The Raveonettes - Dead Sound

From the forthcoming album "Lust, Lust, Lust" due out on February 19. I have an advance of this and it's definitely the best of their three albums. Psychocandy with a Danish twist...


The December Sound - The Silver Album

Sounding like a cross between The Verve, Honey’s Dead era Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream circa Xtrmntr, Boston’s The December Sound give the current shoegaze scene a much needed kick in the balls on their stunning debut full-length. With way too many contemporary bands in the genre aping the slow, ‘dreamy’ (and far too wussy for this scribe’s tastes) vibes of Slowdive and The Cocteau Twins, it’s hard to forget that many of the legends back in the day like Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel, JAMC, and early Ride were known for their lethal combinations of noise and melody. Fronted by Zack Sarzana, The December Sound take no prisoners on the pulverizing Stooges-like gems “No Heaven Like Hell” and “Maker,” which smack you head on like prime time Mike Tyson punches to the throat. Equally great is the slow burning “Painkiller,” a heady combination of big beats, fuzzy guitars and soothing vocals. At other times, the band takes on a more hypnotic space rock vibe on “Drone Refusenik” and, especially, “Kill Me (Before I Kill You),” a six-minute plus space rock masterpiece that holds it’s own with similarly inclined epics like Primal Scream’s “Higher Than The Sun” and The Verve’s “A Man Called Sun” (perhaps it’s no coincidence that The December Sound reference the Sun in their lyrics too!).


Elephant Stone meets Tony Hawk!!!

The music in the background of this Tony Hawk Proving Ground commercial is from "A New Dawn" by Elephant Stone artist Daydream Nation off of their second album Bella Vendetta. Pretty cool, eh?


Roger and Me

No, nothing to do with that flick by Michael Moore (who probably couldn't even walk a mile!). I've been on a bit of a Roger Bannister kick lately after recently reading two books about him. "The Perfect Mile" by Neal Bascomb documents the pursuit of the first 4:00 mile by Bannister, Australian John Landy, and American Wes Santee. Bannister, of course, hit the mark first, but then lost his record to Landy, but came back later in the year to defeat Landy in an epic race at the Empire Games, the first time that more than one runner broke the once unthinkable barrier in the same race. Bascomb's book is a great read, which would definitely appeal to history buffs as well as running fans.

I also just read Bannister's autobiography, "The Four-Minute Mile" (the original title was "The First Four Minutes"), which was first published in 1955, the year after his record breaking exploits. I have the fiftieth-anniversary edition, which includes a new introduction by Sir Roger as well as various other articles he wrote. This book is probably the best book I have read on running. It is an amazing account of post-war life in England and what it was like to be an athlete as well as a medical student in those times and how Bannister managed to train with such a busy schedule. Despite not running nearly as much as elite runners do today, Bannister was genius in his ability to make the most out of his time and employ a scientific, quality over quantity schedule that worked for him. A true Renaissance man, Bannister frowned upon the growing 'professionalism' that was creeping into the sport in the 1950s. He has much more to say about that in his 2004 essay "After The Four Minute Mile," which is included at the end of the book.


Training Update

I've been keeping the mileage at around 40-45 miles per week this winter and focusing more on hitting quality workouts, and making sure I fully recover, than aiming for arbitrary mileage goals. That said I'm trying to keep my weekly long run at 12-14 miles to keep my aerobic strength. This past week I had three really good sessions: a 6-5-4-3-2-1 fartlek on hills on Tuesday, a 20-minute Tempo on Thursday @ 5:57 pace (6:10, 5:54, 5:47, plus 2:09), and an easy 13 miler on Saturday. I was especially pleased with the tempo because last fall I was doing mile repeats on that loop with 2:00 rest breaks only a tad faster than what I averaged with no rest. Today I ran a Moneghetti Fartlek (named after the famous Australian marathoner Steve Moneghetti). This workout consists of short surges at 5K effort with equal-time recovery 'floats' at about 1:00 per mile slower. Today's effort totaled 26-minutes (4 laps of the Lakewood Park mile loop, plus a bit more). I hit each mile right around 6:00 (my 4-mile split was 24:08). Very windy today so I think it's a good sign that my winter conditioning is going well.


Spacemen 3 - Revolution

One of the best Fuck Off anthems of all time. This came out in 1988, but still sounds timeless... well other than the Stooges guitar riffs that they ripped off!


Guilty Pleasure! -- Duran Duran Ordinary World directors cut

While I'm not that big of a fan of the 'classic' Eighties Duran Duran material, I was always a sucker for this early Nineties comeback effort. And I'm not alone. Other people who have praised this song include Martin Carr of the legendary Creation Records shoegaze outfit The Boo Radleys and Rob Montejo of Smashing Orange and now The Sky Drops. Rumor has it that BMLC's rock star marathon runner Robert Cherry is working on a cover!


