Music for the Road

So as our trip draws near, it’s time to start thinking about auditory amusements for our adventure. As we’ve mentioned before, we’re big fans of music in general, and are always looking for new, interesting things to listen to.

What are these interesting tunes? We don’t know yet. We spend most of our days listening online to KEXP, the legendary indie music station in Seattle. But while we’re on the road, we won’t have the internet to help guide our way toward emerging music.

I look to this as an opportunity.
Due to the rockin’ influence of my mother, I have a rather extensive knowledge of pre-80’s music, and I’d have to say that I beat Anne in this respect. But beyond that, Anne’s got me beat. By a mile. I’m trying my best to keep up, but Anne is by far the greater music geek, and has a breadth of music knowledge I can only imagine. So stumping her will be a challenge for anyone who tries to take her on.

But this is where you come in. Impress her*! We have, I reckon, around 96 hours worth of driving to do. And while Anne’s ipod holds way more than that, we’d rather listen to what you listen to. We want to broaden our horizons, and we want to document our ability to see further here for you. So send us your mix cds, your mp3 playlists, a list of bands to check out, whatever. We need your help, because there’s only so much All Things Considered I can listen to (because it’s only on once a day).

But we don’t always want to be listening to cds and mp3s. Sometimes, though I can’t really speak for Anne, I want to hear the soothing, dulcet tones of a radio dj. Not, I repeat, NOT the loud, annoying, grating sounds of a commercial morning show announcer. No, I want the understated quality of the independent radio show. The ums and the dead air. I want a dj that sometimes forgets to put the cd on play. That plays the wrong thing, that plays a cd that skips and has to be replaced with something else. Why? Because then it’s more fun. Where will I find such a thing in Denver or St. Louis or Salt Lake City or San Francisco even?

We need your help. Send us your cds and/or suggestions! We only have 36 days before we leave!

*Impressing Anne is not limited to sending her stuff she’s never heard. She’s easily impressed.

P.S. As I am writing this, I am also listening to KEXP. And Troy is playing a band called the Laylights, from Denver, and they are good! See? This is what I want: great new music. And maybe the Laylights will be playing while we’re in Denver and we’ll be able to see them play.


~ by neoney on August 9, 2007.

17 Responses to “Music for the Road”

  1. okay dudes, so i’ve just spent some time checking out this site (again) and i can’t find your travel schedule……but i have to say that i’m VERY excited to hear that you’ll be visiting blue bottle coffee!!! (represent)

    when are you going to be in my hood (oakland)???


  2. Neil,
    I wil use the powers of my blog to enlist my fair readers to help you out.

  3. maddy,

    we commented back on the blog, when you originally wrote. we probably will be in SF/the bay area on September 25 or thereabouts. we definitely would love to see you, but will you have moved to Santa Cruz by then (my thoughts tend to yes)? We might make a diversion, cos I’ve always wanted to scope out that area. We shall see, and, of course, keep you posted.



  4. Thank You Jordi!

    I can use all the assistance I can get.

  5. Hello Katie Fans!

    I am eagerly anticipating your visit! I would like you to know that, in preparation for your arrival, I have joined the 21st Century. That’s right, I broke down and bought myself the full cable package, with on-demand HBO and everything. Weird, huh? I has already sucked about 2 hours out of my otherwise-potentially-productive life.

    In other news, the Columbia farmer’s market just about killed me yesterday. Zucchinis the size of your forearm for just 50 cents! Holy crap! I will be sure to have some delicious meal perfected for you two involving meat AND cheese (and maybe I’ll see if I can sneak some green veggies in there too).

    As for your auditory pleasure, will your car have a tape player? Or is that too antiquated for today’s rental cars? Probably. Well, if I can get a new computer before your arrival and suck all of my CDs onto it, perhaps I will have a mixed CD waiting for you too.


    PS-Do you have a tentative date for your Columbia visit? I’ll take one of my “personal days” and explore with you guys.

  6. Katie,

    First of all, we love you and can’t wait to rot our brains with you. We probably will be without television until Missouri!

    Our tentative full day date is September 19th. We’re going to a Cubs game on the 17th, then we’re going to jet from the windy city the morning of the 18th. We’ll probably taking a detour in there somewhere to meet the infamous (to this blog anyway) BJ Davis. Then we come find you!

    We plan on staying through the early morning of the 20th. We are so excited to eat and party with our newest Midwestern friend.

    I highly doubt a tape player will be involved, as we are most likely getting a Prius.

  7. Infamous? OK, I’ll take it.
    If you need lunch on the way down, I know I said drive past Lafayette, but you can stop there for beer and food. The Lafayette Brewing Company is a pretty good brewpub in the downtown area. It will take you about 20 minuets out of your way, but hey what is a good fresh brew worth anyway.

    By the by, Indy is 8hours from KC.


  8. Thanks for the suggestion, though I believe there’s a place we wanted to go on the way down from Chicago already called XXX burger, or something like that. We saw it on Food Network on one of their travel shows and decided we needed to try it. Of course, though, nothing has ever stopped me from having two lunches.

    How far is it (preferably staying off the highway) from Indy to Columbia, MO? That’s our stop that day.

  9. Two questions for Anne, one easy, one that shouldn’t be. What 3 classic rock songs have been written for Patty Boyd? (extra point for identifying her scene in A Hard’s Days Night) And what song was recorded by both Richie Havens and McKendrie Spring?

