Running: An Exploration of Ego and Musical Landscapes

I’ve always enjoyed running.  I can’t really go so far as to say I love it.  It’s more realistic to call it a love/hate relationship.  Some of the reasons it’s pleasurable are also the reasons it can be miserable.  You never win at it really.  You can always go farther.  Or faster.  But it’s reliable.  It’s that friend who meets you every morning with an encouraging gesture and a boost to your ego only to kick you to the curb in 45 minutes when she’s had her fill of your company.  It’s hard more times than it’s easy, but yet I keep coming back.  Because every once in a while you have a day where you do win.  You set a challenge for yourself and then kill it.  And it’s enjoyable and almost, dare I say it, fun.  Today was one of those days.  Maybe it was a good night of sleep or maybe it was the fact that my playlist just kicked ass, but I had a great run.  I launched head on into my day ready to conquer the entire world.

So I thought I’d share my playlist for today.  Because running aside and second only to my husband and dog,  is my love for music (if you’re not a consistent reader of this blog).  Anything good is made great with a soundtrack.  Life needs it and running, at least for me anyway, damn near requires it.    Maybe you can tie up your sneaks and take it for a test drive; universe willing, you too will have an awesome run.

*Small disclaimer, some days I run to a created playlist I’ve painstakingly curated, but mostly I hit shuffle and go where the musical road may lead.  Today was a shuffle kinda day and as you’ll soon see (again, if you’re not a consistent reader of this blog), my musical tastes are all over the highway.

The Cult- Coming Down (1994)

Origene- Sanctuary (2003)

Metallica-  For Whom the Bell Tolls  (1984)

The Limousines- Undercover  (2013)

Ted Nugent-  Motor City Madhouse (1975)

Foo Fighters-  Dear Lover (1997)

Nirvana- Downer (1989)

Full Service- Greetings (2013)

Band of Skulls-  Wanderluster (2012)

Joe Jackson-  Breaking Us in Two (1982)

Dropkick Murphys-  I’m Shipping Up to Boston (2005)

Perry Farrell-  100 Ways (1996)

Goldfinger-  My Girlfriend’s Shower (1996)

Dirty Projectors-  Two Doves (2009)

The Inmates-  Dirty Water (1979)

Cypress Hill-  How I Could Just Kill a Man (1991)

Leftfield-  A Final Hit (2005)

The Four Tops-  I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) (1965)

Douglas Armour-  The Whole World (2008)

The White Stripes-  Hotel Yorba (2001)

music-for-running-620x620

Happy trails and tunes!  Let me know how your run went.

Stay positive and love your life.

-Melissa

Advertisements

Twisted Mixtape: Awesome Mix Volume 2

So Jen returned one of my very favorite blog hops this week, Twisted Mixtape!  Oh how I’d missed it.  With the stress of getting married, starting my own company, and writing twice weekly for Lefty Pop, my personal writing time has taken a serious hit.  In fact, someone of you are thinking, “oh yeah, I do remember subscribing to this blog.  I thought she’d disappeared into the void of blogging block.”  Nope, just busy.  But no way was I going to miss out on the opportunity to follow a mixtape assignment!  Today’s tape is inspired by the original Awesome Mix Volume 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy (awesome movie if you haven’t seen it).  It’s just a bunch of songs I wouldn’t mind as a soundtrack while floating around in space.  And in also keeping with the movie, these songs all skew older.  There nothing here beyond 1988.

awesome-mix-vol-1-guardians-of-the-galaxy-104088

 

U2:  Where the Streets Have No Name

Really this could have been just about any song from War or Joshua Tree

George Baker Selection:  Little Green Bag

Jen and I have discussed our mutual love for this song.  Never gets old.

Ram Jam:  Black Betty

This is just a pure rock out track.

ELO:  Mr. Blue Sky

Makes me happy.

Allman Brothers Band:  Blue Sky

I can see my childhood living room and feel the warm summer breeze coming through my window if I close my eyes.

Rush:  Subdivisions

Quintessential nerd jam.

Yes:  Owner of a Lonely Heart

Solid advice.

Toto:  Africa

Made me miss the rains and I’ve never even been to Africa.

Tears for Fears:  Head of Heels

Belongs on any mixtape I make.  One of my favorite songs ever.

Simple Minds:  Alive and Kicking

My 2nd favorite 80s new wave hit.

Pink Floyd:  Learning to Fly

Hard to pick just one Pink Floyd song, but this one has always been instantly repeatable for me.

 

After a thorough review of my songs, you could easily call them “Songs I listened to in the backseat of my childhood car”, which is fitting given how Star Lord obtained his mixtape.

