Monday, March 18, 2013

SOD: Phosphorescent -- Song for Zula

"Song for Zula" lunges straight for the heart, sinks its soft teeth, and does not stop tearing for a full 6 minutes and ten seconds. And that is only if you can resist playing it on repeat. That's not something I've been capable of lately. It's the second track on Phosphorescent's 2013 album, Muchacho, which comes out on 3/19. Stream the album on NPR First Listen.

I love it when an artist (Matthew Houck is Phosphorescent), takes this much care in his lyrics, clearly writing them first, but shapes them to work so effortlessly in the melody. Song for Zula is a gateway to Muchacho, an album I think will take weeks to fully discover. I'm looking forward to the journey.

Some say love is a burning thing, 
That it makes a fiery ring
Oh but I know love as fading being
Just as fickle as a feather in a string
See, honey, I saw love, you see it came to me
It put its face up to my face so I could see
Yeah, then I saw love disfigure me
Into something I am not recognizing

Friday, March 15, 2013

Stinchfield Woods Trail Marathon

Friday off work! Perfect opportunity to run long at Stinchfield Woods, my favorite hilly single track trails. Stinch features no hunting, no bikes, and (somehow) no mud this time of year. There was some ice, but the trails were overall so firm that I ditched my Salomon Fellcross at the car at mile 11 for my Montrail Rogue Fly shoes, which are much lighter. Maybe spring has finally arrived in the SE corner of the mitten state.

At the start, I topped up my Ultimate Direction Wasp hydration pack with GUs and water, and I loaded the iPhone with podcasts from NPR All Songs Considered, KEXP, and Sound Opinions for company. Good thing too, since I saw only one other person out there all run. I did get to see a barred owl up close, as it flew right across the stretch of trail I was running, not ten feet from me. I tried to sneak up on Owl through the brush, but I was loud and clunky and Owl flew off before I could snap a picture. But I stopped plenty to take other pictures of this strange UM owned piece of land that reminds me so much of the Dharma Initiative from TV's Lost.

After two hours of running I wasn't sure I could make it up and down these hills for 3-4 hours, for the 35F temps and cloudy skies were pressing in on me, but after clicking off some faster miles, I could smell marathon distance and went for it. I ran much stronger from 18-23, and continued dropping pace throughout the whole run, finishing very strong. I'm really happy that my fitness is at the point where I can knock out a trail marathon without it totally crushing me and even negative split.

Run stats: 2,200 feet of vert gain over 26.42 miles with 3 hours 32 minutes of tough trail running.

Gravel Pit from the top

Older defunct telescope tower

I call this the roller coaster

Working satellite dish

Bottom of gravel pit. Far wall is fun for climbing.

Pine scented trail running on gravel roads

Garmin Connect file:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

SOD: Cayucas -- High School Lover

Spring is coming, or so I've heard. This brings the promise of trail running and shorts. It only follows that I've been looking for happy music recently, and lately I've been missing the combination of humor and pop sensibility that was so great in the Clinton-era releases by Beck and Weezer. When I heard "High School Lover" by sleepy seaside town, San Luis Obispo, California band, Cayucas, it immediately put a smile on my face and there was much dancing.

Cayucas will be at SXSW on Thursday, March 14 at 3pm on Radio Day Stage Austin Convention Center.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SOD: Josh Ritter -- A Certain Light

This is a damn good breakup song. Although Josh Ritter is singing about his recent divorce, "A Certain Light" will speak to the sixteen-year-olds who have had their hearts broken for the first time as much as it does to those facing the end of their marriage. But there is an absence of bitterness here. Instead, there is a sense of looking forward without dismissing the past, the pain, and the love lost. Josh Ritter's latest record, 'The Beast in Its Tracks', comes out today, March 5.

Some of my favorite lyrics:

"My new lover sweet and kind / The kind of lover that one rarely finds / And I'm happy for the first time / In a long time"

"And she only looks like you / In a certain kind of light / When she holds her head just right"

"It's been winter for a while / The north winds will cut like a baby child's / It was hard to think her smile / Could bring the springtime"

Listen to the album in full at NPR First Listen, and listen to an entire Josh Ritter concert from March 4, 2013.