I’ve detailed my reconnection with the physical, completing the body, soul spirit continuum in several posts over the past 14 weeks. This isn’t yet another post about me and my new body shape. No, it’s time to rock out for this week’s Shuffle Play Friday. I am loosely tying it to working out, however. It's what I do now.
With the days growing increasingly shorter, light to bike is becoming precious. It’s hard to get a ride in each morning before work, now that the sun comes up around 6:30. As a result, I’m back on the treadmill, ramping up my minutes from 15-20, to 35 to 40 several mornings per week, spending most of the time alternating between running/walking.
I hate the treadmill, and the fact that it’s located in my dark basement doesn’t help things. What gets me through my period of torture? You guessed it—rawk!!
Here are a list of five songs that can make any workout pass by with minimal discomfort.
The Smiths-How Soon Is Now? (12-inch)/The Sound of The Smiths
The Smiths are being rediscovered by a new generation of music fans as result of the vapid summer movie hit, 500 Days of Summer. Haven’t seen it and don’t plan to.
I’ve been a Smiths fan since I scored The Queen Is Dead from Columbia (on cassette) as part of one of their “6 tapes for a penny” offer. It was just after my fundamentalist crash and burn.
This particular track’s propulsive nature and atmospheric guitar riffing by Johnny Marr makes it a good track to lock in and turn up the speed control to.
Joe Satriani-Surfing With The Alien/Surfing With The Alien
Satriani is a guitar shredder extraordinaire. This was his best selling disc, solid from start to finish. The title track, however, is a classic for those that like kick ass rock with frenetic fretwork.
I’ve had this on cassette for years, and somehow, it ended up in the bottom of a box that nearly got discarded at last Saturday’s Durham Trash Disposal Day. Fortunately for me, Miss Mary saw it before handing over the box to the guy that dumps things into the trash compactor.
Monday morning, guess who was in the tape player of my basement boom box, propelling me onward?
Stereolab-Metronomic Underground/Emperor Tomato Ketchup
This song is a departure from the other more straight-ahead rock tracks in this week’s SPF.
Stereolab is a band I first got turned onto during my ‘BOR years. Eclectic
This particular track has a hypnotic groove, locked in by synthesizer, rather than guitar and a repeating bass line. That and the lyrics sung in French by Laetitia Sadier creates an ambience where picking up and putting down my New Balance 720s sync with the beat, and running in place is no longer difficult.
Interestingly, my father’s best friend in high school knows Stereolab’s Tim Gane’s dad, Reuben, and as a result, I scored a personally signed photo courtesy of Tim.
Prisonshake-Bedtime Beats You Senseless/I’m Really Fucked Now
I drove to Princeton in 1994, to catch Guided by Voices. That’s the kind of thing I once was willing to do in order to connect with music that had meaning for me. Label mates at the time, Prisonshake were on tour with GbV, and I met Robert Griffen, guitar player, and Scat Records maestro.
The show was at one of the houses (think frats) on the Princeton campus. I was early and Prisonshake was loading in their gear before playing. I introduced myself. I learned later that Griffen could be a tough guy to get next to, but he was great to me. I guess he figured that if I was crazy enough to drive six hours to catch a show, he could at least be cordial. We had a beer.
The Shake have always done things their own way. Scat was based in Cleveland before Griffen, tired of the post-industrial dreariness, drunks, and crack whores for neighbors, relocated to St. Louis, where the label is now based.
I just found out this weekend, listening to Mike Lupica’s show via the archives on WFMU that Prisonshake has just released a new album, a double one at that, their first one in eons. If its as good as any of the old stuff (which Lupica say that it is), then it should be one hell of an album (it’s available in vinyl only).
Caspian-Moksha (track 1)/The Four Trees
In my day job with the workforce investment board, I meet new people all the time. Much of my work involves putting together partnerships, leveraging resources, and piecing together a variety of funding sources to offer training programs, primarily to help job seekers gain new skills, upgrade their skills (if they've been laid off), and on a personal level, possibly help some find the path to do what they were meant to do with their lives.
In the course of my efforts, occasionally, I connect on a more personal level with individuals doing similar work in the community. I happened to have a chance to have lunch a year ago with a young man involved with the Caleb Foundation. Caleb is an interfaith organization that develops, preserves and manages rental communities so as to provide safe, decent housing to low and moderate income residents.
We got talking about books, writing, and ultimately music. Long story short, he gave me a CD of a band that his girlfriend's brother plays in. The CD I have was an original, but the jewel case was a generic Maxell one, sans song titles, and without band name, with just the disc title, "The Four Trees." I just knew the songs as track 1, track 2, etc.
The band is Caspian, from Beverly, Mass. They might be characterized as post-rock, and their music is instrumental. Think church of sound, with waves ebbing and flowing in intensity, inducing a sort of spiritual state.
Track 1, which I learned is titled "Moksha." Most of this CD, including this track is loud, angular, with anthemic dual guitar structures, and mostly muscular drumming. As a band, Caspian doesn't create mere sounds, they create sonic landscapes that you get lost in.
Well, please forgive me, but I've got to wrap this up as I'm due for my morning appointment with Mr. Treadmill.