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Monday, August 19th, 2013 | Author: Casey Criswell

My running addiction continues and with it, my love of making mix tapes on Spotify continues! I spent a good couple months on this one, it was pretty fun all in all. Don’t let the name of it fool you though; I’m really not all that sad. It sounds pretty catchy though, doesn’t it?

The upbeat tunes do help a lot for speed, but I find the bigger fight on long runs is the mental fatigue. These mellow tunes have made a big difference in my ability to mellow out, tune out and churn out some miles. This is a godsend when you start to focus on the miles left to cover and you find yourself panicking and talking yourself out of being able to complete them!

Music wise, there’s not a whole lot new in here. If you can’t tell, I REALLY like Deer Tick. They’ve made it into a couple of my playlists. Iron and Wine’s latest album Ghost on Ghost is really solid so it made for a good fit. Brett Dennan is a newcomer to my playlists. His tunes range from up beat to laid back, but he’s got a good sound. I plan on putting his full album into more regular rotation. The other new comer is Cami Bradley, who you may recognize from America’s Got Talent. Her cover tunes have been really great on the show and when I went out to try and find more info, I stumbled across a full album from her on Spotify! The entire disk is not quite my cup of tea, (she’s still a great talent, don’t get me wrong) but “The Best for Me” is really great. I’d say she should bust it out in the Semi Finals on AGT!

Allrighty, until next time, enjoy some Sad Dad & the Can’t Be Glad’s.

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

I felt the need for another playlist, so here we are once more with “Oh God It’s After Me!” Or, OGIAM! as it’s known in certain circles, (Read: My Brain) is my scientifically formulated playlist made specifically for running!

“Wha…” you ask?

That’s right! Every song on this play list I tried to match up with somewhat similar sounds. More importantly however, OGIAM!’s tracks are all at or around 150bpm (or halved at 75bpm). What’s that mean to you? That means that if you pace yourself to the beats of the enclosed playlist while running, you’ll be clocking in at a 10 minute mile! I’ve tested this list today and while I didn’t clock a 10 minute mile since I was…um…taking it easy…it made for good listening and helped me keep consistent all the same!

This time around, I’ve left the beards and flannel behind for some indie rock/stoner rock/just plain old rock for a better pace. There’s even a classic or two in there in the form of The Police and Elvis Costello. Something for everybody! For myself, a former musician and professional marching band nerd, moving my bulk to the beat of a song is second nature, so this is a great way to push yourself out on the trail!

It made for a good playlist sonic-ally too, so there! Mix that with an excuse to take pictures while I’m outside and my upcoming race; this seemed like a Good Thing to Do. (TM)

Enjoy! Got some playlists of your own? Share em’!

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Friday, November 16th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

As a former musician, long time music geek and all around good listener…I’ve long been a fan of the mix tape. Since I started running this year, I find myself with long stretches of time with nothing but spotify and a pair of earbuds to occupy my brain space, so I started making play lists once again. Those playlists were random and wandering however, lacking focus and theme! Until a week or two back until my friend Mark sparked my imagination with his Sad Bastard Music themed mix, which in turn inspired my own Sad Bastard Music 2: A Bloo Hoo Hoo.

Turns out, I missed the art of making a good mix tape!

Turns out too, said mix tapes make for great listening when I’m out running! Not to mention…they make me want to run even more to hear the whole thing.

So below, you can check out my latest mix tape, “Songs of Love, Loss and Flannel”. It’s a mix of folky, alt-country type mellow tunes as that’s what I’ve been into here as of late. If you’re familar with that style of music, you’ll recognize a few names such as Glen Campbell and The Head and the Heart as well as a bunch of lesser known bands that I’ve been discovering and falling in love with like Dr. Dog, The Lumineers and Josh Ritter. All in all, it’s a pretty mellow mix and makes for good back ground noise when you’re cruising down the side of a country road in this blustery fall weather!

Enjoy! I’m having a lot of fun with this, so stay tuned for some more here in the near future! For that matter, if this gets your own gears turning, make sure you share you own lists with me on Spotify!

