The Cross Country Road Trip Soundtrack

One simply cannot drive cross country without meaningful music to set the tone every day. Below is a collection of the tracks that got me through the 4,200 mile drive from New York to New Orleans, across to Southern California and up to San Francisco. This is largely an indie rock and old school hip-hop compilation, with no shortage of Modest Mouse tracks sprinkled throughout. I added some stories from the trip and assorted morsels below as well.  Press play!

Sylvan Esso – Hey Mami – I’ll admit, this wasn’t the first song i added to the list, but it’s the perfect opening track. It builds immaculately and sets the stage for Sylvan Esso’s incredible debut album. Do yourself a favor and peep the whole album here.

Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener  – Man…i love this girl. Think of her as the Aussie Sharon Von Etten, but not as melodramatic. Courtney, who’s voice is eerily reminiscent of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval,  has a penchant for the playful and Avant Gardener is deliciously addictive.

Wye Oak – Logic of Color – I was a skeptic of a Wye Oak album without guitars, but they pulled it off. Jenn Wasner’s voice is just too good.

Clipse – Hello New World – I was in bumper to bumper traffic at midnite coming out of Washington DC on night 1 of the drive and this jam came on when i was stopped under a bridge. I jacked up the volume and lowered my window, only to be outdone by some dude bumping Pharell’s “Happy” :-/

Gang Starr – Mass Appeal  – One of my favorite old school beats.

Modest Mouse – Gravity Rides Everything – Thus begins a long drive for someone with nothing to think about…..

Sylvan Esso – Coffee – This was the first song i added to the list. It was the jam of the trip. I pretty much started every single day listening to it. It’s perfect and this band rules. Get on it!

Led Zeppelin – Going to California – Cause after all, that’s where i was going.

Kid Ink – Hello World – Shouts to my family at GrungeCake Magazine! They did a bomb video interview with Kid Ink that just made me wanna throw this on and it got me super pumped up.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message – Timeless

Salt-N-Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex – I always laugh thinking how much this song would make my Mom cringe.

Damon Albarn – Lonely Press Play – “I did a record for me” — Damon Albarn. Killer track.

Sun Kil Moon – Ben’s My Friends – My favorite track on Sun Kil Moon’s BRILLIANT new record, Benji.

Courtney Barnett – History Eraser – More from Courtney Barnett. Peep the record here. 

The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure – Spoiler alert. This is my favorite album of the year so far. It’s the evolution of American rock and roll paying respect to the sound of it’s beginnings. I love everything about this band, this song and this album. 

Givers – In My Eyes  – When i arrive at a new destination, i always like to throw on music from a local band. Givers met my Louisiana fix.

The National – Mr. November – This was the first song that came on as i hit the highway leaving New Orleans and i sang it at the top of my lungs. Felt like 2 hours had gone by before i knew it.

The Preatures – Is This How You Feel? Some new bumps that were super smooth

Modest Mouse – A Life of Arctic Sounds – Shouts to my buddy Paul who quoted this song when i tweeted out a pic of hitting the 2000 mile mark.

Sublime – Garden Grove (Live Acoustic) – The Bradley Nowell & Friends Acoustic record is an all-time favorite.

Cloud Nothings – Now Hear InThis album rules and this song jacks me up!

Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick – The Show – One of the greatest B-sides of all-time. I giggle every time i hear Slick Rick refer to himself as “MC Ricky D”

CHVRCHES – Lungs – Can’t get enough of CHVRCHES

Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute – One of the best bands in the world.

LL Cool J – Going Back to Cali – Cause i was…

Disclosure ft. London Grammar – Help Me Lose My Mind – Disclosure + Hannah Reid = Swoon.

Interpol – PDA – Interpol > The Strokes.

Smif-N-Wessun – Bucktown – Classic, classic, classic

Atmosphere – Free or Dead – One of the greatest car songs ever.

Modest Mouse – Spitting Venom – There’s something special about listening to Modest Mouse on a long road trip. Maybe it’s because so much of their music is inspired by the roads of America.

Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor – This gave me a good energy boost on a long stretch of Texas road.

The War on Drugs – Red Eyes – What a single.

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – Little Fang – Animal Collective’s Avey Tare is really bringing it on his new project and this track takes the cake.

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) – Great hip-hop beat or greatest hip-hop beat?

Doug E. Fresh ft. Slick Rick – Ladi Dadi – So much of hip-hop owes itself to this track. It created a style, an approach, and attitude and so much more.

Tune-Yards – Wait For A Minute – My favorite song on the new record. She doesn’t try too hard on it and it’s one of the best new tracks of the year.

San Fermin – Sonsick – All kinds of yes.

Interpol – Evil  – See above comment regarding Interpol.

Mac Demarco – Chamber of Reflection – Mac Demarco makes so much more sense when you realize how chill wave he is.

Real Estate – Talking Backwards – Try and locate a recording of the acoustic version Real Estate did live on SiriusXMU and thank me later.

Slick Rick – Hey Young World  – MC Ricky D FTW!

Das Racist – Rainbow In The Dark – Ok…i’ll give it up to Das Racist now. Dudes are clever as hell.

Jessy Lanza – 5785021 – I love this girl. One of my favorite recent discoveries and seeing her in SF the night before i take off for Hawaii. Yes please.


May the road of the future yield as much wonderful music for you as it did for me! One love.


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