Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Music I Ran To, 2014

Sam Herring:  10th grade drama kid impersonating the Incredible Hulk or the insane lovechild of Dracula and a lounge singer?

This year we can look back on some of the best Eighties music that came out since, well... the Eighties... and I'm not just talking about Taylor Swift's 1989.  Or that insufferable band from Ireland that pushed a free album to all of our iPhones (wtf...?)

Anyway, without further introduction, here's my usual 'best of the year' list... for plugging in some headphones and running... or just closing your eyes and counting to... whatevs.

Favorite Albums I Ran To, 2014

Beyonce, Beyonce
The Front Bottoms, Talon of the Hawk (2013)
Neutral Milk Hotel, On Avery Island (1996)
Phantogram, Voices

St. Vincent, St. Vincent
Future Islands, Singles
Sylvan Esso, Sylvan Esso

Superchunk, No Pocky for Kitty (1991)
Smashing Pumpkins, Gish (1991)
Sleater Kinney, The Woods (2005)
Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues
A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Sea When Absent
Sky Ferreira, Sky Ferreira (2013)
Zedd, Clarity (2012)
The Go! Team, Thunder Lighning Strike (2004)
Potty Mouth, Hell Bent (2013)

Diarrhea Planet, I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams (2013)
Spoon, They Want My Soul
Bleachers, Strange Desire
Caribou, Our Love
The Go! Team, Rolling Blackouts (2011)

Favorite Songs I Ran To - released 2014

***Honorable Mention***

tUnE-yArDs, "Real Thing"
I regret leaving my day-glo face paint at home when I saw Merrill Garbus and company at Cat's Cradle.  Never since college and never again will this be socially acceptable.


Swans, "A Little God in my Hands"
For something darker... like if I ran down Stagecoach Road at night and wanted to pretend I was getting chased by zombies.  I don't do this by the way.  Really.  But if I did, this would be my song of choice.

Spoon, "New York Kiss"
Saw at Hopscotch.  Saw again at Austin City Limits...  until a 4 month pregnant Megan got hit by a dodgeball by some teenage DBs who were probably in diapers when Girls Can Tell came out... ugh.  The band that is consistently good, but never jaw dropping.

Bleachers, "Like a River Runs"
Did you hate the 80s?  Did you hate The Killers?  Did you hate the band Fun?  Don't listen to this, unless you want to hate listen.

FKA Twigs, "Two Weeks"
How to tell a boyfriend to get over his ex... especially if that ex is Kristen Stewart.  My money is on FKA Twigs.


Run the Jewels, "Close Your Eyes..."
SURGEON GENERAL WARNING, your heart might skyrocket out of your chest and land on the sidewalk flopping like a fish out of water (on amphetamines)

***Top Ten***

#10 - Cloud Nothings, "I'm Not Part of Me"
It's 6:30.  I just got off work.  It's April.  It's time to freaking hammer 4 miles.  I throw on some running shoes and shorty shorts and dash out the building at breakneck pace.  Enter Psychic Trauma.  Enter Cloud Nothings.

#9 - New Pornographers, "Brill Bruisers"

The mid-00s... what is that decade called anyway?  You know, that hyper-political one where W Bush was president, Katrina turned New Orleans into a giant toilet bowl, and half the people were livid about what was going on in Iraq.  The one where (fittingly) I was living in DC a two mile run down 16th Street away from the White House and walked to New Pornographers shows at the 9:30 club.  When I bought my first iPod and filled it up with Mass Romantic, Electric Version, and Twin Cinema.  Those days seem long ago, and this is just a mere reminder.


#8 - Perfume Genius, "Queen"
October 10, 2014.  A step toward equality in NC.


#7 - Phantogram, "Black Out Days"
The right venue for Phantogram: a cold, drizzling February morning spent running at Umstead Park.

The "doesn't quite feel right" venue for Phantogram: an open field in the hot sun at Austin City Limits.


#6 - Sylvan Esso, "Uncatena"

For those runs around UNC or Duke after all the college kids leave town in early summer and everything is so... quiet.  The best weeks of the year... before it gets balls hot.


#5 - A Sunny Day In Glasgow, "Bye Bye Big Ocean (The End)"

The grandchild of shoe gazing indie noise rock, a good running song, but an even better song for riding on a ferry boat on the Aegean from Santorini to Mykonos, Greece.  Cause I went to m-f-ing Greece this year.  And next summer I'll have a 3 month old.  Just sayin' ...


#4 - Caribou, "Can't Do Without You"

More on this one in Part II.  My gripe on this song is it's tantalizingly short.


#3 - Against Me!, "FUCKMYLIFE666"

For running around my old hood in Salisbury, NC on a summer morning.  No really, I LOVE visiting my old hometown...

I can guarantee one thing - my visits back home are far less awkward than Laura Jane Grace's.

#2 - Beyonce, "Pretty Hurts"
Ah, if I had to choose ONE song from this near ***flawless album, and only ONE to crunch out on a treadmill run on a January evening training for Boston, it would be the album opener.  Pretty Hurts.  Marathon training hurts.  It fits, right?

(no stream available, Beyonce is strict with her copyrights... so bow down bitches)

#1 - Future Islands, "Seasons (Waiting on You)"

For celebrating tearing up the Merge 25K in March.  Nine months later, I still don't know how I ran a 25K at a faster pace than I was running a 5K just 5 years ago.  I guess every now and then getting off my lazy butt pays off.  It's safe to say I will never run a faster 25K... 

Confession: Sometimes after a rough day, Megan catches me singing like a maniac doing my best Sam Herring impression.  Now if I could only get Star Karaoke on NC55 to add this...

Other running favorites ("throwbacks")

Mates of State, "Get Better"
Neutral Milk Hotel, "Naomi"
We Were Promised Jetpacks, "It's Thunder and It's Lightning"
Waaves, "Afraid of Heights"
Superchunk, "Tower"
Smashing Pumpkins, "Bury Me"
The Go! Team, "Buy Nothing Day"
Sleater-Kinney, "One Hour"
Sky Ferreira, "I Will"
Zedd, "Follow You Down" (feat Bright Lights)
The Go! Team, "Ladyflash"
Cut Copy, "Out There On the Ice"
Grimes, "Oblivion"
Potty Mouth, "Better End"
Dead Gaze, "Remember What Brought Us Here"
Les Savy Fav, "Let's Get Out of Here"
Porcelain Raft, "Unless You Speak From Your Heart"
Kendrick Lamar, "m.A.A.d city" (feat MC Eiht)
Caribou, "Odessa"
The Go! Team, "Apollo Throwdown"

Lots of these found here... yup, this is my vice.  My addiction if you will.  Running and Music.

Part Two next... my favorite albums of the year.

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