Friday, December 31, 2021

Mick's Töp 15 Albums of 2021


2021 was an interesting year. It cleared the lowest bar possible of being better than 2020, but still was another year of adjusting to whatever the “new normal” is supposed to be. I work from home and do have a job that I love, but the monotony of not leaving my house basically ever has surfaced more moments of existential dread than I typically like to allow in one calendar year. My wife and our two cats have continued to be my foundation. Having each other has certainly meant the world in navigating through these weird times. I fell deeper into some hobbies which mostly were video game related (shocker, I know) but the tradeoff was that I wrote about music less. Durf really put the team on his back by coming up with the Durf’s Weekly Workout column, but it was personally a slow year around these parts. All in all, 2021 was like beating Dark Souls (which was also something I did for the first time this year); there were plenty of moments that felt like I was beating my head against the wall, but seeing it through was ultimately worth it. And since I didn’t write a ton this year, please allow me to word vomit a bit about the albums that carried me through.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Durf's Töp 15 Albums of 2021

Yeesh, what a year.  Yeah, I know, I say that pretty much every year, but this year I mean it.  In the span of really ten short months, the Durfette and I welcomed the Durfling 2, I got a promotion at work, the Durfette got a new job, we both decided we wanted to get the fuck out of Idaho, I got a new job, we sold our house, bought a new house, moved to Tennessee, and that's just off the top of my head.  It's been a year.  Not to mention that until shit got real bonkers around August/September, I managed to actually write something nearly every week for this her blog, which was a lot of fun.  I'd love to be able to tell you that Durf's Weekly Workout will make a triumphant return sometime soon, but I can't commit to that, and I just can't lie to you terrific folks.  The new job takes a lot of my time and energy, and I'm still trying to figure out how to make sure my family doesn't get shortchanged, and until I do, I need to do other things than tell you how wicked lifting to Suffering Hour is (it's pretty fuckin' wicked though).  But hopefully it will be back at some point.  But for now, let's talk about sixteen albums from this year that were phenomenal.  I listened to more music this year than potentially any year previous, so you know these sixteen are the choicest of choice cuts.  As always, the amount written about any album does not speak to my thoughts or feelings about it; that's what the numbers are for.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Tom's Töp 15 Albums of 2021

2021 was another year in the Covid-19 abyss, one that I had the displeasure of experiencing myself a few weeks ago, with minimal issues luckily. It is an ever-present threat to getting things back to as normal as humanly possible, lurking around every corner, making its presence known. Unlike the majority of 2020, 2021 saw the return of many live shows, including my foray back to them in the form of the Philadelphia portion of Decibel's Metal and Beer Fest back in September. My family and job helped form the foundation of the year as did my ongoing series of Heavy Metal Happy Hours that I run weekly on Zoom, if you were a part of even one of them, just know you have helped me, and I certainly hope it has helped you too. So anyway, a little less about me and more about the music that made 2021 pop, this is a veritable cornucopia of the year with everything from hardcore to goth, death and thrash metal as well. It accurately reflects my spastic sense of music and reality.

Friday, October 1, 2021

All We Love, We Leave Behind : The Töp's Monthly Playlist, September 2021

It's been a fairly quiet month around here at the Töp, at least in terms of blog activity. Durf has been navigating a cross-country move while Mick and Tom have been all to busy sulking over the horrid starts to their Chicago Bears and New York Giants' seasons. With no energy left to give, there were no squabbles about stolen tracks this time around. Hopefully, October will see them being more at each other's throats once again.

