Top Albums of 2012

It seems that my musical taste has become quite eclectic, ranging from metal to ambient/drone. I’ve listened to hundreds of bands this year, and a lot of bands deserve to be on this list.  I will just post some of the albums that have been continuously played throughout the year.

 Although, I’ve been listening to quite a bit of metal and post-metal lately.  This year has proved to be an interesting year musically.  I’ll place a link to a song from each album.  I hope you all take the time to listen to a song.  These are albums I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year. This is in no particular order:

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Aussitot Mort “Nagykanizsa”  

A metal/post-hardcore band from France.  Reminds me a bit of a heavier mewithoutyou (from the early days) especially in the throaty/emotional vocals.  This was one of the first albums I got this year, and it’s been playing throughout the year.  

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Further Seems Forever “Penny Black”

Earlier this year, I had no idea this band was even back together, let alone releasing a new album.  To my surprise, they were back together, and this album was just released a couple months ago.  This is everything I remember of old FSF, and it seems like they picked up right where The Moon Is Down left off.

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Aeges “The Bridge”

Yeah, this may be filed under a “guilty pleasure” album.  But, I can’t help it.  These are some catchy tunes.  The songs are written in a verse/chorus/verse/bridge style.  Reminds me quite a bit of a heavier/sludge-y Foo Fighters.  

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Krallice “Years Past Matter”

This was a surprising album.  You can place this in an experimental, progressive black metal bucket.  At first listen, it sounded like it would just be a bunch of guitar wankery, but it wasn’t.  The musicianship is technical and spot on, not at all sloppy.  The production is good for the genre, which gives it a clean sound.  

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Baroness “Yellow and Green”

This is the third album from this group, and I’ve been a fan since their Red album.  This album is actually a double release, and is not quite as heavy as previous releases, but still a great stoner rock and straight up rock n’ roll album.  

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Minus The Bear “Infinity Overhead”

I’ve been a fan of this band since their first release, and i’m still a fan with this release.  This is a solid indie rock album.  Still not as math rock-esque as older releases.  This band brings back memories of nighttime summer drives with the windows down and hair blowing in the breeze.  

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Invalids “Eunoia” 

So, I’m not a big fan of off-the-wall guitar wankery, but this album is an exception.  This is straight up (spazzy) math rock.  This is one of the more fun releases I had the opportunity to listen too this year.  

Honorable Mentions:

  • Balmorhea “Stranger”
  • Caspian “Waking Season”
  • Circa Survive “Violent Waves”
  • The  Contortionist “Intrinsic”
  • The Calm Blue Sea “Arrivals and Departures”

Most Disappointing

  • mewithoutyou “Ten Stories”
  • Between The Buried and Me “The Parallax II: Future Sequence”  *A note about this: It’s not that this was a bad album, but I guess I’m sort of getting bored with this style of music.  
  • Muse  “The Second Law”  

 

 

 

First Week: Post Pneumonia

I’ve been cleared to run again.  My lungs are “clear,” even though I still have a lingering cough.  But that’s apparently normal.  My kids have also shared a cold with my wife and I, although I’m only experiencing very mild symptoms.  Comes with the territory with children in public school.   Anyway, I started back very light training.  About 10% of my normal volume. I can tell my lungs are still healing, but my legs still feel strong, so that makes me hopeful.  

Here’s a few things I’ve learned the past couple months:

Patience: Certain things are beyond your control.  And some things take time.  Whether an injury or sickness, you have to take time.  It’s not a secret that I’m an anxious person.  (Ok, I’m also a hypochondriac).  And running helps this a lot.  Not being able to run or spend time on the trails is difficult.  So is thinking you’ve got a heart problem or some rare cancer.  

Take Care:  We’ve all heard that our body is a temple.  If we don’t take care of ourselves we will suffer.  Maybe not now, but as we age it will catch up to you. It’s good to listen to your body, if you don’t think you should do something, then you shouldn’t do it.  Rest is important, and it’s important to control stress and anxiety.  Easier said than done, Ryan.

Emergen-C does not make me Superman:  As much as I would love to fly around in tights, Emergen-C didn’t do jack to keep me from getting sick.  Kids share germs.  I will get over it.

My week (Saturday-Friday) Not much to say, because it wasn’t that exciting.

Saturday Dec 15th: 1.8 miles

First run.  Felt horrible.  Actually, my legs felt good, but my lungs burned.

Monday Dec 17th: 2.05 miles

Felt a little better.  Lungs still burned. But, not quite as bad.  

Tuesday Dec 18th: 1.75 miles

Decided to see what I felt like running a 7:00 min/pace.  It didn’t feel good. 

Saturday Dec 21st: 4 miles (trail, only 300′ ascent)

I was itching to get on the trails, so I did.  Mainly because I wanted to tryout my new Montrail Fairhaven trail shoes.  (Review coming soon, I’m sure you all are thrilled). It felt really good to be on the trails.  Despite having some mild cold symptoms my breathing and lungs felt better today.  I had some problems on the climbs, and I think that has to do with my loss of fitness. I can see some sustained hill runs in my future.  My legs felt good.  I didn’t want to push it, even though it still felt like I had to push a little even on a short-short 4 mile run.  I know with time, I’ll develop back into my previous shape.  And my volume will increase.  

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Total: a whopping 9.6 miles and 1hr:32min of training.  

New Territory

So, this is an odd time to start a blog about thoughts of life, and of running, considering I have not run in almost two months.  I can thank my kids for my original illness that led to pneumonia.  I hate you Emergen-C for not protecting my immune system. 

I have always in some way enjoyed writing.  So, why not start a blog that no one will read.

So, as far as my running goes, I started about 2 years ago.  It started as a reason to get into shape, it also started because my job was having this contest called the “100 Mile Challenge.” (Do I need to trademark this)?  So this gave me an oppurtunity to start. I should add that I’ve never been very athletic, except for that time in Jr. High where I ran track for a season.  That was a bit exhilarating.  And by exhilarating, I mean embarrassing.  Anyway, I decided to give running a try, and come to find out, it was actually enjoyable.  Turns out, I was actually kind of ok at it.  I could run faster than most of my peers, which was a change from that “exhilarating” experience in Jr. High.  My track coach always said, “You are more suited for distance.”  But no, I had to try sprinting.  I guess that’s why I was embarrassed. Have you seen my body frame?  I’m not exactly a Usain Bolt.

After about a year or so of running, I read an article about trail running.  That’s when things really changed for me.  There really is something about being in the woods and mountains that is a surreal experience.  It’s a chance to be by yourself, and really escape.  Sure, it can be fun running with others, but running in nature for a couple hours is a time to yourself, to listen to God’s creation and focus on absolutely nothing else.

So, this past couple months has been hard.  I’ve lost a good bit of fitness, and have missed the time in nature.  Pneumonia has kept me from running.  Probably a good idea so I don’t die.  Dying could put a damper on my race plans.  But, the good news is, I’ve been cleared to start running again.  So, I’ll head out, and probably be a bit humbled by the hills and trails.

This blog will follow my thoughts on life and running.  I guess I already said that.  Here are some races I have planned this year:

Terrapin Mountain 50K and 1/2 Marathon
Promised Land 50K
Mohican 50 Miler
Lynchburg Half Marathon
Virginia 10-Miler
Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail Run
and, Various 5K and 10K races