 

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

 

Today:

Listening to:  Bosnian Rainbows – Eli

Eating:  Rigatoni with homemade vodka sauce, arugula, and garden fresh tomatoes.

Drinking:  H20

Random thought:  This time next month I’ll be prepping for my engagement party.  Squee! So excited to be marrying my soul mate, best friend, and perfect partner in life!

14 Best Songs of 2014 (So Far)

This post originally appeared over at the Lefty Pop.  Lefty Pop is the pop culture and politics site I contribute to twice weekly.  Go check it out.  Lots of funny, talented writers call it home.

New music, is there anything better?  Okay, perhaps there are a few things that rank higher in life, but not many.  I seldom sit in silence.  My life has a constant (well made) soundtrack provided by my iPod, Spotify, or the humming of whatever ear-worm that has worked its way into my cranium.  We’re over halfway to the finish line of 2014, and so far, this year’s audio offerings have been rather pleasings.  Here are 14 of my favorites in no particular order.

Best Songs of 2014 (14)-  Midge Ure: Are We Connected?

Remember Ultravox?  They were responsible for that melodramatic 80s new wave hit Dancing With Tears in My Eyes.  Midge Ure was the vocalist/guitarist.  Since 1985, he’s been riding solo, but he is still bringing all the new wave exaggerated emotions this girl loves.

Best Songs of 2014 (13)-  Leisure Cruise: Believer

Dave Hodge (of 90s Bran Van 3000 roots) and Leah Siegel (a local NY songstress) formed Leisure Cruise as a soundtrack to their imagined story about final time on earth prior to colonizing a new planet.  It’s been said to, “Imagine the music of a John Hughes film if it had been written by Bowie, remixed by Johnny Jewel, and fronted by a female Prince, and you’ll start to get the idea.”

Best Songs of 2014 (12)-  Speedy Ortiz:  American Horror

Remember how amazing Liz Phair was back in the 90s before she got all poppy and over produced?  Yeah, that’s Speedy Ortiz.  Raw, feedback laden guitar and deadpan, angsty female vocals have earned this band constant rotation in my playlist.

Best Songs of 2014 (11)-  Future Islands:  Seasons (Waiting on You)

Imagine if a guy with spastic moves, death-metalesque vocals (toned down), and vaguely Joaquin Phoenix looks fronted an indie-electropop band.  Future Islands is what you’d get.  They earned a place in indie hearts after their performance on Letterman wowed Dave.  Go check it out and enjoy the Cookie Monster vocals.  I’d rather share the official video which is even more bizarre.  Sympathetic nod to the right?

Best Songs of 2014 (10)-  Phantogram:  The Day You Died

The electronic rock duo eased their way into my faves a few years ago with Don’t Move and When I’m Small.  Their 2014 album followed up with multiple highlights.

Best Songs of 2014 (9)-  Beck: Unforgiven

This may be my favorite Beck.  I listened to his new album Morning Phase in its entirety at least 25 times.  Mellow, dreamy, and beautiful.  If heaven had a soundtrack, this would be a strong contender.

Best Songs of 2014 (8)-  311: First Dimension

You’re really surprised 311 made this list aren’t you?  Like I’m not going to offer up a track from my favorite band.  Check out my review of their latest album, Stereolithic.   My favorite song on the album changes weekly.

Best Songs of 2014 (7)-   Mastodon:  The Motherload

Mastodon’s new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, was just released.  Fans have eagerly been anticipating it following the much loved 2011 album from the Atlanta rockers, The Hunter.  It was worth the wait.  Solid.  Yes, I have Mastodon on the same playlist as Phantogram.  Variety people, it’s the spice of life.

Best Songs of 2014 (6)-  Jack White:  Would You Fight for My Love?

I’m kind of digging what living in Nashville is doing to Jack White.  His latest offerings chase the ripping guitar with a bit of twang.  The result is rather pleasing.

Best Songs of 2014 (5)-  Kongos:  Come With Me Now

Super catchy.  Who doesn’t love a bearded accordion player?

Best Songs of 2014 (4)-  The Pretty Reckless- House on the Hill

Apparently the lead singer was on Gossip Girl.  Regardless, I love what they’re offering up so far.

Best Songs of 2014 (3)-  Temples:  A Questioned Isn’t Answered

Anywhere a band is creating psychedelic rock that would easily be at home on a commune, I’ll be there to listen with a smile.  Why does this music make me so happy?

Best Songs of 2014 (2)–  Cloud Cult:  Chemicals Collide

Strings may be my ultimate weakness.  Throw a violin or cello into a track and I’m all in.  Besides what part of “experimental, environmentally conscious band formed in the 90s” doesn’t sound like it was made for me?

