Monday, December 27, 2010

Songs Of The Year.

Album and song lists start surfacing a the beginning of the month but that doesn't work for me. I don't listen to music full time, only my favorite artists full time. I need the month of December to get through some of those albums I missed or didn't give enough time to. In fact, that alone doesn't really work which has altered my ranking. Last year I didn't include several albums that I should have. The issue was that I didn't get into said albums until after the new year. Take The Antlers, a wonderful band. I didn't listen to Hospice at all despite its place on many top 10 lists after the 09 music year. But when I saw them open for Editors I was blown away. I knew they would be good but not THAT good. I bought the CD and a T-shirt that night. Amazing album that I never gave love to. With that said not only do I accept that I'm no authority on music but that I am not even a true music generalist. I like what I like and spend perhaps too much time liking what I like! Its impossible for me to have a top 50 album list because I don't listen to 50 albums in a year. However, in defense I attempt to listen to lots and my shallow filter only allows so much through so what does make it tends to be very good, at least in my opinion. So here goes my favorite songs of 2010 (that I heard) From 20- 5 have no real order, they can change based on the day or mood. They are just great songs that differ greatly but result in the same end - joy.  From 5 -1 is as accurate as I can manage. The only certainty here is number 1. My favorite track of the year won't be touched and has immediately entered my top 10 tracks of all time. Albums will follow but for now, here are the tunes that touched me during this very dull year. I didn't duplicate any artists, that would have resulted in 20 songs by 6 or 7 different groups/singers!

20. The Drums - I Felt Stupid
- this song was on heavy rotation this summer. uplifting and a throw back to the 80's sound I love.
19. Arcade Fire -  Ready To Start
- maybe my fav song on the album but Sprawl II comes very close. Great melody, lyrics, and full of energy.
18. Warpaint - Composure
- The change after the intro is like Warpaints very own Paranoid Android. Hauntingly beautiful. 
17. Underworld - Scribble
- I love my melodic techno (even if this sounds more drum and bass) and this track was a constant through many workouts this year.
16. Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill
- Best song on Plastic Beach. Damon Albarn has one of the best voices in modern music and this song oozes happiness. A joy to listen to.
15. Superpitcher - Joanna
- Piano driven house music. Nothing big sounding, just a lovely melody that brought me back to 1995 and a hands in the air dancefloor. 
14. Stars - The Passanger
I love the way Amy and Torq bounce lyrics off each other. This is my fav from their new album.
13. Chemical Brothers - Swoon
- Tom and Ed, putting out masterpiece music for years. They transcend the dance music genre.  
12. Twin Shadow - Forget
- Its such a wonderful throwback to Nu Wave. Sounds of Tears For Fears, Echo And The Bunnymen, and early Depeche Mode. Love it.
11. Xiu Xiu - Gray Death
- Almost a top 10 and if I didn't burn myself out listening to it perhaps it would have been. Amazing song that reminds me of Morrissey. Love this album.
10. Niki And The Dove - Mother Protect
- This song really hit the spot this winter. Excellent Swedish pop music with a wonderful vocal.

9. Future Islands - As I Fall
- Excellent nu-wave influenced sounds. Lovely synths, drums and arrangement. The vocal delivery is so emotive and uplifting. Samuels voice is extreamly raspy and full of feeling, so much so that its difficult to only listen to one track. But this is the one that stood out for me. Really shines a light on my day. Check out the live version from KCRW.

8. Four Tet - Angel Echoes
- One of many standout tracks on the album, and one of the best tracks I heard this year. I love Four Tet's style of electronic music. Its real jazzy and dreamy. I can dance to this track and equally it can send me to sleep. The vocal repetition is euphoric. No youtube clip so soundcloud will have to do.
Angel Echoes (BBC session) by Four Tet

 7. Interpol - Lights
- The song and the album didn't favor well with the critics but from the second I heard Lights I loved it. It helps that I love Paul Banks vocals so much so when he opens his mouth I usually like it. This track however was the lead single and set the tone for what came on the album. Typical dark and moody Interpol, bringing so much joy into my life. 

6. LCD Soundsystem - Dance Yrself Clean
- I couldn't get past this opening track from the album. I just kept saying, one more listen. This track is like being in the middle of a crowd that is getting ready to do something really awesome. Its a gathering of friends forgetting their problems and coming together to dance. Its organic and despite the slow jam brings me back to the old rave days. When James Murphy raises his voice and changes the tone coupled with the drums and synths, its time to take off. Fantastic tune.

5. Crystal Castles - Not In Love
- There are two versions of this song. The original and then the version where Alice Glass has her singing replaced by Robert Smith of the Cure. The track is so beautiful, extremely emotional, and very uplifting. I don't know which version I prefer but I'll include the Robert Smith version here. He has such a unique voice and it works so well with the Crystal Castles sound. This song makes me bounce off the walls.

4. The Knife (ft. Mt. Sims and Planningtorock) - Coloring Of Pigeons
 - This is one of the most intense songs I heard all year. Its based around Charles Darwin's On the Origin Of Species. As the opening track of an Opera performed with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock the track spans all the epic space one would expect from a stage production. Terror meets fascination throughout the 11 minutes. It builds with romantic tones through different vocals and more dark and eerie sounds. And underneath it all there is so much beauty.

 3. Jonsi - New Piano Song
- This is such an important song for me. It wasn't featured on the album GO and I hadn't heard it until I stood in front of the stage at The House Of Blues in Boston. Things were far from good in my world and then I heard this. I love the piano and I love Jonsi's voice, and both sounded perfect. Despite not ever hearing the song before I knew it so well because it had everything I was feeling at that time. It literally blew me away that night. One of the most beautiful tracks I've ever heard.

2. Wolf Parade - What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had To Go This Way)
- It was touch and go whether or not Jonsi got the second spot but I couldn't pass over this track. The simple reason being that it was the first song I heard off the new album and when we saw Wolf Parade practice the songs in Toronto earlier in the year it stood out so clearly. I remember leaving the show and this was the song stuck in my head even though I only heard it one time in my life. Spencers humming at the end was swirling around in my head all night. When I finally heard the recorded version I immediately knew it. It was exactly the same with the Jonsi track above but Spencer Krug has a vocal that really hits me. Throughout the whole tour this song has sounded amazing and despite playing the album on repeat for months I never get sick of it.The guitars and synths sound really great together and the song captures Wolf Parade's sound so perfectly. Love it.

1. Moonface - Marimba and Shit Drums
- I don't know if this qualifies as a song per se. Its over 20 minutes long. However , as the title says, it has only two instruments (not counting the most important instrument - Spencer Krug's voice), a Marimba and some electronic, 8-bit sounding drums that could easily be thought of as Shit Drums. In the context of this song however they are anything but that. The song is by Spencer Krug under his solo alias Moonface and the 20 minutes covers a dream sequence. The imagery is very descriptive and powerful. Spencer released the song for free at the beginning of the year and when I listened to the track straight through I was indeed transported into dreamland. And even now almost one year later I can sit and listen to the twenty minutes and drift back to that dream state. The vocals are delivered with such emotion and the looping of the Marimba, Spencers backing vocals and the drums all create magic that is unlike anything I've heard in years. If you don't like Marimba (think wind chimes) you will hate the song. I happen to love the sound and with Spencer singing the way he does I find it very difficult to control my own emotions. At times I get angry and other times I feel so much happiness. If there is one perfect tune this year, Marimba and Shit Drums has to be it. It is broken into 2 youtube clips. Enjoy this track because you will find something in it. "and I've been here before, and I know your face from the last time I dreamt I was loosing control".
A quick story. When I told Spencer that this was my favorite song this year he said you mean your favorite song with Marimba? I laughed awkwardly because I knew he was being self deprecating. But he thanked me after.

