Thursday, June 24, 2010
When I got home I was delighted to see that my new Wolf Parade CD arrived. Even though I have listened through many times it is always great to get the real thing. I already have it uploaded to my iTunes and on both iPods. Love technology. The album is brilliant. Better in my opinion than At Mount Zoomer but still not quite Apologies in terms of impact. The songs are all very uptempo. I believe Spencer said that he wanted songs that would make people dance. Mission accomplished because when we saw them in Toronto the crowd was very rowdy and seeing more of the recent shows despite the awful quality of the youtube videos really conveys the energy they are bringing to the live setting. There are a lot of standout tracks and right now I have no favorites as such, although What Did My Lover Say, and the closer Cave-O-Sapien are really strong. I love In The Direction Of The Moon and Pobodys Nerfect right now too. I certainly lean towards Spencers songs and that is not to downgrade any of Dan's tunage. In fact I think Dan has AMAZING moments on this album and his tunes really complement the desperation of Spencer's unique voice. Sing along to the wonderful choruses and enjoy the frantic guitar and infectious melody, Expo 86 is a complete album that will meet all your needs. Love it, love it.
The video below is terrible quality but it really displays the energy on the current tour.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Pitchfork brought Jonsi onto their wonderful Cemetery Gates series. It is magical. The setting for the songs is really cool and works perfectly. Check out the show here. And please check out the video below. It is one of his B-Side songs and its really beautiful. I know I've been going on too much about Jonsi but the videos and performances just keep coming and the inspiration never fades. Enjoy.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Just back from a week of travel for work. And a wonderful week it was. The first 4 days were spent in Boulder, CO hanging with good friends and sleeping in the basement at Jonseys house. My good friend Henry Guzman got married to his amazing bride Suzanne and it was a great way to cap off 4 days of happiness. Being back in Boulder was really nice and the respite I needed from the constant issues I am dealing with. I didn’t help my situation however when I joined Jimmy Carney, Benita Willis, and Tim O’Donnell for a run lasting 59 minutes (longest run in 15 months) We did take it very easy but with the altitude and the climbs I knew at about 45 minutes that I was making a mistake. Its just so nice which makes it very difficult to stop! After the run my knee swelled up pretty bad and I had a pronounced limp, but nothing a pint with Dafyd at the Hungry Toad couldn’t help me deal with. Next day I went down to Denver to see Donal and watch Spain loose in their World Cup opener. While I was sipping coffee at The Cup on Pearl street I realized that I miss Boulder and that it would be a great place to spend some time figuring out some of my issues with running and life.
Next stop was Peoria, IL for the Steamboat Classic Road Race, arguably the worlds fastest and most competitive 4 mile and an event Reebok sponsors. We have built a great relationship with the team that put on the race and our retail partners at Running Central. Its always a fun time and this year was no different. The same cast of characters and the same hangouts fueled by good beer and craic. One exception this year was the fact that I decided to race. We do a lot of these events and sometimes become so fried after the build up that actually running the event is very much an afterthought. However this year, with all the partying out of our system we actually want to run in the events we support so we all got numbers and at 6:50 AM we lined up with the masses. Here is where my obvious problems surface. Lee, Paddy, and Wardy (although he did the 15k) all decided to run a controlled effort, not much more than training pace. I should have joined them and ran the pace I’ve been running over the last few weeks. Since March 31st 2009 I have only run about 200 miles. Most of that has been made up of 30 mile weeks in November and last month. Apart from a fun 75 second quarter on the track at the end of a run with the Reebok lunch time crew I haven’t run quicker than 6:30-45 pace and certainly not sustained that pace for more than 3 miles. In a nutshell I am the most under ran I’ve been in my entire adult life. The bike has kept me fit and this is where it goes pear-shaped. The gun fires and with a number on my chest the inner competitive athlete takes over and I bolt away from Lee and Paddy. The pace up front is silly so I settle in just off the lead women and feel really comfortable thinking I’m running a bit too quick but not very fast. Mile 1, 5:05. Not good at all. I back off and find myself allowing the women to drift further ahead. My knee at this point feels fine and I am surprised at how easy the first mile felt. Mile 2, 5:10, not slow enough. I know now that I won’t slow down anymore. It felt like I was holding back so I just kept pace and kept running within myself. Mile 3, 5:05, now my knee starts hurting and getting tight but there is no cardiovascular struggle and my HR is no way near the redline. I attempt to run the last mile by winding down and bringing myself to a training pace which I successfully did only I ran 5:10 instead of the 5:30-40 I wanted. Finished up with 20:30. Its not fast I know, I mean the pace is what I believe I can run a marathon in if I get 6 months of training under my belt but it is still encouraging to know that with NO training for running other than 30 – 45 minute Jogs with the work crew and with Kim I can still feel comfortable running 5 min pace. I would say had I lashed the last mile I would have run 4:45. On the other hand my knee is killing me now and it is clear that no matter how fit I get, my body will always be a hindrance to my enjoying this beautiful sport. One 4 mile effort and my legs feel like I ran a marathon. My right knee is so sore that I couldn’t sleep with the throbbing in the joint.
