Road Trip

I made a list of a few of my favorite road trip songs for the main NPR music site. You can check that out here.

Just curious, have any of you started driving less on account of gas nearing $4 a gallon? Here in Oregon, the usually crowded coastal rental market has slowed due to people not wanting to spend the money to get there. And those music festivals we discussed in the last post tend to be a ways out of town. So, gas prices are certainly a consideration.

Maybe I should have made a walking or bicycling list instead of a driving one.
(Though I tried biking with an iPod once and found it too dangerous.)

Drives or no drives, have a great Memorial Day weekend.



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Thank you for introducing me to Music Go Music. At a time when I can't stop listening to Astro Zombies over and over so I can chant "Exterminate the whole human race". I really needed a turn towards the brighter side.

Sent by myc | 12:58 PM | 5-23-2008

Since I don't have an iPod, choosing my road trip CD's is a delicate business. I need a healthy mix of familiarity and the unknown. I need to stay alert, stay focused, and I have to know some of the music inside and out, the kind of music I can sing along to with the windows rolled down traveling 80 miles an hour. I'm also traveling into the unknown, even if it's a road I've traveled a hundred times, so new music is a must, music that I can spend hours getting to know like a new friend. Point's A and B on any journey are just the beginning and the end. Everything in between is what makes the trip worthwhile.

Sent by Nick L. | 1:17 PM | 5-23-2008

Wow, did ABBA change their name to Music Go Music? And I mean that in a good way, I'm loving this song like I love Waterloo or Mamma Mia. Good choice. Thanks (yet again) for the indirect recommendations!

Sent by nikki | 1:25 PM | 5-23-2008

ohhh what great timing carrie as I am about to embark on a road trip next week! Thanks!

Sent by emily | 1:31 PM | 5-23-2008

Sorry for the second post (I seem to be doing that a lot on your blogs lately), but I jumped the gun and commented before I read past the road trip mix (Music Go Music are now my new must-have). I drive nowhere but to work and back unless I absolutely have to. I stay in most of the time, but staying in has its advantages. I'm writing a lot more and I have time to listen to more music.

Sent by Nick L. | 1:49 PM | 5-23-2008

Definitely have cut back on driving and am looking into alternative modes of transportation at this point. Even though my commute is about 12 miles, a bike is looking pretty tempting right now.

Sent by Joseph | 2:34 PM | 5-23-2008

If you want to listen to music while biking, I highly recommend getting one of these:

Bike to Beach Bicycle Speaker for iPod

They're not too loud to disturb others, but since they face up towards the rider, you can ride and rock quite nicely. Biking to My Morning Jacket is particularly delightful.

Sent by Hannah Levin | 2:42 PM | 5-23-2008

Biking with an ipod is made safer by removing one earbud, preferably on the traffic side. But only a little safer.

Sent by sarcozona | 3:30 PM | 5-23-2008

it's 3.93 to 3.99 here in the cleve.

i need a car for my job but thankfully i'm there and back in about 25 miles. i funnel as many day-off errands into one day as often as possible. as a whole, i've limited my driving over the last year.

sheesh, i'm old enough to remember when it was under a $1.00.

Sent by Jason M. | 3:58 PM | 5-23-2008

I take the train to work now even though it isn't as convenient as driving. Much more relaxing however.

Sent by brian | 4:58 PM | 5-23-2008

Actually this post reminds me that I always wondered how come Sleater-Kinney came to work with The Go-Betweens. Maybe you would consider writing something about that some time?

Sent by Julia | 5:15 PM | 5-23-2008

When I was 12, I placed my walkman tape player in my Huffy's water bottle holder, and duct taped two speakers onto my handle bars. This solved the danger of "riding and listening" for me.

Pioneering? Maybe. Cool? Definitely not.

Sent by Angela | 5:36 PM | 5-23-2008

premium gas is 3.89 over here in austin. in general i don't drive too much, just to school and back mostly, so it only sucks when i need to fill up.

i was thinking about biking to school next year, so i'm gonna look into that bike to beach speaker.

Sent by Lauren | 6:13 PM | 5-23-2008

Having suffered originally from growing up in a Texas town, I think it's safe to say that Portland is a great place to be experiencing these rising gas costs (read: it's way easier to bike around).

