Saturday, May 31, 2008

"hit the ground runnin'"

So today was the 20k I'd mentioned earlier. Overall it went fine. The good news is that a few days before the race, they loosened up their no headphone policy. Rather than being "prohibited," they were "strongly discouraged." Score! I will say that this race confirmed my initial thoughts on the headphone ban at races. At an appropriate volume level, it isn't going to cause any problems. And when I came upon people with megaphones, I took off an earphone. It's really pretty simple.

I meant to make a playlist for the occasion, but what time I would have devoted to that has been going into another dance mix (which is pretty hot, I might add). But here were my 'of-the-moment' choices:

It was early, and I wasn't quite in the mood for anything too heavy just yet. I do enjoy running with Common - he's quite a motivational fellow. I would rather have listened to Be, but I just spun that the other day. Finding Forever is still great anyhow (and coincidentally what I listened to on my first (and thusfar only) 10k last year).

Okay, so after Common I **was** ready for something in-your-face. Raw Power is potentially my favorite Stooges album (though it's always a tossup with Funhouse), and also makes me feel like I can destroy the world. It did the trick. Towards the end of the album was when I started to feel the strain. Hearing "Death Trip" at that moment was slightly ironic.

After that I needed a pick-me-up. I was starting to feel it physically and emotionally. So I just went to my fallback "make Gonzo happy" song:

After that, my thoughts were "What do I need to take me to the finish?" After a minute's thought, the answer became obvious:

And only some very specific songs - "And the Cradle Will Rock," "Everybody Wants Some" (twice) and this one, also twice, which is perhaps my favorite VH song for running:

I don't think I could have done it without music.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Funk!

I confess that I never saw this clip until 4 minutes ago, but there are about 750 things about it that are awesome.

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Funk

At 11:59, I'm cutting it close this week. But here is my favorite clip from the great film Wattstax:

Final Chapter

And here we have disc 4 of the 4-part mix (see previous posts for the first three volumes). Disc 4 is my second favorite. Not quite as solid as Disc 3, but still pretty tight. I would make a few changes in selection and transition, but ah well. I'm not even sure if we got to this disc at the initial party. But it's some good listening anyway. In fact, my lady and I spun it on the Baltimore-Pittsburgh drive today.

Enjoy Disc 4.

And here's the tracklist for disc 3 (tracklist for disc 4 in comments):
1. intro
2. Kool & the Gang - Jungle Boogie
3. Diana Ross - Upside Down
4. Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl
5. Jay-Z - Change Clothes
6. Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
7. Madonna - Burning Up
8. Funkadelic - (Not Just) Knee Deep
9. Dr. Dre - Let Me Ride
10. ODB feat. Kelis - Got Your Money
11. Outkast - The Way You Move
12. Prince - Erotic City (12" version)
13. Cyndi Lauper - She Bop
14. Michael Jackson - P.Y.T.
15. Deee-Lite - Groove is in the Heart
16. James Brown - Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine
17. Amy WInehouse - Rehab
18. Gloria Jones - Tainted Love
19. B-52s -Rock Lobster


So there you have it. This was the first massive mix I'd made in some time, and my first crack at Cool Edit Pro. As I mentioned previously, I may be embarking on a similar massive dance mix in the coming weeks, which I hope to make even better than this one. Of course, me being anal, I will forbid myself from repeating any songs. I will certainly keep you posted! For those of you that have given a listen to all 4 discs, I'd love to get your thoughts as well.

Friday, May 16, 2008

friday funk

From the purple one's appearance on Leno a few weeks ago. This is the first new Prince song that excites me in a few years. Is there a new album in the works? Will it all be this funky? Will the studio version sound completely flat and uninspired? Who knows. In the meantime, dig:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

get on down

And now onto disc 3. I have to admit, this is probably my favorite of the four, though the final disc comes close.

This is where shit goes down. This is where the dancing begins in earnest. This is where rugs are cut, bodies moved and the room shaken. No real regrets on this disc, barring perhaps one track that is a little played out, but still classic. I'll let you guess which one.

Enjoy Disc 3.

ANd if you missed 'em, here are discs 1 and 2.

Disc 4 (the final installment) will come soon.

As promised, here's the tracklist for Disc 2. Disc 3's tracklist will be posted when I share Disc 4.