Holiday Beer Reviews

My pal Stephen Magee was kind enough to taste test and review a bunch of cool beers:

Tis the season for the Holiday Beer reviews:

Out of the blocks my favorite Michigan brewery comes in with two heavy, heavy hitters! Founders of Grand Rapids brings you holiday cheer with a wet hopped beer called Harvest Ale, this beer is on the wave of the new additions of wet hopped ales. With a smooth yet good wallop of hops this beer will make you smile and beg for more. At rate my you can find this brew at a healthy 97/96. I would rather drink a beer than smack it with a number. A true hop-head will enjoy the taste and the novice will get a mouthful of flavor that begs the question why do I not have two? If this is too tame for your gaster, bring in the "Old Curmudgeon Ale" in the squat Founders bottle this brew aged for two years this brings a smack to your mouth that is welcome among the mediocre beers of the season. ABV 9.3% and IBU 50. A deep brown unfiltered beer greets you with a "How's Life"! Try a few if you are at home or out only with a Designated Driver!

Anchor Steam comes in with a tasty spicy brew that greets the holiday season. As always they put out a brew with a different mix each holiday season. Grab a six and enjoy with friends always a welcome holiday brew. This is the 33rd year of a holiday brew from Anchor and it will tingle your taste buds and warm your belly! Drink up and you will have a bigger belly to enjoy a few more! Found in 6-packs and Magnums . This beer is well worth a taste and then another! A holiday tradition get a few and ring in the New Year!

A new addition to my list of very nice Stouts is the Brooklyn Brewing Companies "Black Chocolate Stout". This beer will wake up your glass and give you a nice kick. At only $9.00 a 6-pack well worth the price. I am not a big fan of the BBC beers, yet this seasonal beer brings out some flavor! With over a 10% ABV this beer drinks smooth and finishes with the best of them. Grab a 6-pack or a case and you will bring any party a much needed boost. Core stout drinkers will enjoy the rich complex taste. The novice will enjoy the chocolate and then enjoy the beer. Not to be missed. If price is a consideration this is the holiday brew for you.

Last a nice pair from Dogfish Head! If you like going to the extreme, please strap in and grab an "Olde School Barleywine". This beer is over the top! Smooth and full of flavor! Not to be missed! At over 15% ABV this packs a punch. Brewed with dates and figs it is great for the holiday season. Put out some soft Brie and pour a few glasses! Enjoy!!! Also from DFH is the release of "Golden Era" formerly known as 'Golden Shower" this beer is the only Pilsner beer from DFH and at 9% ABV a treat to the drinker of the traditional American sub-par pilsner. Grab a 4-pack and drink up. Crisp and clean with taste, something new for a pilsners.

Just a holiday smattering for all. As always drink more and experiment more, expand your selection and your friends! All the best for 2008!

-Peace Stephen


Nike - A little less Hurt

Set to Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails "Hurt." Check out Bob Kempainen at 47 seconds throwing up all over the place on the way to his victory in the 1996 Olympic Trials Marathon.


trying to be healthier

Not really a New Year's Resolution, but I've decided to try to improve my diet a bit. I haven't had any soda or red meat in over two weeks and I've reduced my coffee consumption to one cup a day, as well as having less beer and wine. I don't notice anything drastically different though I feel less moody (probably the caffeine and alcohol reduction). Also, when I weigh myself each day I tend to be 2-4 pounds lighter than I was in the fall, which I think is entirely due to not drinking 1-2 cokes each day at work (lots of empty calories in soda). I've been drinking a lot more water and Green Tea at work instead. Running has been going pretty well. It's suddenly in the 60s here though that won't last. Took advantage of that and got in a really good 10 miler today on a hilly metro park course. In the middle portion I ran a 6-5-4-3-2-1 breakdown with half-time jog rests. I really like this workout a lot. It's a staple of the Zap Fitness Team and a real strength builder. As the reps get shorter, you try to go faster while dealing with the shorter and shorter rest breaks. Fun stuff. :-)


Fantastic Article on Masters Star Brian Pope

It's not every day that a literary magazine will publish an article about running, but this recent piece in Oxford American magazine about masters running star Brian Pope is one of the best I've read on my sport in some time. The 45-year-old Mississippi native is the holder of several national records in the 40-44 year-old age group and has one numerous national titles. Pope is also an extreme example of someone living the running monk lifestyle. He is single, lives alone and survives on a beyond modest income, which comes entirely from prize-money earnings and the occasional work of art that he sells (he is a painter). This reminds me a lot of the so-called surf and ski bums whose entire lives revolve around catching the next wave or mountain.


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