Love Kel

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Radiohead For Haiti

The amazing Radiohead. Being cool again. Looking after fans and doing it for a good cause. So last January Radiohead played a concert in LA and the entire ticket sales, including all the auctioned off tickets, were given to the Haiti relief efforts. The band raised a lot of money and now as a Christmas gift they have approved a free download of the concert on DVD or MP4. A multi cam shot effort. In return the band want people to donate something to Oxfam. They have a specific site that allows you to donate any amount. Of course you don't HAVE to donate but with the band giving up the footage of this rare show you SHOULD donate. I will, not much, but something. The link to download the show is here
There are many options so be sure to avail of the quality you want/need. This is a happy day.

Peace and much love,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh christmas tree oh christmas tree

We were driving through natick, ma listening to the radio. Frankie and I decided to hit up the various strip malls in the area to look for inexpensive higher end fashion. I just visited the Doctor in Waltham about my knee. Another MRI and Arthroscopic injection. The confusion over my knee pain continues. So we were driving, preparing to buy stuff we may want over need, and stuff to give as xmas gifts. The usual story. And then we stopped talking because NPR, specifically "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook had a story about kids that send Santa letters to USPS. These kids are from poor areas and the stories moved us both to that point where anger and tears meet. I can pretty much, with confidence say that I dislike Christmas. What its become and what it stands for are on either end of what I like about the holiday.

For me, Christmas is about family, friends and coming together. Its a reason for me to jump on the christian holiday to be with my Mam and Dad, my brother, nephew and my mates. Everyone comes together to celebrate the holidays. However I am not oblivious to its shortcomings or the result of the fairytale that create its very existence. The stories on Tom's show made me so angry. I am powerless to do anything about how I feel. Children, here in the USA that ask for so little. Things like, "I want for Christmas just the opportunity to see my Mom smile, she has been so sad", or " My sister and I just want some new shoes so we can fit in when we go back to school". One kid in his letter asked, " I want my mom to be happy because she has been so sad all year, and if you have room I would love a doll for my sister and a transformer toy for myself". How pathetic is this holiday when "Santa" brings some kids so much and yet other kids who believe in the same dream get so little? Its a another holiday of the haves and have nots and for that reason I move further to the dislike side of the holiday.

My Mam and Dad always provided for my brother and I. We got cool toys and gadgets. Only years after did I realize that my parents had to work hard and save for my toys, they had to bust their asses so I could feel like "Santa" brought me something that was as good as my friends. I have great parents but not everyone is that fortunate. These letters hit me so hard that forever my value of this holiday has diminished.  I can't imagine what it must be like to be a child asking 'Santa' for a pair of shoes or for happiness. In a society where we spend Billions on war and on the engine of capitalism no child should be left begging for a $15 dollar toy from 'Santa', because he is not going to bring that toy even though every kid in a wealthy neighborhood gets everything they want. It makes me so sad. On a purely secular level, just to be nice I wanted to answer some of these letters and yet I didn't. It is difficult to build programs to meet the requests. But it shouldn't be. I should be able to call up NPR and ask for a few letters. I saw a transformer toy in Nordstrom Rack that day, it was a large yellow car that turned into a bumblebee. It cost $15 bucks. Less than the round of Belgian beer and French wine I bought for Frankie and I a couple of hours later. Our drinks satisfied us. That toy would make some less fortunate kid who believes in 'santa' so happy. It would make their dreams come true and all I would miss is the taste of the first of many IPA's. Christmas, its hard to agree with what its become. And I make it my mission to look out for the less fortunate who believe in the reason for this holiday. Giving and helping does more for me than the personal celebration of the holiday. Kids don't know, they are indoctrinated to the reason for the season but they expect something from it none the less. And the fact that less fortunate kids ask for so little and yet receive even less is sad. I want for Christmas to see the needy have some happiness. To see poor children receive a gift from 'Santa'. And if he throws in a new knee or 2 for yours truly I won't complain.

I miss being at home this time of year. My friends Christy and Lynn are getting married in 2 days and I won't be there because of visa issues. Its not all bad though. I have Skype to talk with my family and friends. Frankie came down for a few great days. I went to a new pub tonight. I rode my bike for a few hours today. And I am still motivated to fix my knees. Its all good. And whatever my gripe about this holiday, I still like it. I was raised loving Chrimbo and I'm far from scrooge when it comes to the week. In fact I embrace it, only now I am going to give the gift to the less fortunate. I want to answer one of those letters. I want to know that I made a difference because someone likes this holiday more than I do.
My favorite christmas tune. Maybe the best christmas tune there is. Check it.

Peace and Love,


Friday, December 17, 2010

Lists Lists Lists

Its about that time again. I feel like I just finished 2009's best of lists. What a great year for music. Dare I say better than last year? So many fantastic albums and tracks, some of which were so good that it limited my ability to listen to so many other albums that could potential sit in my top 15. For example, I just got around to listening to Warpaint - Fool. I'll get to that in a second after I finish complaining about how much I hate being sick. This past week was a huge struggle and a constant sore throat, sore back and neck, and even a stomach issue, left me feeling very down. I managed to rally for a night out with Bob Schwelm and the crew but next day I was worse. Its amazing how even those of us that think we're so tough succumb to child like behavior when sick. It was the first illness I suffered this year so I can't complain. Outside of some bad allergy days I had a clean bill of health, from a systemic point of view anyway. Almost better, this weekend will surly have me back on top of my game.

So Warpaint, yes, fantastic. Four kick ass ladies from LA that create beautiful and very haunting art rock. I got the Exquisite Corpse EP earlier in the year and listened , enjoyed, and put out of my mind. Only the other day I saw The Fool on many a year end list and it triggered  with me that "of course", Warpaint was a band I fully intended on revisiting. So I bought the record and it's wonderful, hypnotic and full of emotive harmonies. Of course this is very much against the grain of what reviews say about the album but I see the emotion rather than the moody in this kind of music. This album is the post Joy Division sound that I love. It has Bat For Lashes elements, that same expansive sound with very intimate and direct lyrics. Songs that wash around in my head all day. Even though I acknowledge this album would be a grower for most people, its certainly without the explosion of a standout hit, for me it hit a chord. I've always had a penchant for female vocals and this filled my needs right way.  I love this album so much. Check out the track below its lovely,


Monday, December 13, 2010

Am I Still Ill

On Saturday morning I met up with the Arc-En-Ciel crew for a long, hard bike ride. It was about 75 miles and the pace was pretty up tempo all the way. These guys are all older than me by 15-20 years but they are animals. As one of them told me, if your still banging out the miles and races into the 50's your good because the weak have long since quit. These guys are some of the best in New England for their age and they have so much knowledge. We rode double pace line all the way and felt OK but a little off. On my second pull with Todd Buckley I decided to go a little harder to see if I could warm up. Todd was willing and since he is much stronger than I am he took it as a bit of a challenge and took it to me big time. Our pull ended up being 20 minutes hard effort. Warming up worked but my overall energy was still lacking. The ride finished up and I was wiped, more than I should have been. By Saturday night I was still cold and even though I tried to rally at a couple of Xmas parties I went to it was not happening. I didn't sleep on Saturday night and woke up Sunday with the cold/virus I have been fighting for months. Throat swollen up, chills, neck and back pain. The usual. No big deal, just a day in bed and a lot of fluids. Today was a little better but not great. I still went into work because the thought of sitting around my house all day was very unappealing. I need to kick this bug tonight because tomorrow I am heading to Philly for some dinner and beers with Bob Schwelm, which usually ends up messy......

