Road Trip Revelations

If you’ve read any of my previous “Road Trip” posts, you may have noticed a certain pattern to them. I usually start with some thoughts on whatever new music I’m listening to. Then, I share a few observations about the road or driving in general. Finally, I close it out with some comments on a long forgotten hair metal song. If you were hoping for a change in format this time… too bad. Take heart people. Routine is good. You always know what to expect. No shocks. No surprises. Life may pimp-slap you at every turn but you can always rely on “Road Trip Revelations” for some stability. Doesn’t that make you feel all safe and secure? And away we go…

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. On these trips I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After many hours alone in the car though, I tend to have quite a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road.

Most of my Favorite Bands Have Stupid Names

Here’s a list of a few bands I’ve enjoyed this year: Japandroids, Tennis, Youth Lagoon, Pop Etc, Bear in Heaven. All pretty dumb sounding names. Even when a group has a decent name, they have to go and spell it weird like Diiv (pronounced Dive) one of my current favorites. I don’t know why this trend is happening but my theory is that all of the good band names where used up by 1978. Post 1978 we had band names like this:

One of my favorite things in the world is when I’m listening to a new band and my wife asks me their name. I’ll answer her with the stupid band name already knowing that her response will be a sarcastic “Well of course it is”. She has a hard time getting past the stupid band name. My favorite response to her is “Aerosmith was already taken.” This usually pisses her off and we go back and forth about band names and how Aerosmith sucks. Well, new Aerosmith sucks. Hey, that’s not bad! Why couldn’t you start a band and call it The New Aerosmith? Didn’t that happen all the time back in the day? When the Yardbirds broke up wasn’t there a New Yardbirds about two minutes later? After The Animals disbanded, The New Animals came stampeding out of the rubble to help heal the world’s broken heart. Just a thought.

What’s with the Biker Wave?

Did you ever see the biker wave while driving down the road? I just recently noticed it. When two motorcyclists get close to each other while driving in opposite directions they lower their left hand down and sort of point to the ground. What’s that all about? Where did they learn that? Is it part of the motorcycle safety course? Are they pointing down to remind the other biker to watch out for the ground? “Hey man, we are rocketing across the earth at breakneck speeds on a high-powered two-wheeled vehicle. Don’t fall off. It hurts.”

1st biker waves: “Remember, the ground hurts us.”

2nd biker waves: “Yes, I understand. The pavement is our enemy.”

It is pretty cool to witness. I want a secret wave for us music-loving mid 30’s dads driving around in SUVs. Maybe we could just stick our thumbs up and then point them to the back seat. This could signify that “I would like to turn up my music louder but I got these damn kids in the back seat watching a Spongebob DVD and I can only play my music at barely audible levels.” Let’s work on that one guys.

I Don’t Care About Your Stick Figure Family

Over the last year or so you may have noticed a new trend amongst mini-van drivers. “The Stick Figure Family”. Little decals of stick figure people to represent everyone in the mini-van driver’s family. I must ask why? Why do you want the world to know that you have 3 kids? Going by the stickers, one boy and 2 girls. The boy is the oldest and based upon the baseball bat over his stick figure shoulder he must like baseball. The oldest girl must love soccer based upon the soccer ball in her stick figure arms. The youngest girl is in a stroller so no one really knows what she likes yet. In time we will know because mini-van driver idiot will update the stick figure as soon as stick figure baby slips on her first ballet shoes. One day I saw a van with two adult stick figures and 10, yes 10, variations of the stick figure kid. A standard mini-van has a seating capacity of 7. How are you getting 10 kids plus 2 parents into that Dodge Grand Caravan? The answer is you’re not. You’re taking 2 cars to the “I Have 10 Kids and Hate Myself Convention”. Your stick figure family is a fraud and I hate you too.

Europe isn’t “Superstitious”

As always, after a few hours on the road I was in need of a hair metal fix. So I flipped the station over to Hair Nation . Today I was greeted with the sweet sounds of Europe’s “Superstitious”. It had everything I wanted in a hair band break. High pitched vocals and those keyboards you’ve come to expect from Europe in other songs like “The Final Countdown” and “Carrie”. The special treat comes at the 3:20 mark when after the last scathing guitar solo, the boys slow it down a bit with a funky bass driven pre-chorus bridge. Break it down for me fellas.

Keep on walkin’ that road and I’ll follow
Keep on callin’ my name I’ll be there
And if a mirror should break it’s easy to take
Cause deep down I know that you care
I´m not superstitious

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes. So many stick figures. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and throw me a “Dad Wave”. I might just “Dad Wave” back.

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Still More Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with quite a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. So, on days like today I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After many hours alone in the car though, I tend to have a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road today.

Even My Beloved Sirius XMU is Guilty of Massive Repetition

One of the reasons I bought satellite radio, besides the variety, was because I was sick of the repetitive crap on regular radio. I’ve noticed that over the last few road trips my favorite station, Sirius XMU, is terribly repetitive at times. There must be a quota on certain songs because they get played a lot. Ever since Wild Belle took SXSW by storm, their track “Keep You” has been played almost hourly. It’s a great song but come on, let’s not ruin it.

Another song on ridiculous rotation is Tanlines “All of Me”. Over a 10 hour period, I ran a test to see how long it took to them to play “All of Me” after I tuned into the station. Here are the results in the S.H.I.T. scale “Songs Heard In-lieu of Tanlines”.

At no time did they NOT play “All of Me” before I turned the station. So I make a plea to the Sirius XMU DJ’s, “Please, take it easy on the repetition. You’re killing songs for me before they’ve had a chance to live their natural life span…….Fuckers”.

