On my drive from Seattle to Portland today, I stopped in Olympia to wait out a storm that featured little pellets of ice. Since my rental car lacks both a cassette player and an input jack for a digital music player, I decided to look for something to listen to on the rest of the trip. I settled on the CD compilation of the late-70s San Francisco band Crime's work. While browsing the selections, I noticed a preponderance of Northwest bands, both of the Kill Rocks Stars-and-K variety and those on more obscure or even self-invented labels. But aside from Neko Case, who is from the state of Washington, there wasn't a single Tucson artist to be found. Because I'm presenting a paper Saturday that focuses on the the city's alternative music scene, particularly as it is represented in the documentary High and Dry, I found its absence from the racks significant. And refreshing. It's nice to see evidence that the sense of regional belonging I'll be talking about is alive and well.