Because of my dour mood and negative outlook (I'm a big baby and very angry when I'm sick) I decided that today I would listen to some easy, breezy pop music. I decided to revisit The Radio Dept. On first listen to this album about 3 or 4 months ago I was very much on the fence. I liked it but there was nothing to love. It wasn't fitting the bill given how much good music was knocking around this summer and the fact that everything I heard was being compared to Jonsi-Go and Wolf Parade - Expo 86. So today, with no sun in the sky, a very sore throat, and no energy at all I decided I needed some shoegazy, dream pop stuff. I remembered this album and listened through again. Lovely. This is the Radio Dept. 3rd album. They are a Swedish Indie-pop band with a very Cocteau Twins meets Kings Of Convenience sound. I am going to listen to this album a lot more. Its very enjoyable and melodic. Of course I should have been listening to it on those long hot summer nights but better late than never. Check out tune below. Its lovely.

I just want to take a minute and congratulate the Irish U23 XC team for winning the European Cross Country champs. Great performance that could have been even more dominant if Ciaran O'Lionaird  ran how he did at NCAA XC. I reckon he was under the weather. Even David McCarthy had a sub-par run given his recent road race at Manchester. They still battled and still won. Awesome.

Peace and Love,


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Importance Of Being

Already there are a lot of year end lists on the intertubes. I just looked through Rolling Stones top 30 Albums and top 50 Singles. Absolutely no imagination. Just straight down the line with the obvious choices, some good, most average. No Wolf Parade, no Interpol, no post-rock or anything left field. A disappointment for my first look. Not that I care about their opinions. I dislike the publication and for some reason I'm still getting free copies sent to me? Makes no sense.

Struggling big time today. I watched Liverpool clinic Aston Villa on how to play football and washed down the joy with some 60 minute IPA. We went to Trinity Brewhouse with the crew from Rhode Runner and tucked into more IPA. I forget how strong it is but quickly realized when I started slurring words and arguing about athletics. It wasn't a nice night to walk home but it had to be done. When I rode down to get my car this morning I was pretty sure I'd have a boot, be towed, or at the very least a nice ticket. None of the above. Happy days. Car was resting where I left it and I hit up the coffee shop to help alleviate the hangover. I felt pretty bad all day and was very busy so I didn't get a workout in. By the time I got home tonight it was almost 8 bells so no exercise. Saving it up for Cyclocross tomorrow night.

I have never heard of British band Little Comets but I heard the song Joanna on one of my daily blog reads and I love it. I've been listening non-stop. They are a pop - rock band from Newcastle who remind me of The Futureheads and a bit like Two Door Cinema Club. Anyway, the song Joanna is fantastic. It comes out in January as the first single off their upcoming debut In Search Of Elusive Little Comets which sees daylight on Jan 30th. These guys will be a band to watch for 2011. Fresh, British Indie Rock at its best. The single is in the youtube clip but they also have a Joannacapella stripped down version that is stunning. Check the soundcould player to hear it. I tend to have a bit of a meh attitude towards straight up indie rock but this song has hit the spot. Strong accent too. I do enjoy when bands sing in their accent.



Little Comets - Joannacapella by Mud Hut Digital

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beautifully Illustrated

I was communicating via text with the Godfather the other day and he was telling me how much he loves post rock music these days. It got me thinking that I hadn't listened to much of the genre lately so I spent tonight digging through the archives and posted a couple of belting tracks that will get you thinking, Whether thats a good thing or not I don't know. But here they are.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Choose Life

I finally had a decent CycloCross race this morning. I finished third in my race which was cat. 4 and cat. 4 masters 35+. Technically I won the cat. 4 but since 2 guys crossed the line 6 seconds ahead of me I still came away feeling like I could have won outright and that I should have done better, worked harder and had more confidence. Of course its somewhat moot because there is cat. 3 and then Pro 1 -2, another 2 divisions higher than mine. With that said I am happy. I've been saying all year that my starts have been the reason for my not doing well so I made sure to register early for this race. I was placed on the third line out of about 7 lines so my position was great. I kind of squeezed into the second line right before the gun.  It was an uphill start which suited me and by the sharp turn I was in about 20th and feeling really comfortable. This course suited me because it had a lot of good riding and one section of beach running. After the first run I passed 5 guys and came into the middle of the course in about 12th. I slowly picked people off the rest of the way and ran out of track to catch the first 2. I don't mean to belittle the riders in front of me but I do think one more run on the beach and I would have got the lead. I'm pleased and looking forward to doing the cat. 3 races soon.

There is another race tomorrow but I can't do it because we are sponsoring the Downtown Jingle 5k so I'll be working that in the morning. However, if time permits I will head down to Goddard in the afternoon to watch the pro race and watch in awe at how easy they ride the course. Its interesting to find a new sport and I keep drawing parallels to running. My winning a cat. 4 race is basically like winning the JV race at college xc or running 18 minutes for 5K on the road and yet I am strangely happy. I will never be as good at cycling as I was at running so I need to reset my expectations and just enjoy it. Easier said then done but I'll try.

The duo Memoryhouse, out of Guelph, Ont. make wonderful music. They layer minimal drums, synths, and reverb under magical shoegaze vocals. I put their track To The Lighthouse on the blog here a year ago. I never really followed up because I wasn't really listening to much shoegaze sounds but this song is beautiful and I wanted to share it with my friends on the internets. Its a B-Side to their new single Caregiver. Enjoy,

Love Kel

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Hopelandic

It was 20 degrees colder in ATL this morning than it was in Providence. Bizarre. Free internet on the plane is really cool so big props to Delta for providing. The Jonsi "Go Live" DVD and CD was released 2 days ago which means my copy could potentially be waiting for me at home. There is a DVD of a Studio Performance from London last March and the live CD has a full concert recorded in Belgium and Brighton, UK over the last year. You can go to the website and get a free download of New Piano Song which is one of my favorite tunes he plays live. So much emotion and passion. For some reason it was left off the album. Maybe its a 'live only' song or maybe it just didn't fit. At least I get to hear it now as often as I want. The youtubes are alive with footage and I tried to avoid it but alas I'm weak and pretty much watched the whole show, despite the poor quality of sound. Check out the vid below.

Nothing else happening right now. Zero exercise in the last 2 days. This is where my longing for running really takes hold. I miss the convenience of going for a quick 40 minute run in the am or pm.  I can't do the hotel gym, the old skool elliptical trainer. No way, its just not satisfying and a cup of coffee with some Jonsi and my Chuck Palahniuk novel is far more appealing.

Peace and much love,


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Off to the ATL for a couple of days. A little ATC Peachtree discussion followed by quality time with the friends at Big Peach Running Company. Just meself and Coxy. Quick trip. Light backpack, some running gear for the one hour elliptical I won't do, and positive attitude helped no less by my 25 listens in a row to Niki And The Dove - Mother Protect.

I don't know much about them other than the info on their myspace page. She sounds like Fever Ray with even more dramatic music. There may even be a hint of Tegan and Sara, not that I'm a huge fan of the Canadian pop duo, rather her voice just sounds like one of theirs. They are out of Stockholm and sing some wonderful songs. None more so than the one below. It is free to download at their website.

I love the tune, the way it builds to an epic breakdown, her voice, the layers and wonderful arrangement. The Scandinavian female pop singers have been doing something right over the last few years. And here is another one to celebrate alongside Fever Ray and Lykke Li. Fantastic.