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Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

I first discovered Band of Horses with their 2007 album Cease to Begin. That was an album that sounded experimental, filled with haunting harmonies and a solid country/folk/rock sound. It hooked me pretty quickly as it made great back ground music for writing and those late nights when lying awake, unable to sleep. Over the past five years or so, my tendencies towards music have started to drift away from a lot of hard rock and punk and I began to be drawn to a lot of folk and alt-country. Still not ready to declare myself a fan of straight up country, (note: still not ready for that!) but Band of Horses fit in quite well with the new niche of music I was starting to enjoy quite a bit.

Despite enjoying Cease to Begin, I was still not a ‘die hard’ fan of Band of Horses. I’d throw them on from time to time, but they were never a band I would seek out to listen to repeatedly, as I do with some of my favorite bands such as The Old 97′s. In fact, I probably only listened to the band’s next album Infinite Arms two or three times at most. Digging through Spotify for new running tunes, I stumbled across their new release and added it to the play list and set out with open mind. In the end, I found myself enjoying the music, yet still seeing it as good background music by the time I was done.

Mirage Rock is a solid album but aside form the first single “Knock Knock” and two or three others late in the lineup, is packed full of slow melodies and ballads. These songs are still great; the harmonies are outstanding and contain the bands customary haunting sound. For me, I tend to enjoy the up beat alt-country sound that comes with the latter half of the album as the band’s rock roots come to the forefront and show us just how hard they’re able to rock. This isn’t to say I don’t like the slower paced songs mind you; I just happen to enjoy the southern rock sound that the band’s capable of more so and there’s just not as much of that.

Upon repeated listening, Mirage Rock is beginning to grow on me much like Cease to Begin did back in the day, which is a good, good thing. The final verdict? Definitely worth a listen.

You can check out the video for the first single “Knock, Knock” here!

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Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

There was a time in my life as I went through college and spent many long summer hours hanging out smoking cigarettes and playing hackey sack that Ben Folds Five were my constant companions. My friends like the band well enough, but I felt I really connected with Ben. His songs circled around thoughts that I too shared from time to time such as “Song for the Dumped” or “Jackson Cannery”. This connection lasted for many years, after a couple of live shows and all of the albums. Then the band faded away and Ben went solo and it just wasn’t the same for me.

But now they’re back. Ben Folds Five is back and I’m pretty damn happy about it.

Digging into “The Sound of the Life of the Mind” is a tentative experience at first. For a fan such as myself, you want to be overjoyed that one of your favorite bands are back yet, you want to be cautious in case that those fond memories look better through your rose colored glasses of nostalgia. Then after “Erase Me” is over you realize it’s a bit different for the band, but the talent’s still there and you warm up to the return and the excitement begins to build. Over the next few songs, this feeling of familiarity begins to grow and your toes start to tap and you begin to find yourself lost in the melodies and harmonies and you almost feel at home! And then, it happens: track 6, “Draw a Crowd” starts to hit your ear buds and the moment is complete. Ben Folds Five has returned and looking back over those previous five tracks, you realize they were back all along and all is well.

“The Sound of the Life of the Mind” is a solid return for the band though it takes a bit of time to realize it. From the middle of the disk on, you realize you’re in familiar territory and everything feels as comfortable as it once did. The album has a definite tone to it, one that starts out hopeful and grows into something that sounds near motivating right around the time that “Do It Anyways” hits. Then, the album turns a corner and the tone becomes a bit wistful and ends on a melancholic note that has a hint of sadness that leaves you feeling like you just took an emotional trip with the band, which is good. Because that’s exactly how it felt listening to Ben Folds Five back in the day.

While I’ve only given the disk one listen, I can say for sure that I’ll be back for several more.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the awesome trailer for the first single “Do It Anyway”! It’s got a great cast. Be sure to stay to the very end for nostalgia’s sake as well!

Saturday, January 29th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

Today I went for a walk. 4 miles later, it was the end cap of a banner 7 mile week.

If you’re like me, you get a little tired of talking to yourself around the 1.5 mile mark (I’m so moody, I’m no fun to talk to when I get in a mood). The best fix? Rock and or Roll of course! Thanks to a new music service I’m checking out, (feel free to take a gander at Rdio out yourself, it’s pretty awesome!) you can share in the aptly named playlist that pushed me on my adventures this week; “In the 90′s, When I was Cool”.

(Countdown to my old friends commenting with “You were cool in the 90′s?” begins in 3…2…1…)

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