Comprehensively Qualified: Disc 2
1. Daft Punk - One More Time
2. Bjork - Big Time Sensuality
3. David Bowie - Let's Dance
4. Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me
5. Human League - Don't You Want Me
6. Blur - Girls and Boys
7. Pink - Get this Party Started
8. Tone Loc - Wild Thing
9. Shannon - Let the Music Play
10. Chromeo - Bonafide Lovin'
11. Shelia E. - The Glamorous Life (club edit)
12. Nelly Furtado - Maneater
13. Run DMC - It's Tricky
14. Beastie Boys - Sure Shot
15. Stevie Wonder - Superstition
16. The Time - The Bird
17. Janet Jackson - What Have You Done For Me Lately?
18. Pras, Mya, ODB - Ghetto Superstar

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

broken promises

I know I said I'd hold off until Friday, but what the hey. I gave discs 1 and 2 of the dance mix (mentioned below) a spin on the drive to Pittsburgh, and thought I'd give you the second one early.

Disc 2 is where it starts to pick up. It's much more solid than disc one, and is meant to segue into the serious dancing. That's basically what happened. As I recall, towards the end of disc two was when we started moving furniture out the way.
My only regrets with disc 2 are small, and center around the fact that it includes some songs that I feel like I've put on far too many dance mixes (Daft Punk, Bjork, Blur). But you know, crowd pleasers are crowd pleasers!

Oh, and here's the tracklisting for disc 1. Disc 2's tracklist will be posted when I post disc 3.

Comprehensively Qualified: Disc 1
1. Jurassic 5 - In the Flesh
2. Common feat. Lily Allen - Drivin' Me Wild
3. Ladytron - Seventeen
4. Roxy Music - Love is the Drug
5. Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out of My Head
6. M - Pop Music
7. Devo - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
8. Talking Heads - Girlfriend is Better
9. Warren G and Nate Dogg - Regulate
10. The Roots feat. Cody Chestnut - The Seed 2.0
11. Goldfrapp - Ooh La La
12. Prince - Hot Thing
13. Spank Rock -Bump
14. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - It's Nasty (Genius of Love)
15. Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love
16. Vanity 6 - Nasty Girl

In related news, there may be occasion for me to create another massive dance mix very soon. Learning from my mistakes, I aim to make the next one rock like you've never been rocked before.

Enjoy Disc 2.

And if you missed it, here's disc 1.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

running on empty

This rant has been taking shape for a couple of weeks, so I'll just get it out.

A little over a year ago, I started running seriously (at least more seriously and consistently than the on again/off again that had been going on for a few years). Once I got into the groove so to speak, I've really learned to enjoy going out for my runs. It gets me outside, keeps me active, burns some calories and is a portion of the day that is 100% "me time."

One of the things that got me to really enjoy running was music. It's no secret that music can affect mood greatly - be it aggressive, good time buoyancy, melancholy or sexy. When I started running with music, I was surprised at how much of a motivator it was, in two ways. First, the right music on a run can really push me through, just as the right music for a night in with the lady can enhance that experience (Prince anyone?). Secondly, running is a time where I can really just immerse myself in the music. Yes, I have music on pretty much all the time (minus when I'm reading). But rarely am I able to just focus on and absorb the nuances of what I'm listening to. This is the same reason that driving 12 hours from Iowa to Pittsburgh doesn't bother me, and why I love walking to campus from my apartment.

A year ago, I ran my first 5k. To that point, I'd only run something like 2/2.5 miles, and I was concerned that I wouldn't finish. But with some help from The Ramones second album, I surprised myself. Last fall, I was persuaded to do a 10k at a time when the most I'd run was probably 3.5-4 miles. Similar anxiety about having to "walk it out" for the last part of the race. With Common coaching me through it, I ran the whole thing. And just this afternoon I ran the majority of an 8.5 mile session in the cold and pouring fucking rain, which would have been totally unbearable were it not for 2Pac.

Of course these examples aren't totally attributable to the music. It's also practice, adrenaline, determination, etc. But I find music to be a necessary companion for running. Occasionally my batteries will die, and those runs are significantly less enjoyable.

Fast forward to now. Some of you know that I've been training for a 20k in a few weeks, with perhaps lofty ambitions of running a marathon in October. With the 20k fast approaching, I'm completely psyched. It's the first big event of the summer that I'm really looking forward to.

A few weeks ago whilst perusing the race's website, this sentence caught my eye and sank my heart: No early starts, bikes, baby joggers, dogs, roller blades, walkers, headphones or electronic listening devices are allowed.

I freaked out. I emailed one of the event coordinators to clarify. I was told that this is a stipulation of the insurance company that is handling the race. I then found that the (perhaps pipe dream) marathon in October has the same policy. With a quick Google search, I found that this is becoming a fairly common policy nationwide, and one sanctioned by US Track and Field.

There are two main arguments alleging to justify this policy. One is the issue of runner safety. The concern here is that runners listening to music will be less conscious of vehicles and other runners. However, most of these races are run on roads closed to traffic for the event. Beyond that, participants should be cautious of their co-runners anyway - looking before changing direction, stopping etc. I don't think that runners are trying to block out other sounds such as directions, and other runners. If music is used responsibly (i.e. loud enough for the runner to hear, but soft enough to hear outside sounds), I don't buy the safety argument. Furthermore, if a runner injures him or herself because they were listening to music, that's their problem, and race organizers should be absolved.