Love Kel

Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Vision Come Shake Me Up

Ah, t'was a bit of a legend 4 days off. I love work but I also enjoy the down times. Thanksgiving provided all of that. I hit the trainer hard on Thursday for some reps to work up an appetite for dinner. I was starving and my hard work was rewarded by a Mylene Cox special thanksgiving dinner, involving deep fried tofu with peanut sauce and a coconut curry. Maybe the best thanksgiving day dinner I've ever had. Throw in some 90 minute IPA and to be honest it was actually the BEST TG dinner I've ever had. I met up with Mark Carroll and Pat Tarpy for a night cap, lovely.

On Saturday morning myself, Coxy, Pat, and Joe hit the road for a ride somewhere around 60 miles. It was very cold so rather than mess around we hit appropriate sections very hard. I started off with a mild hangover after a night of College Football as bizarre as that sounds. Marko is coaching at Auburn and was fired up for their game. Not being one for college football I was pleasantly surprised, the game ended up being pretty epic in the end. The hangover lifted after about 30 minute and the ride turned into a bit of an interval session which suits me just fine. Then on Saturday night we had the 1 year anniversary of RI Threads the clothing line designed by my friends Ro and Myles. The shirts and hoodies are RI themed. The party launched a new shirt and was all in all a very successful evening, followed up by some AS220 and The Avery.

With a beautiful blue sky and large sun greeting us on Sunday morning I had an urge to go for a run. With Pat and Kim doing 12 miles it was only natural that I'd want to join in for some of it, so I did. I lasted about 10 minutes before my calf seized up and my knee swelled up. Liverpool lost to Spurs and all the sunshine in the world wasn't making the slightest bit of difference. I bagged exercise for the rest of the day. Perhaps the rest was wise given the amount of late nights that preceded my hard training sessions but really I wasn't tired. Sometimes I think I am fine with not being able to run and then other times I realize that I am not fine with it at all. Sunday was one of those days.

The brightside was listening to Wolf Parade live on CBC Radio and the Q sessions. They were great and one of the videos has surfaced. All three will come out but for now we just have Ghost Pressure. I know I said I would not show/talk Wolf Parade anymore but the truth is my window is very small. Wolf Parade have announced that they are taking an indefinite hiatus. I have no idea what this means. Are they breaking up? Or are they going to focus on other projects for a few years before they consider a 4th album? Either way I'm sad. It was a great year for the band and I hope they play a couple more gigs before its all over. Check out the video below, the quality is really good.

Love Kel

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm A Dream Catcher Hanging In The WIndow Of A Mini-Van

Every Wednesday during the fall NBX put on a cyclocross training race under the floodlights of a city park in Wakefield RI. My buddy Joe Savic, one of the owners of Providence Bike brought me back in October to my first cyclocross event which happened to be one of these training races. I loved it despite crashing and being generally apprehensive at every technical section. But I flogged myself and went to the Mews Tavern after and had a couple of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA's. Fast forward almost 2 months and things have changed, only slightly. Tonight was my 4th Training Race and my 7th Cyclocross race of the season. And like wine I've gotten better with time. I rode well tonight, no crashes and smooth over the barriers. In fact I beat a couple of guys who were a minute ahead of me earlier in the fall. I still think its a very tough game but a night like tonight has me fired up for next season already. Big shout out to the organizers who do a great job considering the event is just a glorified training session.

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving I have a day off work. Ordinarily I'd be heading to a Turkey Trot but alas no more. Even the local 5k is a little too much on the old knees. Instead I'll be going for an easy 2-3 hour ride over the hills to prepare for a day of food and friends. Might end up at Wild Colonial since its open tomorrow night. We'll see. I am also going to use the day to catch up on the long list of music I need to listen to. I have a few albums and a lot of singles in my waiting and they will get the love they deserve over dark coffee.

A few weeks back my friend Dan Mazzocco introduced me to an artist who records under the name Pictureplane. This guy is right up my alley. He is from Denver and has been DJ'ing the techno and trance scene out there for a few years. I may have even come across him during my time in Boulder at the many Communikey parties I used to attend and the random nights down in Denver for a fix of minimal techno. The name of the album is Dark Rift and it is awesome. Despite sounding DIY at the best of times there are some breathtaking moments, especially the delayed synth and chopped vocals of Goth Star the song I have below. Other songs simply give me nostalgic feelings of the rave days back in Ireland. Not disimlar although perhaps less epic than M83, these songs bring up lots of memories. The song 5th Sun has me on the dance floor at Luci's in Drogheda around 1994 with my hands in the air and lined up among the ecstasy induced rave generation. I liked these days, it was all love and peace. A few years on the darkness settled for many but no one can deny the happiness of a piano loop over a 4/4 drum beat. 5th Sun really captures that feeling and I'm sure a lot of people would have flash backs like I had. For those that were a little more into the breakbeat sound or hardcore rave a track like Trance Doll will do the trick. Old Skool breaks intro and pave way for a 4/4 layered over synths and loud stabbing drums with classic rave melody. Superb. While M83 echo the sound of the 80's, Pictureplane captures the early 90's rave. The hands in the air generation, sharing love, joy, and many after parties. Unless of course there was a race on a Saturday morning. Thats why I chose the DJ route.......Coca-Cola seemed to do the trick!

Take a listen to the below track and if you like it check out the album. Its a great tune and perfect for some post race chill out time.

Peace and Love,


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Goth Star

Yesterday Providence College put out a solid showing at the NCAA's. The guru keeps churning out the results. The Women were 9th and men were 22nd. Both teams are pretty much back in their entirety and the women had an injury at the meet with a stud fresher not running. Very positive. It always makes me reflect on my own NCAA's which was dare I say, 10 years ago.........Getting old as them there hills. Of all the things I miss about running and the great experiences I reflect on one thing stands above everything else, and it is the 5 months from July 2000 - November 2000 and more importantly the people I shared those months with. I doubt there has ever been a team of guys who related better than our crew did. I mean, I have no comparison of course but I have seen teams come and go and I listen to the way Ray or Nick J talk about that group and everyone agrees it was a pretty rare period. We literally did everything together, worked, lived, trained, ate, took the same courses, partied (rarely during those months), and we never argued. We never fell out or had low periods. It was like someone spiked our cornflakes with ecstasy every morning. Maybe I am remembering with rose tinted glasses but I look back on my training diary (it was the only season I kept a thorough one) and it was happiness every day. We were best mates and it may sound sappy but there was a lot of love among the guys and our relationship with Ray and Nick. When we toed the line at Nationals 10 years ago we didn't need to say anything in the group huddle, we were choked up because for one we were nervous and believed we could win the team title and secondly we didn't want to let each other down. It was not about individual performances it was about the team including the guys that were cheering back in Providence. Our whole squad. It was very big and much bigger than my own performance. I had the opportunity to spend time with the one and only Hamish Thorpe a couple of weeks ago. We only had one day so it was spent in the pub reminiscing and it was really great to hear Thorpy speak so fondly of that period given his radical life change from the runner he was. Just awesome. I would love to get everyone together again and maybe it will happen sometime soon. I'm sure Ray and Nick would love it too.
 Hamish still looks like he could rip it up in any race (pay no attention to the big cheery beard, he is skin and bones underneath) I'd give the guy 2 months and maybe a shave and he would look world class. He always had that, both he and Sutts. The guys could eat their weight in sugary late night snacks and not gain an ounce. Myself and Reilzer didn't have that luxury but we opted to partake anyway. It really was a fantastic season. The girls did well too and that was expected. If Ray doesn't have a girls team in the top 15 at nationals its considered a bit of a disaster!

So the Monday before Thanksgiving always holds wonderful memories for me and it is one of the great days on the running calender. A big up to Shelby and Lee for achieving All-American. And a big up to The Guru for keeping the streak alive.