  10. The Rockin’ Mother can probably take me to the bank in terms of music trivia. Neil and I both have no idea what the answers to these questions are (I barely remember seeing A Hard Day’s Night), and we feel it’s cheap to look it up?

    I’m not really a music-trivia person, just my music gets so obscure it’s like I’m playing a trivia game with whoever listens with me.

    Such as… Music from a Japanese-sounding trio who actually are Americans.
    Such as… an Australian pop star that no one has heard of in the US.
    Such as… A russian immigrant who can play a set of stepladder and a piano at the same time!

  11. See, the thing about your whole road trip project is that it’s kind of knowing. It’s not about despair or flight or even ennui the way most great American “road” narratives are; instead, it’s measured, cautious, well planned. And yet the goal, if I’m understanding clearly, is that something will be revealed. I mean, you’re calling the blog ‘Road to Epiphany,’ fer Chrissakes.

    And you’re wondering about your identity as Big-A Americans (or, if you prefer, no-A ‘Mericans), hence the need to go searching for something. I appear here to belabor this point because it informs what you should be listening to, I think. If you’re hoping to discover authenticity, yet you’re going about it by such considered measures, well, those measures are going to shape the kind of authenticity you find. That doesn’t make it any less real, only different. Which is why you should listen to some fake country music.

    Country, like rock and punk and the blues et al, takes a kind of authenticity as its defining characteristic. Which, as we all know, is funny because Shania Twain or Toby Keith, aesthetically, have more in common with modern R&B/Top 40 than they do with the Carters or some other high-lonesome sounds. Which of course makes one wonder just what is it that makes something country; Trace Adkins had a pretty massive hit the other year with a song about that. And of course songs like these just have a fiddle here or there, or a little hint of twang, and that affected vocal pattern, but, apparently, that’s all you need since country is about identity. But, really, who’d want to be identified with that?

    So, again: Fake country.

    Take, for instance, The Mekons. How did an anarcho-punk collective from fucking Leeds move to Chicago and then put out Fear & Whiskey, the best country album (with a drum machine!) ever made by British ex-pats? Who the hell knows, but, listen to it, and, dang, it sounds right. It, apparently, may take an outsider to really get to the heart of things.

    (This is your goal, right?)

    Moving right along, have some Canadian fake-country (Neil Young The Band), some Louisville fake-country (Palace/Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince Whatever), some nashville fake country (Silver Jews), some Brooklyn fake country (Oakley Hall, named after the author of the great fake Western Warlock, a novel claimed as inspiration by little Tommy Pynchon and Dicky Farinia).

    Would I include Townes Van Zandt in this category? No. Despite being lumped in with most of the above under the alt-country heading, alt don’t mean fake, and Townes (and most of his Austin compadres) are a bit too real for these purposes. That said, Guy Clark’s “LA Freeway” might work, if only for its urban reality/rural dreams juxtaposition.

    There’s plenty of other stuff that comes to mind, but I think that’s a start. And, to be sure, I think for my own trip I’d include plenty of 60s/70s country rock (sure, Graham Parsons and the late-byrds, but c’mon people, show some love to Gene Clark and his earlier Byrds songs), maybe some real rustic old Alan Lomax-y recordings, the ecstatic Americana of late 80s Sonic Youth (and Pavement’s piss takes when that ecstasy reached its mid 90s nadir), some early singles by The Pastels (whose “Truck Train Tractor” is as good a road song as I can think of), Ornette Coleman’s Skies of America, the whole Royal Trux discography, and some other stuff I’m probably forgetting.

  12. […] 2007 The Epiphany Posted by Anne under Uncategorized  My dear dear friend James wrote us a legnthy comment to a previous post that I feel merits a post. Also, just hurry up and get “Not Ready to Make […]

  13. “How far is it (preferably staying off the highway) from Indy to Columbia, MO? That’s our stop that day.”

    Well it’s 3 hours to St. Louis and Columbia is about half way from there to KC so I am gonna say it will be 5 to 6 hours from Indy.
    That estimate is on I-70.

  14. Oh yeah, when I read that you were a food network junkie, I was going to say you should try the Triple X. I went to Purdue, and I grew up nearby, but I have never been to that place! My Dad always wanted to go to the Dog ‘n Suds drive in instead.

  15. Would you recommend the Dog ‘n Suds over the Triple X? I’m excited about the Triple X, but Food Network has a tendency to hype a restaurant which doesn’t really stack up (like, for example, when Rachel Ray went to Seattle, and had Ladro as an example of the best coffee in the city).

  16. I’m not exactly knowledgable about music by any means, but here are my offerings.
    There is one radio station in the St. Louis/Columbia, MO area that plays primarly rock/indie sans commericials, all the time. The music isn’t fantastic (that is not code for it sucks), but if you want to hear what all the kids are listening to, 93.3 FM (if you can pick it up; it’s broadcast from even more south than where I live) should be your choice.
    Secondly, I have a couple of albums that you may not be familiar with at this time, so feel free to visit me and steal off my computer/rip from my ipod once I get it all on there. You guys have very different tastes than I, but I’ll at least attempt to mix up for you 🙂

  17. I can’t speak for the Triple X since I haven’t been there, and Dog and Suds, well it has been 20 years at least since I have been there.
    As far as drive in dives go my fave now is in Indy. It is called Mug and Bun, and I think Guy F. needs to go there! I like the root beer and the onion rings!

    Go check out XXX they are in a interesting building, it was built into the hill. And hey, if the guy is grinding his own buger meat they have got to be good, right!

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