/uma/recreat.htm
When You Go:
Dayton, WA is 125 miles southwest from Spokane. Driving time is approximately 2 hours and 46 minutes. From Spokane, head South on US-195 toward Pullman/Colfax. Go 56.8 miles and bear right on WA-26 toward Walla Walla, WA. Go 16.5 miles and turn left on State Route 127. Go 27.1 miles. Turns into US-12. Go for 22.7 miles. Turns into East Main Street and takes you into the center of Dayton.
For lodging: Purple House Bed and Breakfast, 415 East Clay Street, (509) 382-3159. firstname.lastname@example.org. Rates: Double Bedroom (upstairs, shared bath) $85 per night. Master Suite (Downstairs, private bath, direct access to pool) $125 per night. All reservations include full breakfast and pool access, other accommodations can be made upon request.
Wildberries Whole Foods and Catering
426 E. Main St.
Patit Creek Wine Cellars
725 E. Dayton Ave.