Nothing Oozes Class Like a Set of Fake Testicles on the Back of Your Truck

We’ve all had this experience. You know you’re super cool. Your friends know you’re extra classy. How can you let strangers know this same information while driving your truck around town? Why, trailer hitch testicles, that’s how!

It seems like I’ve seen a million pairs of these truck nut sacks hanging low lately. Here is one I saw on my trip today.

Is this meant to be cool? Is this meant to be funny? Does this guy know he just upped the Hillbilly Coefficient on his truck by an exponential rate? Was the Calvin & Hobbs sticker with Calvin peeing on a Ford logo too highbrow? It just seems spectacularly dumb to me. Maybe I am missing something…nope it’s dumb.

2012 Has Been the “Year of the Women” in Indie Rock

Last year, almost all of my favorite albums were made by male artists. Class Actress’ Rapprocher was the only album by a female artist to make my Top 10 and Cults barely squeaked into the Top 20. This year is totally different. The women are stepping up their game. Frankie Rose, Tennis, Grimes, Mr. Little Jeans (odd name for a solo female), Sleigh Bells, Memoryhouse, Blouse, Field Mouse, 2:54 and Wild Belle have completely taken over my playlists. Granted, some of these are male/female duos, but the dudes are hiding in the background while the chicks are up front kicking ass.

There have been a few dude rockers that have fought there way into my iPod. Bear in Heaven, Tanlines and the aptly named The Men have had short stints in my ever-changing “Love That New Song Smell” playlist. Very few have stuck as long as the women. Congrats ladies. Keep it coming. Hey guys! Wake up! You’re looking bad in 2012.

Van Halen’s “Eruption” is Still Bad-Ass

I flipped to the classic rock channel today and was greeted with the opening guitar lick of Van Halen’s “Eruption”. I turned my car stereo up as loud and these 37 year old ears could take and air guitared along with Eddie just like the old days. It was exhausting, but Eddie and I can still pull off one of the best guitar solos in rock history. Revisit all the Van Haleny goodness below.

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of low hanging trailer hitch testes. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop my Eddie Van Halen air guitar and wave back.

Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with quite a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me valuable time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly rock out! So on days like today I sit back, relax and turn on my Sirius Stiletto. (Special thanks to my brother who so foolishly gave up this beautiful piece of technology. I love it. Endless commercial free channels of fantastic music) After four hours alone with my thoughts and the radio, I came away with a few revelations.

Lana Del Rey is over-hyped but talented

Yes, she’s been over-played. Yes, she tanked on SNL. Yes, she talks like Betty Boop. I don’t care. She’s great.  I listened to her song “Radio” around four times today and defy you not to sing along by the 2nd chorus.

Now my life is sweet like cinnamon
Like a fucking dream i’m living in
Baby love me cause i’m playing on the radio
(how do you like me now?)


Too much coffee makes you piss a lot

Side note: If your trip is over 2 hours long, cap the coffee at 12 oz.  Today I had roughly 24 oz and found myself with that uncomfortable feeling. Not to worry. I have the entire eastern half of the state mapped out by establishments with suitable bathrooms. I try to avoid the rest stops. I’m tired of the long looks from bi-sexual truckers named Carl. I’ve found that the best location for an emergency pit stop is McDonalds. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a McDonalds in this part of the state and you usually don’t run into some hobo washing his testicles in the sink…usually.

Anyone can cover Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and it will be awesome

Today I heard versions of “Running Up that Hill” by Placebo and The Chromatics. Surprisingly enough they are both pretty damn good. I guess this Kate Bush gem is the perfect song to try and make your own.  You can’t get much better that the original though.  Check it out below.

Jack White is in a lot of bands. Also, there are a lot of bands with “Bear” in their name

The White Stripes, Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and now Jack White solo stuff. I listened to it all on the road today. Good god man. Take a break. We get it. You can write a lot of songs. 15% of them are good. Slow down a bit and maybe you could get that number up to 75%. Please just think about it Jack.

Today I also heard songs by: Bear in Heaven, Grizzly Bear, Bear Hands, Panda Bear and Minus the Bear.  I will pose to myself the same question once asked of Dwight Schrute from The Office . Which Bear is Best? I’m glad you asked. That’s a toughy. While all have their merits, today(based solely on car stereo volume levels) Bear in Heaven is the best bear.

I will skip any song by Wilco, Neutral Milk Hotel, or Animal Collective

I’ve tried to like these bands. I just can’t do it. I even change songs if I’m on the phone and one of these bands come on. Nice try Sirius but you cant sneak one by me while my celly’s blowin’ up.

I will not skip any song by Modest Mouse, Pixies, or Whitesnake

Yeah that’s right, Whitesnake. Sometimes you just have to tune in to Hair Nation and bang your head. Still of the Night! Still of the Night! Still of the Night! Rawk!

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of pit stops. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime in the future go ahead and wave. Just please don’t laugh while I’m doing my David Coverdale impression.

MoSS? Monthly Mixtape: February

Todd’s February Picks                                                         Chris’ February Picks

Field Mouse “You Guys are Gonna Wake Up my Mom”                A Place to Bury Strangers “So Far Away”

Bear in Heaven “The Reflection of You”                                   Yuna “Live Your Life”

Beach Fossils “Shallow”                                                          OOoOO “No Way Back”

Frankie Rose “Night Swim”                                                     Princeton “A Remembrance of Things to Come”

Tennis “Origins”                                                                    Hospitality “Betty Wang”