Audiophiles: Your fall road trip playlist
With fall break rapidly approaching, people are finalizing their plans for the long weekend. There will be a great migration of students who choose to drive (or take the Amtrak) up to Chicago; so, with that in mind, here are some albums to help fill the five-hour commute (or five-and-a-half-hour train ride) to the Windy City.
“Lewis Del Mar” – Lewis Del Mar
Lewis Del Mar’s debut and self-titled album remains their best, albeit only, album. This LP, dubbed “electro-urban-Latin-folk” by Lewis Del Mar member Max Harwood, blends elements from each member of the duo’s lives. If electro-urban-Latin-folk doesn’t make much sense to you, let me explain; listen to a folk song, add some elements from salsa and calypso music, put that fusion over a strong percussive beat then ornament that with the occasional electric-industrial breakdown. The album features love songs, lust songs, songs about living in New York and songs about passing through life. Lewis Del Mar has a unique and incredible sound, and their self-titled album is one that I’ll never get sick of listening to.
“Coast Modern” – Coast Modern
From one amazing self-titled album to another, Coast Modern is another duo with an inventive sound. This indie-pop album has an incredible range to it, but each song can be scientifically designated as a bop. The songs range from fun and upbeat to slower and softer, all having powerful beats infused throughout. My personal favorite song on the album, “Wild Things,” perfectly combines the strumming of an acoustic guitar with electric synth sounds over a solid drumbeat. It, like the entire album, comes together to create an incredible listening experience. The album is above else, fun to listen to. It is incredibly easy to make your way through it, and often, after it ends, I find myself surprised that it’s over.
“Chronovision (Deluxe)” – Oberhofer
Next up on my list of recommendations is “Chronovision” by Oberhofer. I do have to mention that this album tends to be an acquired taste. After some time, I made the transition to “Chronoluxe”, the deluxe version of the album with B-sides and demos, which is an amazing hour-and-a-half of music straight from the mind of Oberhofer. The album is full of broken-down rock songs. The second half of “Chronoluxe” is so full of these songs which bring their own kind of beauty in their discord. The song “Winter Has Come and Gone Again” is for me the epitome of this sound. Oberhofer’s vocals here are painted with his passion as he begins his lyrics with a scream; the drums and guitar seem just a touch out of sync creating a conflicting sound that emanates throughout the song. If you have the time on the road to put on the hour-and-a-half “Chronoluxe,” or even just the regular “Chronovision,” I think it’s worth your time to check it out.
“Lighght” – Kishi Bashi
Kishi Bashi is one of my favorite artists, and “Lighght” is my favorite of his albums. Kishi Bashi is a multi-instrumentalist whose specialty is the violin, and in “Lighght” his violin-work is the best it’s ever been. This upbeat album blends elements of indie pop, electric, psychedelic and experimental music, infusing a lot of callbacks to Kishi Bashi’s Japanese heritage. “Lighght” fits so much variety of sound in it that it feels like it’s about to burst. Kishi Bashi’s almost ethereal music is as hard to get out of your head as it is to stop listening to. Get hooked on Kishi Bashi.
“Sprained Ankle” – Julien Baker
“Sprained Ankle” is singer-songwriter Julien Baker’s first full-length album, and it’s almost too good to put into words. Baker’s passion quivers throughout the LP, and her music perfectly reflects her lyrics. This album is much slower than the others on this list, so if you’re looking for an active album you might want to pass this one over. You won’t fall asleep to this album, but there are times when I definitely feel lulled by it. Her soft acoustic guitar and voice blend together into a truly beautiful listening experience. I think the best time on the road trip to play this album would be when everyone has settled down after the initial rush of excitement, when the chit chat begins to slow and the people in the back are beginning to fade. In this moment, the mellow sounds of Julien Baker are perfect for the long road ahead.