Traveling Songs


Mar 10 2010, 3:48

I tend to build strong connections between songs and events in my life. This can happen for any number of reasons ranging from the obvious (song playing in the background when associated event occurred) to the obscure (slanted lyric matches to overheard conversation). Each time I travel there tends to become one or more songs that become the soundtrack of that trip. I recently traveled to San Francisco to attend the Noise Pop 2010 Festival (more on that in a later post), and there were two songs that clearly became the sound of my trip.

The white witch by A Sunny Day In Glasgow

One of the last records I purchased in 2009, I haven't had a chance to really give Ashes Grammar a close listen until recently. I like the record more and more every listen, and this track in particular is becoming a favorite. When it came on my MP3 player on the flight out to SF, I was really connecting with the dreamy vocals and instrumentation and how they are matched up with some very energetic drum work. This is the perfect sound for walking around the streets of San Francisco. These guys are not at all what you expect from a Philadelphia band, I have to grab some more of their stuff.

The Machine Will Tell Us So by Papercuts

When I travel, I like to load up one of my MP3 players with albums by artists from the city or region I am visiting. I this case I had one of my Sana Clips loaded with Bay Area musicians. Papercuts have the distinction of being the only major artist discovery I have made at a show in my new town of Rochester. They opened for Camera Obscura and I enjoyed the set so much I walked back from the South Wedge with a vinyl copy of their newest record. I love the organ in this track. It has a sound right out of the classic Psychedelic era. This is a great little dreamy, shoegazey track, and the perfect sound for a sunny afternoon by the Bay. I was really hoping these guys would play noise pop. Hopefully they will next year, and hopefully I am able to make it out again.

Writing this post has made me think back on several past trips, and the songs that go with them

Art Decade by David Bowie (Orange Bowl Trip January 2006)

I was deep into the Berlin Trilogy when I went on this trip. I was waking up every morning 1-2 hours before everyone else and I would listen to side 2 of Low over and over again while I read. I particularly associate Art Decade with this trip as a result.

Airlane by Gary Numan (Brisol, UK March 2006)

I remember waking on the the plane, downing a cup of coffee and complimentary donut stick thing, and listening to the cold mechanical instrumental introduction to Numans 1980 classic, The Pleasure Principle. Since then, I've always queued up some Tubeway Army or Numan solo when I touch down in the UK.

Rainstorm Blues by Flying Saucer Attack(Outback Bowl Trip 2007)

How did the ambient noise that comprises the first track of Further become the soundtrack of chilling on the hammock by the Gulf of Mexico. I have no idea, but the link will always exist in my mind.

The Good, The Bad And The Queen by unnamed Damon Albarn project (London Feb 2007)

I was obsessed with this album during my first London trip. I probably listened to it from beginning to end 20 times, and the title track many more times by itself. Hard to get more London that this record and it was the perfect fit. The next time I visited (July 2007) I saw them play the whole album in the moat of the tower of London.

Separate Beds by Squeeze (Denver October 2008)

After years of waiting, the special edition of Argybargyfinally saw release. The whole record got some serious plays during the trip, but this forgotten classic (which doesn't appear on any of the greatest hits comps for some unknown reason) got the most plays of all. What does it have to do with me.

Stay Alive by The Pains of Being Pure At Heart (Chicago July 2009)

Walking from the Antlers performance after it was over, I could hear the drums of this song clearly through the trees. As I walked closer to the other stage the song slowly took shape and became the defining song of my Pitchfork Music Festival experience.


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