Damon Albarn is a fantastic singer. I've always been a bigger Blur fan than Oasis, an important comparison given the rivalry they had during the rise of Brit-Pop and the very need to decided who was better circa 1994. I chose Blur because I thought Damon's voice was better and I could see the band would evolve whereas by the time Be Here Now came out Oasis were on the decline. Blur kept getting better and better. The album 13 is magic. Fast Forward 10 years and Damon continues to be wonderful, he voice distinct and his desire to try new things very clear on each release. He recently played some BBC live sessions of Gorillaz tracks that are stunnging. He also did a cover of XX Crystalised, its amazing. Thats below along with a beautiful rendition of Up On Melancholy Hill that will take you to a different place. Its as good as it gets, and his passion is so evident here, he is simply brilliant. Enjoy.

Love Kel

Monday, November 22, 2010

Awesome Texas

The last week in Austin was superb. A run around town lake would have been nice but exercise aside everything about the week was really nice. Austin is a great place, throw in great friends from all over, throw in a Wolf Parade gig and throw in a meeting with said band. Mix this with joyful evenings and no hangovers and you have the recipe for a happy Kelrock. This new song by Cut Copy kind of reflects my mood and feelings about the week. Cut Copy have been quite since their In Ghost Colors record from 2008. I listened to these songs a lot when I started this blog and its nice to see them back with some post nu wave happiness.

Cut Copy - "Take Me Over" (Radio Edit) Premiere by modularpeople

So first night down I bump into my main man the AAA Jay Romasco. He is town for Tifosi, bringing fantastic eye-wear to athletes at every level. I know, because he gave me some, and I banged out 3 hours on Saturday wearing them. Joyful.

Anyway the first night was Wolf Parade. I know I talk about this band a lot but they happen to be touring and this truly was a coincidence, not that I would be embarrassed about traveling anywhere in the globe to see these guys. The night was made even more special by the presence of many great friends. Most of the Reebok team came along with my bros John Clarke, Kris Hartner, Henry Guzman, Cody Hill, and Adam White. There was another guy along but in the whole panic I feel before any show I go to I didn't meet him. We met up with Ryan Hall, as in the cool ass Ryan Hall who loves music, not the fast marathon runner. I also met up with Brian Hanley and his lady friend, Courtney. Brian is the guy who got me into Wolf Parade when he played me I'll believe In Anything back in the summer of 2006. I bought Apologies To The Queen Mary when I got back to Boulder and its been a strong relationship ever since.

The show was as expected, breathtaking. More and more I appreciate the chemistry on stage between Dan and Spencer. Usually I just loose it to everything Spencer sings and I somewhat recover during Dans songs. And that is not a knock on Dan. Spencer just sings in a more epic style and his songs are longer, more intense, and for me simply better. A lot of people would disagree and thats all good because if there was no Spencer I'd still love Wolf Parade. Dan is fantastic and brings a wonderful energy to the stage. They blitzed through a typical set with all the tunes I want to hear played. Kissing The Beehive may be my favorite closing song of any show. Its long, its almost too much, and the feeling of being completely melted after the song is rare and matched by maybe one or two songs by other bands. Another song that come to mind, Idioteque by Radiohead. Its on that level.

It was great having our retail partners at the show and I'm glad they enjoyed it. They could be just telling me that but I know they liked it. Its impossible not to like Wolf Parade live. So a few scoops and it was bedways. Next morning we woke feeling inspired and alive so we took a trip to Mellow Johnnys for some Juan Palota coffee (yes Lance Armstrong, I don't care, he is a pretty cool guy and his shop is amazing) and upon returning to the hotel we saw Arlen Thompson sitting down chatting with another dude. Arlen is the drummer in Wolf Parade and I was excited. Coxy told me to go over and chat with him but I decided I'd leave him talk, didn't want to interrupt. By the time I reached my room I changed my mind. I wanted to see who else from the band was around and I wanted to tell them how great they are and how their music has been a massive wind in my sails over the last 4 years.

I sat down next to Arlen and a representative from Sub Pop Records. They were awesome. So nice and friendly and contrary to what I thought Arlen really appreciated my stopping by to thank him for his music. I joined them for coffee and we casually chatted about touring, about playing in Ireland and Europe in general. My own experiences on this tour etc. Fantastic. Next Dante arrived, he plays guitars and keyboard and he was dying with a hangover. In fact he uttered the magic words, "I'm never drinking again". I laughed and told him that its a weekly ritual of mine to speak such words with little intention. We laughed and he napped on the couch. It was at this point that I realized Dan would not be around, he was staying elsewhere with friends. There was no sign of Spencer but this was fine. It was at this point that I was confronted with a major decision. The Sub Pop rep and Arlen told me I was welcome to "Hitch a ride to Dallas on the Bus". As in, sit on the tour bus with the band and go see them perform that night in Dallas. Panic washed over me like a tsunami. I had the stutter and the shakes. Here was a once in a lifetime opportunity to hang on a tour bus with a band that sits comfortably in my top 3 of all time. But I couldn't go. I was in Austin for work and my job paid for me to be there. To hang with our retail partners, to be part of our very important team. I thanked them, told them I'd regret it, and said I had to work. It was all good. I told Arlen it would be like me asking him to skip out on a gig to go on the beer. He laughed. Casual and very friendly. A couple of minutes later Spencer Krug walked out of the lobby Starbucks and I can admit without any shame that I was genuinely lost for words. Don't know why, I was really enjoying the conversation, but it happened. My heart rate elevated and I was not sure what to say such is the respect I have for his talent. The Reebok crew arrived at this point also since we had to leave for expo set up. I shook hands with Spencer, introduced myself and thanked him. I told him I was a big fan and I thought he was exceptional. Coxy told me he has never seen me so nervous. I mean I'm 33 I should not be acting like a bloody teenager but thats what happened. OK maybe I wasn't that bad but you get the picture. Spencer was super cool. In fact, he was more intrigued by our Reebok team and he wanted to know what we did etc. When we told him that we worked in running his response was "we have a song called, I am a runner and I am my fathers son". No shit Spencer, I know every word and note of the song. More handshakes and more respects paid, a few questions about the future, about Moonface and Sunset Rubdown. Spencer thanked me for listening to Moonface and said not many people know that project. Wardy told him that he too loved Moonface. Spencer was happy. And like a click of the fingers it was over. The bus sat across the street and I walked away with the team. No pictures, no signatures, just a conversation with 3 of the 4 members of Wolf Parade. One of the best moments of the last few years.

A couple of nights later and we found ourselves out on the town again. This time hanging with Rich Verney and Mike Rouse, super guys from So Cal via New Zealand and Texas. The Reebok team was out in force and the good times rolled. We bumped into Chris Macca McCormack who recently won the Ironman in Hawaii. Great guy as was his buddy MG. We had BJ from Salt Lake along for some free scoops. Macca is a bit of an animal and a great guy. Loves his running. My respect for he and his team rose significantly when we had a 15 minute conversation about distance running in the 1980's. They have a wealth of knowledge. I will always take my hat off to the Aussies, they know their sport. Later on in the night Macca introduced us to a shot called a Stuntman. It involved drinking a shot of Patron, snorting the salt, and squeezing the lemon in your eye. Silly I know. But I did it and it hurt, it was horrible, and I laughed hard.

Next day we were alive and kicking and back on the floor hanging with retailers, catching up with JC and Guz and generally having a great time. The Reebok booth has been quite in recent years but not 2010. We met lots of new people and thanked our old friends for their continued support. Great week. Below is some Wolf Parade. One last video just to hammer home the point. I'll leave Moonface for another time.

