It’s been a total shit show of a training week. In fact, the last two days have sucked weather-wise forcing me to pretty much tank all my planned run and bike workouts. Thank you, Hurricane Patricia! And it’s not like the time off has been beneficial as I’m suddenly racked with all these little tweaks and niggles that seemingly came from out of nowhere. Weird.
Making this mess even worse was the total power outage yesterday forcing me into a mad dash for the office as opposed to working from my cozy basement office. FML. So now I’m taking to the streets this morning to make up for lost time with this short and sweet easy 7k run in lieu of the early-morning tempo run I originally had planned for yesterday. Fuck it. I just don’t feel like giving anything more at the moment. We’ll just chalk it up as a “recovery week”. This mornings musical choice is the ‘Swam City Vampires‘ album by Will Johnson.
This is another Patterson Hood recommendation (i.e Sun Kil Moon, Shovels & Rope, et al.) and, Lord knows, if Patterson says “Hey boy, listen to this!“, I immediately respond with “Yessir! Right away, sir!”
Will Johnson is the former front man for the now defunct Crazy Horse-style rock band Centro-matic from Denton, Texas. Perhaps I need to now check that band out on one of my future trips to San Antonio. ‘Swan City Vampires‘ is Johnson’s 4th solo album released just this past September. Here’s what Patterson himself has to say about it:
“At times as beautiful and melodious as he’s ever been, at others with a primal immediacy beyond anything I’ve ever heard him do. Raw and urgent, this album is a thing of immense beauty that only gets better with each repeated listen. This could end up being my favorite album he’s ever made.”
Shit, even Jason Isbell throws in a good word:
“Will Johnson is one of my favorite songwriters on Earth, and this album is as literate and addictive as any of his previous work. These songs are honest and specific while remaining open to multiple layers of interpretation. The melodies are beautiful and memorable, and Will’s voice is a complex and delicate instrument. As a long-time fan, it makes me happy to know that Will is still challenging himself to make music that truly can be called art.”
Shit, with two endorsements like that, how could I ever miss?
The album starts off a little jarringly with ‘Paradise, Basically‘, whose opening fuzzy guitar licks can be a bit a jarring at 6:15am when the volume on your iPod is set to full blast and you’re not expecting it. It kind of grabs you by the boo-boo though and sends you drifting off into my favorite track off the album, the hypnotic ‘You vs. Off the Cuff‘. It’s a great lonely, crooning kind of tune as I stumbled down Point Pleasant Rd. under a nearly full moon in the crisp pre-dawn air. ‘Nameless, But a Lover‘ is equally pretty and is on par with anything Crazy Horse ever did. ‘Call, Call’, Call‘ is up next and keeps me chugging down Nigh Rd. towards Gorham Rd. There are no leaping and prancing drills today as this is something that I just want to keep moving to past all the kaleidoscopic fractals in the headlights of passing motorists. Dare I say it, I might even be enjoying myself.
‘(Made Us Feel Like) Kings‘ is a gorgeous sun-streaked piano ballad as I turn onto Pearl St. and back up towards town along Belleview Blvd, and ‘Pulleys‘ has a certain steady psychedelic urgency to it and it altogether addictive in it’s own forthright. This is indie-folk rock at it’s finest. The rest of the album plays out track by track in similar fashion and it’s all good. I may not be any wiser about where Swan City is exactly but, well, let’s just say that those vampires he mentioned don’t seem to be so bad. In fact, this is easily one of the best things I’ve heard all year (click HERE).
You rule, Patterson.