As a reminder of what this post is all about : Affectionately named after the Converge album, this monthly post will feature a collaborative playlist pinpointing tracks from this year that have been in heavy rotation for us. You may see some end up on our year-end lists. Some you won't. But rest assured they'll make for some eclectic listening. We'll try to keep the tracks as recent as possible, but you can at least bank on them being from this current year. Each of us will present 6 tracks because three 6s = well... you know.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Durf's Weekly Workout # 29: September 17th, 2021

Well, today's the day.  As you're reading this, the Casa de Durf is officially on the market to be sold.  This was obviously the plan as soon as the Durfette and I decided to move, and we have been working hard on getting things cleaned and ready for showings, as well as decluttering, donating and getting rid of things we don't want to take with us, and generally just condensing as much of our life into cardboard boxes as we can.  It has been more than a little stressful, slightly more challenging than I anticipated, and, sometimes, just a slight bit of fun, too (mainly because of the power washer.  If you ever - EVER - have the opportunity to power wash anything, fucking do it).  But now the house is on the market, and hopefully it will be sold before too long, and then we'll move away and in all realistic likelihood never see it again.  And the other day, as I was mowing the lawn for perhaps the last time, I got a little nostalgic.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Durf's Weekly Workout # 28: September 10, 2021

Well shit, that was a larger break than I anticipated.  A whole bunch of THINGS HAPPENING converged around my life over the past month, culminating in my taking an extended hiatus from lifting, and then from writing about said lifting.  Which is ok, because as much as I love working out, and the centering effects it has, sometimes you just gotta sleep after a crazy day/week/month.  Basically, the Durfette and I made the decision a couple months ago that we were going to leave Idaho, and that we should do it sooner than later. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

All We Love, We Leave Behind : The Töp's Monthly Playlist, August 2021

I can already hear the masses asking "what track did the Töp fight over for their August playlist?!" Well, this month did not disappoint as there were TWO track disputes. Durf and Tom duked it out over Hooded Menace with Durf emerging the victor while Mick snuck in to claim Møl, leaving Durf a bit salty (despite him already having a Deafheaven track!). We all see the common thread here, right? Durf came out swinging this month. That figure of speech about having your cake and eating it too comes to mind.

As a reminder of what this post is all about : Affectionately named after the Converge album, this monthly post will feature a collaborative playlist pinpointing tracks from this year that have been in heavy rotation for us. You may see some end up on our year-end lists. Some you won't. But rest assured they'll make for some eclectic listening. We'll try to keep the tracks as recent as possible, but you can at least bank on them being from this current year. Each of us will present 6 tracks because three 6s = well... you know.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Durf's Weekly Workout # 27: August 6th, 2021

I teased this a couple weeks ago, and at the time, my choice to extol the virtues of the greatest pop song ever written was absolutely the correct one.  But now, my friends, the time has come, as this is obstensibly a blog about music and working out, which means we can't ignore or avoid it anymore.  It's time to talk about stretching.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Durf's Weekly Workout # 26: July 30th, 2021

A sixty hour work week, late (for me) nights, 2am workout wake ups, 100 degree temperatures, smokey skies, both Durflings out of nowhere deciding that sleep is for suckers, yard work, consults with professionals about additional yard work, and quite honestly a little bit of poor time management all conspired together to make this blog post an exercise in persistence to just finish.  Which is probably a good lesson about perseverance, but I'm probably grasping there.  Either way, this is probably the shortest Durf's Weekly Workout yet, and I deeply, deeply apologize to the amazing bands below who deserve so much more than I was able to give them this week.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

All We Love, We Leave Behind : The Töp's Monthly Playlist, July 2021

AWLWLB has made it to its second iteration. Huzzah! However, not all is well in paradise. As you'll learn from the description of the first track, having three cooks in the kitchen is not without its consequences. As Durf put it in a group chat of ours : "I love the acrimony these posts produce." Perversely, this may be the fuel that keeps the fire of this monthly post going.

As a reminder of what this post is all about : Affectionately named after the Converge album, this monthly post will feature a collaborative playlist pinpointing tracks from this year that have been in heavy rotation for us. You may see some end up on our year-end lists. Some you won't. But rest assured they'll make for some eclectic listening. We'll try to keep the tracks as recent as possible, but you can at least bank on them being from this current year. Each of us will present 6 tracks because three 6s = well... you know.