There was an interesting article (and by interesting, I mean the headline, since I haven't read it yet) on CNN about SUVs possibly becoming "endangered." I think that claim a bit of a stretch with prices at $4, but once it goes up a couple more dollars, I think there's a good chance that car demographics in the U.S. will change drastically.

But for now, I think a lot of people are either complaining more or just going to cheaper gas stations, like ARCO, not really altering their driving habits.

Sent by Natalie in PDX | 9:32 PM | 5-23-2008

Upon moving to Seattle from San Diego I have found my car to be practically useless. The public transit system here is simply amazing in comparison to a virtually useless bus system in SD. My Ipod has sure gotten a workout this last 9 months.

That being said, when I was completely dependent on my car on a perfect southern california day, I found Sun,Sun, Sun by The Elected to be the perfect complement to long drives along the pacific coast highway.

Sent by Kyle | 11:32 PM | 5-23-2008

I tend to listen to the types of music which are not easily tucked into the background, which demand attention either through vocal or tonal dissonance. That said, in the car I need something which I can tuck into the background, to which I may relax while still devoting adequate attention to the road. Generally this means older music which is well-worn (seasoned) to my ears such as Soundgarden's "Burden in my hand" or The Smashing Pumpkins' "1979."

Sent by Scott Lindstrom | 5:56 AM | 5-24-2008

Sorry, but you road trip stuff gave me a headache. Absolute crap, and I don't mean that in a good way. Perhaps next you could do a list of songs for the loo. But then I'd probably see the same songs, huh?

Like different kinds of music than the ones on the road trip mix? Check out these other mixes I made instead.



The Underdogs

If you don't like ANY of the bands or songs on these other mixes then I guess we just have different taste in music.


Sent by J. Masters | 9:13 AM | 5-24-2008

Biking with and iPod is okay if you stay off-road, or on light traffic areas. However, you MUST be very, very familiar with the route.

Sent by Chort | 11:51 AM | 5-24-2008

Living near the St. John's bridge and considering a job near PDX (the airport, not the city); though I've biked it before, gas prices / ungodly shift time have me weighing a move (not waiting for a new Max line on Lombard St., like Valdimir and Estragon, for Godot.)

The 4 a.m. hour of my out-going commute might lend itself to bike-bound iPoddery, but several 'possums paving the road this week, w/ their bodies, illustrated why that's a bad idea.

Thank you for raising the issue, because that might soon be--if it isn't already--as illegal as driving in Ca. with a cellphone to your head (Kennedyesque tumor-causer?)

Also banned in: Australia Austria Belgium Brazil Chile China Czech Republic Denmark Egypt Finland France Germany Greece Hong Kong Hungary India Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jordan Netherlands Philippines Poland Russia Singapore South Africa Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom Connecticut Brooklyn Ohio District of Columbia New Jersey New York Quebec Labrador Newfoundland.

It still may be legal here, but is a major liability exposure, including for your employer if you're on the clock. One assumes this goes for pilots and crop-dusters, too.

Sent by nsf | 12:07 PM | 5-24-2008

I mean, not because of the prices, but we're now a one-car family. Neither of us drive, unless it's to go to Seattle or Vancouver (or the rare trips to Portland). We fill up about once every two months. I don't know if that's good for a car, but that's what's what. I telecommute and my baby teaches at the university twice a week and buses it. We're happy walkers mostly.

Sent by Elizabeth | 12:48 PM | 5-24-2008

Yesterday, to celebrate the pasture-placated drive back to my summer domicile, I slowed down to a plodding 55 from speed limit of 70, which by the unwritten law of the 5 mph margin is actually 75. Which saved the rattling old Camry a whopping 10 mpg, according to a sonorous NPRerian guru. While this imbued me with a snotty sense of self-righteousness, I must admit I felt more shaken than usual when the Brakes-are-out! semis tore past.
& yes. Next weekend I must begrudgingly repeat the ordeal. The most frustrating part is there are Amtrak stations at both starting and finishing points. Too bad the lines fail to connect.

Sent by Zia | 8:35 PM | 5-24-2008

My wife and I limit our driving as much as we can these days. Though I truly do miss just jumping in the car, and driving aimlessly through the country (live in TN, so plenty of rural area to drive in). As far as music for the drive, I tend to stick with stuff I know and love, songs I can sing along with and rock the air guitar whilst driving!

Sent by SJB | 5:33 AM | 5-25-2008

I'm fortunate to have just landed a job where I walk 10 min. to the bus stop and ride for 10 min. to the destination. I'm trying hard to avoid driving unless absolutely needed.