Tomorrow I am going to Rochester to see Interpol. Yes, you could say I am pretty excited. Interpol are releasing a new self titled album in September and these small gigs are basically live practice sessions. I will be hearing all the new songs mixed with some old classics. They have apparently reverted back to their original sound on Turn On The Bright Lights which is darker and moodier than their more recent offerings, especially Our Love To Admire. The show is happening in a small venue so it will be great viewing and great sound. Their first live gig in 2 years, amazing. Full report will come on Tuesday.
Peace and Love,
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
PM: 1 Hour Trainer Ride (heavy rain outside)
Today I had the best lunch time run of the year so far and maybe the best run of 2010. My knee pain was 5/10 and didn't swell up as much at the end. Additionally my calf didn't grip as bad as it has been. It was just tight but not unbearable. Minor pain is something I can deal with. Maybe the evening bike ride loosened me out, I did do a lot of stretching after the ride. It was only myself, Fitzy, and Kev G on the run and we ran Ponkapoag Pond, maybe the best run from HQ. I haven't been able to commit to it recently but today was all happy, steady, and moderately sore - very positive.
I wanted to hit the road for a 90 min ride but it started lashing rain and actually got quite cold. I chose to ride on my trainer for an easy hour. I don't feel great tonight, maybe a little run down from everyone being sick at work? Either that or I'm just in need of some kip, something I haven't seemed to do well recently. Switching off the head is one of my biggest challenges. My mother has it so most likely I'll have it too. My mother and I both struggle to sleep very deeply and tend to wake a lot.
I tried to put up a Crystal Castles live performance from Jools Holland a few weeks ago and the video was blocked but all is good now. This is a wonderful performance by the moody Toronto duo who have a major ego and tend to come across extremely arrogant but when they make tunes like this I can completely roll with it. Going to see them in Boston on August 17th. Lovely,
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
PM: SMACK DOWN RIDE
Lunch time crew, Myself, Paddy, Kev G, and Dan M. We changed things up, not necessarily for the better (sorry dan). Rather than just loop Houghtons pond Dan took us on an adjacent trail that looped further out and down onto the old rt. 128 which is now over grown and barely able to take humans let alone cars. Its still awesome though. Anyway, when we hit the top of the trail its a sharp decent down onto the defunct road. I like trail running as much as the next fella but this was dangerous. I felt like I should be attached to a climbing rope such was the amount of loose rock and jagged points. I could envision falling and breaking my ankle. Not good thoughts to have! Overall however the run was A+ with lots of music talk (sorry Pat) and even some disagreements. I found out that Kevin hates Depeche Mode and New Order, and pretty much Nu Wave. This doesn't please Kelrock. The conversation will be continued tomorrow.......As for my knee? I'd give the pain in my right knee 3/10, left knee 7/10, left calf (compensating) 7/10. The numbers aren't good but lets be honest, I haven't run truly free of injury since 2001, with the exception of 6 freaky months in 2003 when I thought I was over injuries. A broken back in the fall put paid to those silly thoughts. I'll take moderate pain and the ability to run every day such is my love for this simple activity.
In the PM I did my first Smack Down ride of the year and it was so joyful. I joined in for a Smack Down last year. The ride is in memory of a guy named Mark Nicholson. Last summer he died after a long and very brave battle with brain cancer. I only rode with Mark one time and he never mentioned the fact that he was dying. I'd never have guessed as we rode laps of the Blvd and he gave me advice and helpful tips about training. He told me I should join them on their Tuesday night group rides. When I decided to partake I found out he had just passed. In his memory the team have continued the tradition and every Tuesday during the summer months they ride his loop as a workout with 4 sprint points and a long hill climb for a KOM. The Smack Down is basically the most fun I have on a bike even though I've only done it twice. Its hard to get there from work but I have to make the effort. The guys are great and no one has ego. The ride heads out to the North Providence countryside and they have sprint lines at various points. All banter stops when the first sprint starts to approach, everyone gets cagey and into position. I was loving it, the sprints, the adrenalin, the burn. I took some of the sprints however I wasn't sure where they ended and often went too early on my effort. Its hard trying to balance being the new guy and trying to be nice but coming across like a tough guy (something I'm not). I apologized for my poor handling skills and the impetuous nature of my riding. I will be doing as many of these as I can this year, although I miss next week.
Quick music buzz. I got a new album tonight by Tesla Boy called Modern Thrills. Its new wave and synth pop, just for Kevin Gray! Its very poppy and along the lines of Cut Copy, Nightwaves, Fred Falke, even Empire Of The Sun. The kind of music that is joyful and makes me want to dance around my apartment. It will accompany me on many a bike ride. Maybe my mood is happier tonight?