Peace and Love


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Like A Hammer On A Semi-Precious Stone

I just got back from Austin, TX and I've been inspired to kick off my blog again. Over the last year its seen the grave on more than one occasion, mainly because it was loosing its luster and its very reason for being in existence. Its hard to maintain a training journal when one doesn't actually train anymore. However, over the last month between NYC Marathon week and especially last week at The Running Event in Austin TX many people, some I know well, some I don't know at all told me that they were disappointed in the lack of posting. Some people told me I went from the Favorites toolbar to the deleted bin. And what was most interesting was to hear that it was nothing to do with the running part, it was to do with the music part combined with the struggles of someone who is in constant pain and working full time to get out the door. On Wednesday 2 people came up and told me that they needed the blog to keep them up to date on new music, or different music. There was no mention of running. So after some thought I decided to get back on to daily posting. Maybe every other day during busy periods but at least consistency.

So where to start? Well, I race cyclocross these days and I'm awful at it even though it should be right up my ally. All out bike riding on a cross country course does not equate to all out running on a cross country course. For one, there is no skill in running, nor is there the need to output lots of power. I loose ground on all technical sections and the stop-start nature of the game serves to frustrate me and coming out of every corner I have to watch powerful dudes (less fit too) pull away because my skinny arse cannot push the pedals hard enough. I have crashed in every race and think I broke a bone in my hand because its been three weeks since I landed on it and the pain hasn't subsided. On the flip side, cross is one of the most inviting and cultish sports I've been part of. The guys and gals love it, they live it, and they are hardcore about the scene. Cross Running can learn a LOT from Cyclocross. The courses are challenging, and where in running they avoid too many bends or ditches in cyclocross they seek them out. They have beer sponsors that pop up tents along the most technical parts of the course and allow fans a few pints and the opportunity to see the odd crash. The last time (maybe the only time) we had something like this was Jonseys Ditch at the 2007 national xc in Boulder. Pete Julian decided he was not going to avoid the dodgy and very muddy ditch and reassured by Jonsey he kept it in. Some athletes complained. Coaches were "concerned" about injuries. However, nowhere on the course could you find more people cheering and embracing the joy of cross running then right at the ditch. I have always maintained that Cross Running is too soft and not in the muddy sense. Coaches want to protect athletes and courses are becoming more and more like road races. Flat and firm. Cyclocross is the opposite. They want courses that are unique so that Cross Specialists have their moment to dominate. I would love to put on a race in Providence that was technical, muddy, and had atmosphere in the form of music and a beer tent. It would never work of course but maybe a collaboration with a cyclocross race? That might work. Here is some sketchy video I took at Gloucester this year.

Enough of that. Over the last 6 weeks I've been on the road, San Diego, Alaska, NYC Marathon, and Austin TX. All great trips and very productive. Things at Reebok keep getting better and more and more the positives encourage a stronger work ethic. Happy days. It was during the week in NYC that my highs and lows couldn't have been more pronounced. The week was excellent but I had lots of bottled up feelings of depression. Seeing all the people in town to run the race, not to mention the race itself kills me. Especially given the hangovers and the highs from seeing both Interpol and Wolf Parade in concert. I was going to run NYC this year, just for fun. We were talking about a few of us from Reebok doing it together at 3 hr pace. I know I would have most likely broke off and ran 2:40 or something (7 min pace hurts more than 6 min pace for some reason) but I can't do it. The pain in my knees won't allow me to complete 6 miles let alone 26 miles. Its when I'm resigned to wanting to do something for fun and my legs can't handle it that gets me down even more. On a positive note I went to Philly to see Wolf Parade with Bob Schwelm and Terry + Carley Shea. The show was incredible and we all had a blast. It was Bob's first time seeing Wolf Parade and I think he realized exactly what I've been preaching about this band. He put it best when he said that every song seemed like the last song of the night. I agree. They put such an epic performance into every tune that some songs actually require recovery, like a hard repetition on the track.

The following night myself, coxy and mylene went to see Interpol at the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights. The venue is really beautiful, one of those classic theaters with tight seating and ornate decoration. I am typically not a fan of these venues for shows that I want to dance at but I was close to the front and the people around me were jumping and singing so it was all good. The show was very good but still my least favorite of the 5 Interpol gigs I've been to this year. An Interpol show is always fantastic but one has to be the worst and for me it was this show. The all seater definitely takes something away and the night before Wolf Parade had so much energy that this show seemed a little subdued. I compare it to Interpol up in Rochester NYC at the start of the tour and it was a completely different atmosphere. We were treated to all the great songs and it was still a fantastic and very uplifting show.  

The race was wonderful. Haile Geb had his issues but didn't take away from a great day. The womens race was better than the mens in terms of drama. Flannigan had an incredible debut to finish 2nd but I was most excited about my landlord Kim Smith grabbing 5th after a pitstop that cost her 30-40 seconds. She would have undoubtedly challenged for top 3. She is disappointed and fired up so expect to see her on a rostrum at a major very soon. It was great to be in NYC catching up with lots of friends. We had a blast the night before the race taking the show to a dodgy karaoke bar and getting well oiled. My good friend from Drogheda ran and to see him embrace the event made me very happy. He did what all positive people do, took advantage of everything good about the NYC Marathon. High fiving the spectators, chatting with strangers, and embracing the culture of marathon running and the energy of the city. Hopefully we'll see Yogi back next year with some of the other members of the lads fc.

So thats the NYC buzz and thats all for now. I need a separate post to discuss the good times in Austin, TX. Some fantastic stuff happened down there.

Great to be back!

Love Kel

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kid A

This weekend marked the 10 year anniversary of Kid A, easily one of my favorite and most listened to albums of all time. Not only is every song flawless but one song in particular happens to be my favorite song of all time so needless to say my opinions about the album are lofty. I listened to Kid A straight through a few times over the last 3 days. With so much new music to hear and explore its easy to forget our favorite albums. Driving home from Gloucester on Saturday I put my phone away and turned up the volume to listen through twice (bad traffic) and I was floored. To still find such joy in an album I have heard hundreds of times is testament to the work.

Kid A came out at the perfect time for me. I was heavily into the techno scene and in particular I was listening to a lot of progressive breaks and music with emotive sounding keys. Kid A pretty much married the sound I was spinning with my favorite non-dance music. It was quite literally perfect. Everything in its right place......

The album recording was a very difficult process for the band and nearly broke them up. Ed O'Brien kept an online blog and talked very candidly about the troubles in the studio. He saw himself and a guitar player, an instrument that the album lacked. Phil Selway, the bands drummer, was clearly miffed and the introduction of electronic drum machines. It was all backward. However, in times of difficulty magic can emerge and the Radiohead that came out of the studio was a much different band, a much better band. Thoms existential crisis was fading, and the band members were challenged to use new instruments and find ways to stay involved. Their talent was taken to a new level and continues to evolve even today. The problems Thom was facing, writers block, depression, and his hatred of the music industry machine is best reflected in the song How To Disappear Completely. Thom wrote the song in a hotel room in Dublin, hence the line Float Down The Liffy (The name of the River that runs through Dublin) Word has it that prior to the RDS gig in Dublin Micheal Stipe told Thom, who was having anxiety about performing live, to tell himself that he's not there and its not happening. The song is one of the most beautiful I've ever heard.

This album really does stand for something. Its Radiohead giving the middle finger to the music industry. Its working title was "No Logo", inspired by the Naomi Klein's book and the concept of anti-consumerism is rife throughout the record, most notably on my favorite song Idioteque. But it was not so much the theme that got me, it was the music, Thoms vocals, the experimentation, the courage, and the simple fact that to follow up one of the greatest albums ever written with somehting this different and equally as good is remarkable. Kid A, best album of the decade, maybe the best album ever. Thank you Radiohead. You have changed my life many times over.