That being said, driving music for me generally involves one of two types. The melodic (but not sleepy) that I can sing along to, and the kickin' upbeat that gives me energy. So, maybe Blonde on Blonde by Nada Surf and Here's Your Future by The Thermals.

Sent by setya | 1:21 PM | 5-25-2008

Hey Carrie, I was at Evergreen the same time you were. Now I live in Italy where I run my own cooking school. Last year I rode my bike from Sicily to Puglia over the course of a month and everyone that I stopped and talked with just assumed I was biking it because of the expense of gasoline. The reality was that I was researching Southern Italian wine for an upcoming wine school I'm opening next year. You can read about it here.
Thanks for the great music!
Silvestro Silvestori
Lecce, Italy

Sent by Dott Silvestro Silvestori | 10:50 PM | 5-25-2008

Music Go Music's Gala Bell on "Light Of Love"

What's this song about?
"Light Of Love" is about the redemptive power of love. It was inspired by my love for Kamer, my common-law husband, and the way he makes me feel.

Why are you doing a series of vinyl releases?
Vinyl is more special than a CD. We hope these songs are more special in the same way. When you put a record on the turntable, the magic happens more readily. It is an event.

Your press release proudly touts Abba and ELO comparisons. How did those bands shape you as songwriters?
Their music is visual, and it funks. These are great things for a song to do!

How do people react at concerts when they first hear you?
They smile and jive. They look like nostalgic children.

(I think I'm in love.)

Sent by Claire | 3:03 AM | 5-26-2008

Hi, I'm from Brazil and the short time I was fan of Sleater-Kinney. I think the songs fantastic! For curiosity, I found you here. I love much of his bands and tips on everything you write here. Congratulations!

Sent by Jo??o Ricardo Zugliani | 9:40 AM | 5-26-2008

My band went on a little mini-tour this weekend and, even though we have a fairly new and fuel-efficient van, gas prices killed us. It's making me consider touring less, which is a really sad thought.

Sent by JJ Hellgate | 9:50 PM | 5-26-2008

First thing I did on Saturday was go to Waterloo Records to buy Music Go Music's Light of Love. It hasn't left my record player all weekend. Thank YOU!

Sent by esme | 10:31 PM | 5-26-2008

Yeah I thought Music Go Music sounded alot like ABBA too. I really liked it. It'd be a good music score song also....

Sent by Marissa Dailey | 7:15 AM | 5-27-2008

OBTW "Seed of Memory" by Terry Reid! My pick of road trip song. hee hee haha

Sent by Marissa Dailey | 7:35 AM | 5-27-2008

I have a 22 mile commute from Hector, NY into Ithaca. I take the bus at least 3 times a week which saves me much money. I use my iPod, but noise canceling headphones are a must to cut out the bus's rumble.

Sent by | 9:15 AM | 5-27-2008

As far as gas prices are concerned, I've considerably cut back on the amount of driving I've done in the past 3-4 months. It's killing my social life, since I live in Indiana where everything is at least 20 miles away from anything else, but it's saving me money. Also, I should be buying a new car in the next few months but I'm now really thinking about just buying an old moped & a bike and making that my way of transportation.

Road trip music for me is usually a mix of old Styx songs (great for air-synth!), Sleater-Kinney, a variety of new metal bands I haven't heard yet, and a lot of up-beat music to keep me going.

I definitely loved everything on the mix!

Sent by stephanie | 12:24 PM | 5-27-2008

High gas prices are the perfect excuse for telecommuting on Fridays (or any other day, if possible).

And the best road trip song is "Moving Right Along".

Sent by Brian A. | 1:19 PM | 5-27-2008

I guess we have some music in common after all...the Monitormux mix is right up my ally....thanks for taking the time to reply to my petty jab....cranky before my coffee....

Sent by J. Masters | 4:56 PM | 5-27-2008

i am lucky i can work from home sometimes so i listen to what i want and don't spend money on gas for a car. I have never had a car- or a license even. Cars always seemed very wasteful to me.
I love LA, for instance, but i hate that cars are so needed there. I didn'r have one either. I got very fit. Dropped something in the neighborhood of 20- 25 lbs, but didn't look sickly. just had felt strong, but it became such an issue to go anywhere too far from Santa Monic- where I lived and worked. It really is a shame how much we rely on cars and I know some people- depending on where thye live have no choice.
I have kept myself in cities that don't require a car. Boston, SF, NY- where I am now. It is such a shame to me that so few cities offer a decent public transportation system.
SUVs have always been a ridiculous choice for most people. I don't know what to say. If you love your car that much, you have to pay you have to pay the price. We have all been paying the environmental price for years. come on people. think!

