Vacation always takes a lot out of me. The travelling part is always the hardest, especially if you are stuck in a flying tube at 40,000 feet. I hate flying more than most people; luckily, the magic little box full of music kept my mind off of the flight.
1. “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” by Against Me!
While this song is not on my iPod yet, this might be one of the most important pieces of music in the new year so far. Laura Jane Grace’s semi-concept, all personal album about being trans* is one of the best punk albums of the last 10 years. The title track sets the tone for the whole album and hits close to home for me. Everyone should go buy this album now!
2. “Ophelia” by Natalie Merchant
My wife loves Natalie Merchant. We are going to see her this summer with the Seattle symphony. This song came up in the car when we were driving around New Mexico. I did not know how much I loved Natalie Merchant until recently. This song is both beautiful and haunting.
3. “N.I.B.” by Black Sabbath
I just recently had purchased Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman wrote one of my all time favorite pop culture books, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Reading about his passionate love of metal rekindled my love of Black Sabbath. I have been building a Sabbath playlist and this song might be my all time favorite Sabbath song.
4. “New Mexico’s No Breeze” by Iron and Wine
Obligatory song about New Mexico. I am trying to explore Iron and Wine more since my friend Maurice is so obsessed with them.
5. “Miéntele” by Los Bunkers
Shazam finally came through! I heard this song as we were walking by a bar in Old Town, Albuquerque. Apparently Los Bunkers are one of the most popular bands in Chile. Their biggest influences are the Beatles and the Kinks. I can see that. I also see that they sound similar to a White Stripes or the Strokes with their jangly garage sound.
6. “Dynamite” by The Roots
I rekindled my deep love for this band after reading Questlove’s amazing autobiography, Mo’ Meta Blues. I forgot how much I loved the album Things Fall Apart. This is probably one of the three best hip hop albums of all time. This track is just a fun one that gets me bobbing my head.
7. “Life During Wartime” by the Talking Heads
The Talking Heads are a band that I am sad I didn’t discover ’til I was 29. I do not know if my early 20s self could have understood why they are so awesome. I get it now. David Byrne is one of those really talented, supremely underrated musicians. He doesn’t get mentioned enough in the great lyricist conversations. Bonus points for the choreographed dance moves during a musical breakdown in this video.
8. “Mother” by Wye Oak
The first of two AV Undercover songs on this list. Wye Oak is a great band who is working on a new album! I love the original Danzig song. I think they nail this version.
9. “Party Hard” by Grouplove
Briefly mentioned in my music year in review, I am finally linking you to the awesomeness of this song. If anyone likes the original, you will find this one to be more in your face! I really appreciate how this song can translate into a nice acoustic version.
10. “A Night Out with Kanye West” by Aziz Ansari
I have learned that comedy helps me get through my flight anxiety. I listened to so much Aziz on my flight. This is one of the best Kanye West stories ever.
Do you have any favorite vacation songs? Music always brings back such strong memories for me. I could probably talk about different vacations based on the music that was listened to. At least this wasn’t a list about some of my car trips as a kid or y’all would have ended up with boatloads of Ronnie Milsap. Seriously, my parents loved that guy.