Had you asked last night, say, around 9:30-10:00pm if I would be running today I would have likely had have told you “not a fucking chance” given my legs felt like wet noodles after my 60 minute plyometric/weights routine. But as if this morning, hey, not so bad! Perhaps this whole strength building thing is actually working. Whatever it is going on, I’m heading out the door this afternoon as scheduled to complete this 8.06k “progression” tempo run as per the new weekly routine. My listening pleasure this afternoon is the newest album by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion ‘Freedom Tower: No Wave Dance Party 2015‘.
Upon first glance at the album title, you’re likely to conjure up images of those old K-Tel compilation albums that adorned the impulse purchase racks at every department store cashier and check out in 1980’s. Even the album cover hints it.
However, it’s really just the same ‘ol hard-grooving punk-hop veterans returning with their 10th studio album; their second LP after ending an eight-year hiatus. The formula is the same as it always was (and, likely, forever shall be): two cheap guitars, one small drum kit, and enough energy to power a freight train. It a tried and true formula: wail hard on the blues (or whatever mutated variant this is) and don’t fuss over the buff and shine. Needless to say, this is also how I kinda approach my runs which makes this album such a good bedfellow for today’s workout.
‘Freedom Tower‘ cuts to the chase and puts the focus on Russell Simins’ hard swinging drums and the interplay between Judah Bauer’s scrappy, minimal lead guitar and Spencer’s low-end six-string buzz, with Spencer’s vocals (pitched between high-attitude soul shouting and old-school rap science) lurking just beneath the surface as the band generates a boiling cauldron of fractured blues and detourned funk. It’s a raw but sincere love letter to New York City (hence the use of ‘Freedom Tower‘), celebrating the gritty joys of life in the pre-gentrified city, and the music speaks to the sweaty ecstasies of a basement punk rock show (I mean, really what would you think of with songs entitled ‘Cunt Tease‘ and ‘You Look Like a Jew‘ – shit, that’s even painful to type!) and the joyous grooves of a pumping block party at the same time. “C’mon, fellas, we gotta pay respect”, Spencer calls out in his best Big Bopper-like bellow to start off the album. Furthermore, the album pays homage to “The Hustler and The Trust Fund Baby, the Mosh Pit Casualty, the Celebrity Chef, the Crooked Cop, the Struggling Artist, the Sucker MC, the forgotten Sex Workers, and Last-Chance Cinderellas”.
Geez, that’s a lot to grapple with on one tempo run!
The thing is, it’s work…works…worked…whatever. The run, though, well, that’s another story. Everything started out great. The legs turning over well, pace was a strong 5:00min/km (and less) after the first kilometer or so and then at the 6k mark…I died. Huh?
Maybe it was the heat today as this is the warmest it’s been all year (26°) so far (in fact, I’d chalk today up at the first day that really feels like summer) and I haven’t had to really contend with it yet. Maybe I just started out too hard…I dunno. There’s a lesson here I’m sure. All in all, six kilometers at a sub 5:00min/km isn’t that bad. Sure it would have been nice to hang on for the extra 10 minutes as I had originally intended but, hey, I have lots of time acclimate before July 2017.