Best Songs of 2014 (1)- Tokyo Police Club:  Tunnel Vision

A fitting indie rock track to end the list.

 

 

Guest Post: A Dinner Party Playlist

So as you all have probably ascertained, my personal blog writing time has dwindled to near zilch lately.  Between by twice weekly commitment over at Lefty Pop (check it out here), major work shakeups (equally zero oasis writing space at lunchtime), and the development of a new chapter in my career (more on that soon!), I’ve found myself really neglecting Quick Stepp.  I promise I’ll be back!  In the meantime, please follow me over at Lefty Pop and check out this guest post submission from my very best friend, Brett (aka Bee).  He’s not exaggerating when he says he’s a neurotic mess.  I wouldn’t want him any other way.  So happy I can play a role in his life and his music snobbery!  Here is a shot of us being our normal dorky selves:

IMG_0864

Take it away Bee Marsh:

 

So I have a dinner party to throw and what do I do? Freak out. People are going to be up in my house. Hello, this means get to work.

I have to research and create some amazing dish that somehow everyone who enjoys eating will appreciate. Clean everything. And that means wipe down the vacuum cleaner too. Spark up some candles for ambiance, aroma, and/or just plain good measure. Hello, again, people are going to be up in my house, it’s a dinner party. Everyone must feel clean and comfortable. Can I get you anything? Do you need a refill?

But before the super anxious, super impatient, and super neurotic aspects of my personality come bursting out, I crank up the surround sound with one of the dillions of songs I have starred on my Spotify account. That’s $10 a month well spent for me. It is a lifesaver.

While in the hype of wiping down every crevice of the house I began to think about the song by Gravel and Wine called Black Sheep. It reminded me of one of my close friends who beats to her own drum and who is naturally repulsed by anything that everyone is into. It’s a pretty bad-ass song. (Ahem, that’s me Melissa)

After having such a connection with the song, I began to think about other songs that remind me of certain people. Think it is an easy task? It is not. Thanks to my best friend Melissa I have been turned on to some obscure music, and now that I scour Spotify daily for new tunes, it becomes hard to narrow it down to one song for some people.

Roxette- It Must Have Been Love

I can remember the first time a song reminded me of someone. I was in first grade and the song was Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love. It reminded me of my mom. Now before you get an Oedipus Rex read off of my song choice, you have to understand I am a Mama’s boy. I am a neurotic mess remember? Just like my mom. Two peas in a pod. To this day I vividly remember walking into first grade and bursting into tears after she dropped me off at school because the tune of this song was stuck in my head and made me miss her all day. Gay little boy.

Bear Hands- Giants

There are a ton of songs that I could list that remind me of the love of my life, Bradley. He is a big deal. But I won’t bore anyone with the sappy reasons why this man is the Matt to my Melissa. I will just let Bear Hand’s Giants elaborate on how this man makes me feel. He is my most Favourite Thing and Yuna would agree. (Think of that special someone and listen to Northern Wind by City and Colour and then try not to be moved by everything about this song.)

Kyle Andrews- The Way to Wonder

Too many songs to pick for my best friend Melissa. Hello. The first would be representative of when we lived together. The year of 2012 was full of changes for us both that we experienced together and Kyle Andrews’ The Way to Wonder would sum it all up. But to highlight a few Judy and the Bee moments in history check out Metric’s Stadium Love which reminds me of our first trip to NOLA’s Voodoo Fest together. Then there is that one time we stayed out late on a school night to jam with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes’ concert and drive home blasting, what song? Home.

Groove Stain- Shut Down

Speaking of homes, I would consider mine to be in Nashville with Bradley but at the end of the day I am an Atlanta boy and it will always hold a special place in my heart… Until I have to get on an interstate in that city. Groove Stain’s Shut Down definitely reminds me of home home in Atlanta.

Air Traffic Controller- Hurry, Hurry

And finally, when I think about what song would sum up me as a person it’s not even a close race. It’s Air Traffic Controller’s Hurry, Hurry. In case I didn’t say it enough I am neurotic and anxious all the time and this song is not only awesome in sound but pretty much the title track to the daily life inside my head.

 

What songs always remind you of a particular person?  Leave Bee a comment and tell him or let him know what you think of his playlist!

Like he said, too many song remind me of him.  So who can narrow it down?  I’ll select one that I know he loves to hate:

Vampire Weekend- Mansard Roof

Five for Friday: Random Spotify Shuffle

Since I’m out of town today for business and my normal lunch writing time is unavailable, I prepped a softball of a Five for Friday list in advance.  This should be an easy yet fun post  that provides everyone with a little insight into your musical tastes.  I actually did an iPod shuffle post for my very first Five for Friday post nearly a year ago!  Check it out here.