I hope everyone is having a smashing Fall.

Love Kel

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This Is The Sound Of The Sky Foaming At The Mouth

Wolf Parade played a new song in Belfast last week. I don't know the name of it, but what I do know is that its brilliant. Spencer Krug has an epic voice. Without sounding like a total looser I can admit that I have listened to this song about 60 times in the last 2 days......

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Waiting For This Madness To End

I decided to go for a jog tonight. At about 5 miles into a 6.5 mile loop I felt a pop in my calf that was actually audible. I no doubt have a minor tear. Its my own fault, I'm all jacked up from my bike crash and I was limping to start the run so I had no business actually going further than the top of Rome Ave. But with the new Interpol album on the shuffle and a lot of desire I thought I would truck on and 'loosen' up. Nice one Kel. So another few weeks off running and a dire need to get my bike to the shop for some new spokes and new tape and maybe a tune up. Boooooo.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crashing The Party

Someone told me there are 2 types of bike racers, those who have crashed and those who haven't. I was very happy to fall into the latter of the two, until tonight. I had my first smash and while it hurts it really wasn't as bad as it could have been. It happened on an uphill sprint you see so there wasn't too much skin loss but I landed hard on my shoulder and thought I might have done in my collar bone. Alas it was just a hard landing and unlike my legs it seems my upper body has some resilience. We were sprinting pretty hard - out of the saddle stuff.

It was the biggest smackdown I've ever done and the biggest group I've ever ridden in. About 12 people altogether. We set out steady but I was not comfortable in the pack so I hit the front and pushed the pace. No one was in trouble which was a good sign. The smackdown was taking shape and that shape was one of suffering and torture. On Austin I hit the front again and pushed the pace on my pull up the hill. A group of 4 of us broke away. I'd never ridden with the other 3 guys although I have seen Donnie ride around Providence a lot. He is the spitting image of my friend Hamish Thorpe. I've no pics to show you so you'll have to take my word for it. Anyway, it was Donnie who made the first move and only Evan responded. I was dropped as was Evan's team-mate but not really dropped, rather we took our time bridging which we did comfortably before the first of 2 climbs up to the first sprint point. It was on the first climb that I made my effort, about 450 yards out. The three lads grabbed my wheel, something that I had not experienced recently or expected. I was pushing hard and slowly Evan and I gapped the other two. About 150 yards out from the line, just as the hill was about to level out Evan came around me. We both held our ground and then next thing my quick release got caught in his back wheel and I ripped out 5 of his spokes, causing me to flip off the bike and onto my shoulder. It all happened so quickly. I was on my back and my shoulder was very sore. Evan was pissed because he has been having bad luck with losing spokes lately and I was very nervous because he has a new frame. I didn't realize until an hour later that he actually didn't go down! So at the end of the day we both lost spokes, I need new handle bar tape, and we both missed out on what surly would have been an awesome training ride full of attacks. I was so excited all afternoon for this and its such a letdown to have it end. Its my last smackdown of the season given I'll be traveling for the next 2 Tuesdays.

My love/hate with biking continues. I LOVE the pain, the suffering, the tactics, and the constant attacks. I don't love the fact that the machines and everything else cost so much compared to running and I don't love that punctures or crashes happen so often. I mean, how have they not come up with ways to prevent punctures! I don't like all the nutrition and the need to constantly drink/eat. I struggle with drafting. I'm not comfortable on someones wheel so I tend to lead a lot which means I will never really win anything. But the pain is awesome. Its a killer sport and I find that it is easier to really punish myself because I'm not great and there is no pounding. In running my knees get sore before I get tired these days. So where's the fun in that? Onward and upward. Getting a new bike very soon and will put another winter in the legs so I can race a full season next year. Down but not out.........

Love kel

Monday, September 6, 2010

Interpol - "Interpol"

The new Interpol album comes out tomorrow. Its been up on their myspace page for some time now, streaming in all its glory. The album has been getting heavily criticized on various reputible blogs and music media outlets. Its not all hate but for the most part Interpol are going to continue to battle the ghosts of the seminal Turn On The Bright Lights. Since they announced a return to their original sound the expectations have been too great and while I think this album is maybe tied with or just ahead of Our Love To Admire (albeit very different) it still has much to celebrate. My least favorite Interpol album is still better than most of the drivel out there.

Some of the struggles stem out of the departure of Carlos D, the bassist responsible for the wonderful hooks on all the classic Interpol tunes. Not to mention his impeccable dress sense. He did play during the recording sessions but clearly didn't see the direction the album was going so rather than compromise he left. At least this is what I read, it could have been something completely different. However, its a minor blip because these songs still sound Interpol to me and thats enough. There are constant challenges for bands to maintain the sound that drew people to them in the first place. My favorite band struggled with it more than most after OK Computer but they kept the real fans and over time solidified their legacy. Our Love To Admire can be criticized as a departure from the Interpol sound but not this album. I think its classic Interpol. Elements of shoegaze, dreampop, ambient, all charged by the magic voice of Paul Banks. I have always believed a good vocalist can keep the fans coming back and this album is an example of why. It is missing the hooks, the big anthems, the dancefloor energy but it has Banks tinged with atmospherics, layers and the same edge we heard in the first album. Thats what pulls us back.

The songs have a lot of repetition and certainly build in the mix with more and more layers, horns, keys, atmospherics, and vocal samples . The leading 2 songs "Lights", and "Barricade" best exemplify this. And fittingly both songs sit in the first part of the record. I guess the fundamental sounding Interpol. The second part of the record sees a more operatic sound take hold and some deeper lyrical content including a bit of Spanish thrown in on "The Undoing", a closer that mixes between the two languages and samples some of Pauls own lyrics into the mix. Even with the two different styles the album flows perfectly and hits a peak right before the closing track. "All Of The Ways" is for me the emotional peak and the song would sound at home on any Interpol album, or even on Pauls solo effort Julian Plenti is Skyscraper. In fact I liken this album to that work more than Interpols last album.

Interpol fans should like this album, maybe even love it. Paul Banks continues to blow me away with his wonderful baritone voice and all of the atmosphere is still there, even if Carlos D's bass is turned down, a lot. Will new fans jump on board? I doubt it but that just means there is more for Interpol followers to keep for themselves including smaller venues and crowds that sing along. Loyalty is becoming more and more a rarity in music and if this is the direction Interpol want to go in (which is actually not really that different) then I'm along for the ride.

I haven't really listened deeply to the lyrics but does the line "I did not take to analysis so I had to make up my mind" refer to some of the recording sessions? Maybe his clash of ideas with Carlos D?

Love it.


Friday, September 3, 2010

You Have Not Been Paying Attention

I just got back from a trip to the homeland where I got to meet my new and wonderful niece Alicia. Not that there is much to see, she is only a couple of weeks and holding her is more nerve racking than anything. Well at least it is for me. I also got to hang with the rest of the family, my nephews Ryan and Cian. Awesome. There was the Saturday club with The Lads FC and while we age gracefully I find nothing so thoroughly enjoyable as discussion among the best bunch on the planet over a few creamy pints of Guinness, a throw back to anytime over the last 15 years. I am eternally grateful to have grown up with crew I did. Its humbling to have such friendships. Another reason for the trip home was the wedding of Ro McGettigan and Myles Dumas. It was a spectacular few days down in Wicklow. The Guinness was lovely, the sun was shining and everyone was in party mood. Ro and Myles looked great and I found myself dancing hard to the likes of Kate Perry and Lady GaGa which means that I was pretty much ga-ga myself. The next day saw a horrible bus journey and extreme hangover. I had Spencer Krug for company.