The second argument is that music provides a competitive advantage, and is thus unfair to runners who may not be using music. I don't buy this at all. Yes, music is motivational. And yes, as a friend pointed out, there is tempo setting software that can maintain the same tempo throughout a playlist, helping the runner to maintain a particular pace. So yes, music can be beneficial to the runner. Absolutely. But is it a competitive advantage? I'm generally not this snooty, but my reaction is that if you feel it's a competitive advantage, then go buy a fucking music device. You can get a 1 gig mp3 player for under $20. If you can afford the registration fee for the race, you can probably afford a small mp3 player (or borrow one).

A brief perusal of message boards and blogs shows that this is a pretty contentious issue amongst runners. It also seems that it's a difficult (if not impossible) policy to regulate, particularly in larger races. There are also some races that have taken an "mp3-friendly" stance, such as The Portland Marathon. For the record, I agree with their statement on the issue 100%.

This is likely something that will be debated for the foreseeable future. I don't know how much effect these things have (recall I am very much a newbie in the running game), but one would think that the number of runners opposed to such a policy would be able to have some sway by making statements to US Track & Field. I would hypothesize that the majority of runners oppose this rule (to varying degrees, I'm sure). Someone made the comment on the message board that to some extent, the proliferation of iPods, Zunes, etc. has at the very least correlated with a rise in exercise activity nationwide. There are no reliable studies on this to my knowledge, but it at least sounds logical.

Lastly, here's a great New York Times article outlining the controversy.

That is all. End rant. If you made it this far, you're a champ.

it being mother's day

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday Funk

Running a little late today, I know. I'm heading out of town tomorrow, and the day before is always hectic. But that doesn't mean that I should deprive you of your funk.

Last fall, there was a party. A massive party. An epic party! Though I was not the host, I was in charge of the music. This led to a 4 cd set of which I am quite proud. Starting today, the next four fridays will bring to you, oh funky ones, one disc of this mix.

Here is Disc One. Keep in mind this is Disc One, so there aren't really any big guns (except maybe "Hot Thing"). You can't be dropping bombs on disc one. As my middle school economics teacher once said in an exercise about budgeting money, "You don't want to blow your whole wad in one place." (The overt sexual connotation of this statement was apparently lost on her.)

So disc one's purpose is to warm shit up. My only real regret here is the oh-so-obvious Grandmaster Flash segued into the Tom Tom Club. It's a total cliche move and I wish I hadn't done it. Other than that, I stand by this mix.

I'll post the tracklist with next week's edition. Because surprises are cool.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

This song finds its way into my head much more frequently than you'd think. S'all good - it's a catchy ditty.

Uploaded by Celtiemama

On a totally unrelated note, check out Santogold.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Funk

Here's a classic. For some reason, the clip doesn't have the intro, so allow me to start it off:

"Pass the Peas! Pass the Peas! Pass the Peas a-like we used to say!
Pass the Peas! Pass the Peas! Pass the Peas a-like we used to say!
Pass the Peas! Pass the Peas! Pass the Peas a-like we used to say!"

And speaking of funk, check out this tight James Brown show from 1974 in Zaire over at ICKMUSIC! And poke around while you're over there - always good stuff!

Lastly, I'll say that both the new Roots and Jamie Lidell records are hot - go pick 'em up.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

This post came about in response to two recent events. First, on my last trip to Pittsburgh, I found a used copy of The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions. Secondly, Steve Pond's talk on jazz at IASPM has me dusting off some records that I don't listen to often enough.

I love jazz. However, it's rare that I buy jazz records these days. This is for no good reason other than I'm constantly overwhelmed by the amount of music that I don't have. Maybe once the rock star thing pans out, I can just splurge and buy everything that I want.

While I enjoy a variety of jazz genres, I'm most attracted to the genres and figures that get experimental, deviating from standard forms and unafraid to play around with sound/noise. Off the top of my head, things like Coltrane's "Ascension" and "Om," Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman's so-called 'free' jazz, etc.

And of course, Miles' fusion period.

I like a lot of Miles Davis records throughout his career. He covered a hell of a lot of territory, and always seemed to be at the forefront of pushing the genre into new directions. Still, it's the fusion material that really pulls me in. Maybe that's cliche, I don't know. If it is, I don't care.

Along these lines, what I have for you today is a show from 10/17/70 titled Fillmore Densetsu.

1. Directions
2. Honky Tonk
3. unnamed
4. Sanctuary
5. Yesternow
6. Bitches Brew
7. Inamorata / The Theme

Enjoy Fillmore Densetsu.