Sent by Al | 6:02 PM | 5-27-2008

$4 a gallon is cheap compared to most of the 'developed world'. Consider yourself lucky!

Sent by Nat | 5:43 AM | 5-28-2008

I definitely try and drive less. My lease is up in my house in July and one of the things I was looking for in a new place was living in a house or apartment that was in walking distance to my job. Not just because gas is expensive, but also parking in my town is a pain. While gas is expensive, I also find that sometimes driving somewhere is cheaper than flying. Airline tickets are expensive, and sometimes its $200+ cheaper for me to drive somewhere than to fly. My car gets like 33/mpg. I just feel badly for bands who are on tour right now, especially unsigned bands or bands who don't have much notoriety and get screwed over for money or have 4 people at their shows.

Sent by Janice Second | 1:44 PM | 5-28-2008

If I may combine a comment for both this post and the "Festival Fever"...

I have been going to a music festival in Western Illinois for the past 5 years. It's sick how I usually would plan and shop the whole year around this one week; I'm not only compulsive but also obsessive. But this year I will not be going to my favorite festival because not only can I not afford the drive but neither do a lot of my favorite bands. I think instead I'll be saving up for Austin City Limits that's the end of September. You should go to that one, it's easy to get around, I know plenty of free places to stay, and I feel like it's not quite as dirty. Hopefully I'll see you there.

Sent by katie j | 6:07 PM | 5-28-2008

I love riding my bike with my iPod, but I ride well out of the city and don't have the volume on high. It's a great way to ruminate about, well, mostly band influences. And I always ride faster when Sleater-Kinney comes on! (Abba too.) I hear Portland, etc. is an awesome place to be a cyclist. Enjoy it!

Sent by Zoe | 11:21 PM | 5-28-2008

I spent the last week down in Washington state at the Sasquatch Music Festival, and was shocked to see how LOW gas prices are. I'm from an oil-producing part of Alberta, an oil-producing province, and we're still paying $4.88 per gallon.

Sent by James | 4:07 PM | 5-29-2008

As is briefly mentioned in Carrie's post, gas prices are horrendous these days, keeping more than a few of us off the road and away from our uniquely American urge to travel the country by car. Be that as it may, for those of us that enjoy a good road trip and find it difficult to imagine one with out good music in accompaniment, here are my thoughts and suggestions.

First and foremost, realize that your music choice is highly subjective (based mostly upon personal taste and experience). What is good for me may not be good for you, and vice versa. Personally, I choose mine using two criteria; first, necessity, second, theme. Necessity works like this: If I know I am going to be driving late at night, alone, and the urge to either chain-smoke or fall asleep at the wheel is going to be nagging at my psyche, I go with something high-energy, engaging, and entertaining. For me, that means the Misfits, Queen, or, if I am feeling really angsty, some NWA or Public Enemy. On the other hand, if I know I'll be driving a long distance through beautiful country with at least one other person in the car, I may throw on something more smooth, with a broad musical landscape to it. For me that means Air, Tindersticks, or Portishead.

Next is theme. By theme, I mean do a little background research on where it is you'll be travelling. If you're headed to the Pacific Northwest, dig around in your local record shop for labels/bands from the region, do some downloading, and see what you find appealing. You'll find that in many ways you can mentally capture a mindset of that region, an undercurrent that you may have never experienced any other way, all before you even arrive at your destination. I actually stumbled upon the entire genre of alt-country this way the last time I travelled through the South, and man, did THAT ever rock my trip. Anyhow, this is how I roll, and I've found it to be a great way to enrich any road trip.

Sent by Ryan | 11:31 AM | 6-2-2008

I've definitely been driving less myself; unless I need my car for work (or it's pouring down rain), I've been biking everywhere. Definitely one of the benefits of our town.

But yeah, I canceled a trip to SF in favor of visiting friends in Corvallis mostly because of gas prices. It sucks, but really only because income isn't increasing on par with cost of living; we still pay way less per gallon than most other western countries...

Sent by todd | 5:52 PM | 6-3-2008


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