Last year, August 22nd, Radiohead played in Prague on the In Rainbows tour. A bunch of hardcore fans decided to meet up before the show with Flip cameras and agreed to spread out among the crowd so they could film the gig. The goal was to take all the footage and edit it to make a DVD of the live concert experience. There was nothing professional about the shoot, it was literally fans with the same Flip cameras. The editing was done over the last year. Ordinarily this is considered illegal and bands for the most part would not endorse such behavior however Radiohead are not some bands. They are on a completely different level and embrace the internet community which is why in the midst of illegal downloading the file sharing they are still successful. When they heard about what the fans were doing they completely embraced the concept and allowed them to use the soundboard recording from the show. So what started out as a fun project now has the bands stamp of approval and has soundboard 320kbps quality sound. Its a completely free download available in many formats, from fans to fans. So organic and beautiful. You can grab it in any of the many formats offered HERE

You can also read about the people that did the shooting and grab the setlist etc at the site. With so much amazing music out there I find myself often drifting into the sounds that are calling me at a given time. This summer the bands are Wolf Parade and Interpol. I saw 7 concerts between the two of them. However just viewing these videos reminds me how much I love Radiohead. Watching Idioteque literally gives me chills. I wish someone would do this with Wolf Parade because I think Spencer Krug is the closest vocalist to Thom on the scene right now (throw Jonsi in there too but his is a little bit of a different buzz). However such is the size of Radiohead that projects like this only get completed by the die hard community that surrounds them. The downside is of course that its almost impossible to see Radiohead in the venues that Wolf Parade and Interpol etc play. In fact, a band like Interpol are actually getting smaller which completely baffles me. Radiohead have the "cool" factor so therein lies the conundrum, if there is one? I'm waffling here. What I'm saying is that I think a band like Wolf Parade can be Radiohead in stature but won't be and a band like Interpol should be huge but they are now playing smaller venues and no longer selling out some shows. It must be very difficult to make it in the music world today and I respect those that devote their lives to the cause. I can't sing or play so I can only listen and support. Hats off to these kids in Prague. I would love to be part of a project like this. And by downloading and sharing we all kind of have a part. Awesome. Check out a couple of videos below and tell me it doesn't suck you right in. I love the comment one person made under Idioteque, "the best bit is between 0:01 and 4:26", I couldn't agree more.

Good to be back,

Love Kel

Thursday, August 12, 2010

As If You Didn't Know That It Would Sting

The week off has been very good to me. Knees have settled down and while I didn't (actually couldn't) get in to see Dr. McKeon he sent me an email reassuring me that I needed to take days off when my knees swell up because that is all he will tell me to do, along with maybe giving me another shot of cortisone although we both agree that it does nothing for me. I have tried to look back on everything I've been doing and frankly its been a little too much. The buzz is better and tomorrow will be a week off and I should be ready to get back into light jogging.

The Bobby Doyle 5 miler is on Saturday and I am tempted to do it given I missed last year. I am good friends with the Doyle crew and would like to support the event although it could result in my running too hard and going back to square 1. At this point there is no way I will take it easy. Impossible.

In other news I have decided to book a ticket to Chicago to see Wolf Parade in November. I've been having some anxiety about not seeing these guys again so when they added a second round of shows I needed to make a decision which has resulted in my flying to Chicago and hitting the House Of Blues with fellow music scenester Ryan Hall. Can't wait.

The Thom Yorke solo stuff at The Big Chill festival has been nothing short of magical. "Give Up The Ghost" has been played for a while but Thom mentioned (very quietly) for the first time that it was a new Radiohead song. The wheels are in motion. If we get this album by the end of the year, 2010 may be the best year of music I can remember. Then again, I think it will be early 2011 before we see the record surface. Check out the vid below and maybe allow yourself some time to watch it again, immediately. Its haunting and very beautiful. Thoms voice is majestic. And below that we have Planet Telex played on Piano. First time I've seen this action. And how wonderful is it to see Thom playing a song from The Bends amid all the new material. Epic stuff altogether.

Love Kel

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Try Pleasing With Stealth

I finished out the rest of the week with one run. Just a sneaky 5.5 miler with Martin Fagan who was in town for the Interpol show and on a much less important note, to run Beach to Beacon 10k. We did the Blue Hills loop in what was the most humid conditions I've experienced this summer. Brutal. Not to sound like a broken record but knee was sore and swollen. Same result, but a great run with a great friend in anticipation of a great gig keeps the negative energy far away.

My third Interpol gig this Summer was as good as Rochester and better than New Haven. A lot of people (me included) are very negative about the House Of Blues. PBR cans for $6? Please. The attitude of the staff, the fact that you need an ID to get a bracelet and then you still need to show ID every time you order a drink. Whats the point in getting a wrist band if thats the case. Bollox. However, corporate music venue bullshit side, the sound is excellent. The stage is nice and high, and the floor has ample room. I haven't experienced a bad gig in HOB and I've been to 5 this year. All great and all sounded better than any of the other gigs I've been to. Myself and Fagan got a good spot on the floor about 10 rows back from the stage. Cool people around us sang the songs and smiled all the time. A complete d'bag came in late with his girlfriend and started chatting. I lost the plot and got very angry with him. He left and I got high fives from 3 or 4 people who stood around him with the same frustration as I had but lacking confidence to tell him to shut up. Paul sounded excellent and was genuinely surprised at the response from the crowd saying it was the best crowd they played in front so far on the tour. Personally I thought the atmosphere in Rochester was much better but then again there were about 500 people at that gig and about 2000 people at HOB. Small, intimate crowds always seem louder but I'm sure looking down at 2,000 people with their hands in the air gives the band a little more energy. Set list was very similar again with Heinrich Maneuver played in place of Mammoth. Not Even Jail ended the main set and the encore had Hands Away, C'Mere, and Obstacle 1. Absolutely smashing.

I took Friday completely off all exercise and had Tommy McArdle in town for the evening. Always great to see Tom. We headed out for a few scoops to some of my favorite P-Town spots, Garden Grill and The Avery. On Saturday morning we met up with Coxy for a 48 mile ride. I promised to take it easy since Tom has not been riding much more than an hour and Lee is only getting back into shape. We had a lovely ride on one of the nicer mornings this Summer. Tommy got the knock after about 40 miles and after an opportune puncture he decided that since his tire was wrecked he would lay in the grass and have Coxy pick him up since we were only 2 miles from Coxys house. I continued on riding hard all the way home. We did a lot of attacking in the second half which is what buried Tom. It all started out as a bit of a laugh but it still hurts. We kept the attacks going for about 10 miles so ultimately it was a great workout. Took it easy down at Mark Brissettes house for the rest of the day having a few scoops and playing some Bocce Ball. Lovely day.

This morning my plan was 4 hours over hills to proper bury myself. I got about 5 miles in and punctured. I went to get my spare tube but forgot that I gave it to Tom the day before. Lovely. I had my hand pump and was able to get air in to free wheel down hill. The puncture was tiny and releasing air very slowly. I had to walk the last 3 miles but it was no stress. My knee was sore on the first climb so maybe its a good thing. Kicking around some ideas for what to do next week starting with scheduling an appointment with Dr. McKeon to see what my options are.

There are no good videos from the Interpol show in Boston. I'm sure some will surface. I did go back to watching some Wolf Parade from Portland, ME and found a great sounding "Kissing The Beehive" that will bring a massive smile to any face.

Love Kel