Here are my five with commentary.  Enjoy and then set your Starred Playlist to shuffle and link yours up using the Linky Tool at the end of the post.  Don’t use Spotify?  Then go ahead and give that iPod a shuffly spin!

Dead Sara- Lemon Scent

I just found this band a few weeks ago.  There is really nothing better than stumbling upon a band that you should have already been listening to ages ago and then devouring their entire discography song by song!

This puts me right back in the 90s when all my favorite music was on the airwaves.  These chicks rock the hell out.

 

Tears for Fears- Mad World

Any music listening platform in my possession will be heavy on the 80s.  Favorite 80s band?  Tears for Fears.  This is one of their best.

 

Lana Del Rey- Off to the Races

Though the hipsters damn near ruined liking her, I’ve never been shy about proclaiming my love for Lana.  I dig her voice.  I dig her bizarre lyrics.  She’s a weirdo, a talented weirdo.

 

Local Natives- Who Knows Who Cares

I’ve listened to this album too many times to count, I grinned like a fool watching their performance on Austin City Limits, and now I finally get to see them live at Shaky Knees next month!

 

Ima Robot- Scream

Another of Alex Ebert’s projects.  This one is quite different from Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros.  I’m a fan of anything this bizarre man releases.

 

Alright ladies and germs, your turn.  Shuffle it up and lay it on me!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

 

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

Five for Friday: Rapper’s Delight

While I’m traditionally a rock gal, I pretty much listen to every type of music to varying degrees.  Some, however, show up rarely and require the perfect combination of mood, company and environment (country for instance).  Others, like rap, are more activity oriented.  I’m not a huge fan of rap and most modern rap/hip-hop makes me break out in hives (Drake, ugh).  But in the gym, during certain workouts, rap is awesome.  I’ve been on a serious kick this week and so I thought I’d dedicate today’s 5 for Friday to some of my favorite rap groups.

purpleswag-600x367

So much street cred going on over here.

Now, I’m going to try to steer away from some of the favorites of my past (Tupac, Biggie, Snoop) and eliminate the obvious Eminem vote, so I may focus on perennial favorites.  These artists/groups I will listen to over and over again.  For the most part, they share a few common attributes:  intelligent & creative lyrics (most of the time), mentions of world/government issues, and the likelihood for harmonies (ie. most can also sing).

REMEMBER, THIS IS BLOG HOP!  So check out my 5 and then link up with your 5.  Don’t have a blog?  Leave your 5 in the comment section

The Roots

Now that they’ve locked in their cush job being the Tonight Show band, I hope they don’t stop being an actual band.

 

Street Sweeper Social Club

Hey that guy sounds like Tom Morello!  It’s not RATM, but it’s the next best thing.

 

Mos Def

Yes, everyone knows that white people love Mos Def.  It’s true.  I’ve seen him live and there were like 5 black people there counting the performers onstage.

 

Jurassic 5

Chali 2na has one the coolest voices ever.

 

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

Ok, so I went back on this one, but I couldn’t not include Bone!  No one else sounds like them!

 

Bonus!

Gang Starr

Childish Gambino

A newcomer that I actually really like.

 

Who are your 5 favorite rap groups right now?  Enter them using the Linky Tool below!

 

Stay positive & love your life!

-Melissa

 

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday: Till Next Time

Here we are; it’s the very last week of Twisted Mix Tape.  All my favorite blog hops are leaving me!  Hopefully some of the buddies I’ve met through this blog will join me in the fun of my new blog hop every Friday.  Five for Friday will be an ever changing theme of lists of five.  Last week I divulged some of my personal weaknesses.  Go check it out!  It’s not too late to link up and share.  And be sure to come back this Friday…and one after and the one after that.

Goodbyes, I kind of suck at them.  So I’ll take Jen’s word that this is simply a “see you later”.  We’ll all return to share music and life later.  And if she doesn’t return to host, I know at least a few of us would be honored to take up the helm.  Thanks Jen for introducing me to so many great bloggers and friends.  You rock!

Here are my 5 goodbye songs….they follow the theme a bit loosely, but are solid jams nonetheless.

The Cars- Touch and Go

 

Tegan and Sara- Call It Off

 

Ballyhoo!- Walk Away

 

Marcy Playground- Bye, Bye

 

 

And of course I’m going to end with 311.  As the song says, I’ll be here a while.  So come say hi Twisted Mixtapers.  Don’t be strangers!

311- I’ll Be Here a While

 

Stay positive and love your life!

-Melissa

 

Today:

Listening to: 

Eating:  Arugula and pecan salad.