Peace and Love,
Monday, June 7, 2010
PM: 45 Minutes Spin on Trainer
Uneventful day. My knee was sore but I am going to keep trucking on until I figure out the next steps. The Reebok crew were back together for the lunch time loop and it was nice. We lost Ryan LaFleur early due to a nagging Achilles and I could have joined him in hitting the showers early but with such a beautiful day I needed to truck on. The 50 minutes of the run passes with such speed that I question all those years of hammering. Not only do my knees remind me of the mistakes I made but the feeling of getting to 50 minutes and feeling like the run hasn't even started is very unusual. We used to run our 8 mile or 10 mile afternoon runs at 5:30 pace and everyday was tough. Made for some great seasons and lots of doctor visits.
When I got home my knee was tight so I jumped on the bike with little resistance and kept some high cadence to bring blood flow to my knee. It did the job and now I have a nice ice pack sitting on top of my bakers cyst. Lovely. Some good tunes surfacing on the blog world. Nothing released today touches the fabulous new Black Cab Sessions with The Antlers. Check it out. I'd embed it but the folks at Black Cab won't let me. On a brighter note (or darker note depending on how you look at it) a new compilation titled Sing Me To Sleep (opening line of the song below) has been released to raise money for the Valarie Fund which provides comprehensive health care coverage for children with cancer and blood disorders. You can buy the album here. Stars covered one of my favorite Smiths songs, Asleep, and it is really beautiful.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
PM: 85 Minute Bike Workout On Trainer
Another below average night of Kip. Humidity and a healthy dose of thoughts running amok in my head. Not to mention a knee that enjoys throbbing at the worst times. I woke up feeling pretty tired and with a forecast for thunder/lightening I decided to run with Kim rather than venture out on a bike ride. It never did storm in the end and I gave my knee another battering. We ran around RIC, chatted about running and felt very energized (aside from the pain obviously) Kim has been feeling better too so the pace has picked up on the runs.
There was no fatigue after a mere 45 minutes so in the afternoon I set up my trainer in the shell of a basement which is a lot cooler and enjoyed a hard workout. The guts of the set was 10 x 2 minutes hard off 1 minute float. By the last rep my HR was well above 200 and I nearly threw up. I couldn't hear myself breathing considering I had techno blasting in my ears but Pat and Kim assured me that I was making some significant grunting noises. Really pushed it and probably didn't do much for my fitness but certainly did a lot for my soul.
Once these NBA final games are over, Dr. McKeon will be more accessible and I'll be going back for a visit. I need him to reconsider this diagnosis. Bottomline, my knee is in pain, a lot of pain, everyday. It is not just running either, its just joint pain. Standing at an expo at the FRW this weekend was worse than running. For some reason, which we haven't figured out, my knee swells up when I stand or walk or run. I am desperate. I want so badly to race again. I miss it and the summer really exacerbates it because there are races every weekend around here.
So to deal with the issues I didn't turn to my regular vices, opting rather for some uplifting house and post new wave music. Needed to hear joyful melody, beats, synths, airy bliss, positivity, sunny music that can be held in sharp contrast to what is going on in this head of mine.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Usual run with the Reebok Racing Club at lunch time. Forced myself to take it very easy because I had a date with the wonderful Stars at the Paradise Rock Club. Given that I saw Stars perform in Providence to a handful of people as I explained before, buying a ticket way in advance didn't exactly hit the top of the priority list. So I found myself driving to Somerville, MA to meet a dude who sold me his ticket for $50, 2x face value. He had the audacity to tell me that they were going for $80 on ticketstub but since I was a real fan he would do the right thing and only charge me $50. I waited until I had the ticket in my back pocket before I told him he was a scum bag and a disgrace to the music scene. At first he thought I was joking, either that or it was a nervous laugh. By the time I got into my car he shouted something at me and shut the door. Wanker. I guess he was kind enough to let me know his address to come and pick up the ticket. Some craigslist folks don't do that kind of thing. As my luck would have it, I arrived at the venue and the first guy I saw selling tickets outside was actually a REAL fan and offered me a face value ticket, without the fees! $20 bucks. I told him what happened and we both griped about the situation for 30 seconds before going our separate ways. He sold the ticket to a girl before I said goodbye.
The show itself was really great. Stars lead singer Torq played a DJ set as the opener. It was really great since all the songs he played were new wave anthems that inspired him to write music. Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, XTC, and of course New Order, a band he sited as his most significant influence. Most of the crowd were below the age of 21 (X on the hand signifying that much) so he went into detail about how they need to go home and listen to these bands and be "educated" on how and where Stars found their sound. I thought it was really cool.
The main set was the new upcoming Stars album played from start to finish. He even joked at half way that "this is the point where you get a cup of tea and flip the record to side B". The new songs sounded pretty good. Some maybe a little too poppy, its hard to tell. The second part of the show was a set of 10 songs picked by the fans on their website. Basically the hits and the energy was fantastic. Best Stars gig I've seen. Some interesting observations. There were significantly more youth at this show than any I've been to this year. The group of HS kids next to me had smuggled in snacks like you do at the cinema, so they were getting hopped up on Swedish Fish and Jelly Bellys. Women fans actually love Amy Millan. Don't know why I find this odd but the girls around me were literally screaming her name (see video below), she seemed embarrassed. I felt like I was at a madonna concert at one point. Narragansett is better than PBR.
Peace and Love,