I finished my first year of college this week. Don’t worry, I didn’t do too terribly. After coming home for a few days, I took a long solo road trip to upstate New York to visit my girlfriend who is still in school. Soundtracking my drives has always been very important to me – it helps me keep my cool and focus on not dying.
Anyway, I had never driven for so long, let alone by myself. Usually, I like to pick out records that I am familiar with, allowing me to sing along as I speed down the open country roads toward my destination. However, this time I decided pick out a few new albums that I had never heard before. I figured that the trip would give me time to absorb the music and really assess it. These are the albums that I picked, in the order in which I listened to them:
1) Jeff Rosenstock, We Cool?
I had head a lot about Jeff Rosenstock around the indie/punk blogosphere and thought his record We Cool? was excellent. It’s a perfect mix of shredding punk instrumentals with quirky lyrics that deal with very personal and serious topics. It’s the type of record that causes you to bang on the steering wheel as you tear down open country roads. Stream it below.
2) Hop Along, Painted Shut
A friend introduced me to Hop Along earlier in the school year when we were discussing our favorite female vocalists. He sent me the track Tibetan Pop Stars off of the band’s debut album and I was instantly hooked. Although they have been gaining more and more attention, Hop Along has remained relatively low-key since the release of their debut. That said, the impending release of their sophomore effort Painted Shut will without a doubt allow them to break out of the underground, with the Alanis Morisette-like vocals of Frances Quinlan toppling over the folk-punk instrumentals that have been waiting to emerge for a long time. Stream Painted Shut below.
3) Palma Violets, Danger In The Club
I had a British rock phase a few years ago. Although I don’t remember how exactly I became familiarized with Palma Violets, their 2012 single Best Of Friends has remained on my summer playlists since. I was excited to hear the follow-up to 180 and Danger In The Club certainly did not disappoint. The only word to describe the image that the sounds creates is “riot.” While many artists like to experiment as they move forward in their career, Palma Violets stayed right where they were comfortable – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is currently no full stream of Danger In The Club, but be sure to check it out upon its release.
4) Turnover, Peripheral Vision
Although I am waning out of my high school-ridden pop punk obsession, I was reading pretty unanimous rave reviews about the new album from Turnover. As I hit play, I expected to spend 30-45 minutes of my drive jamming out to teen power punk anthems, but what I got from Peripheral Vision was so much more enjoyable. By the last track, I had already declared Peripheral Vision to be one of my favorite records that I have heard in a while, bringing me to promptly order the vinyl as soon as I arrived on campus. After hearing Title Fight’s Hyperview earlier this year, it is clear that many of the pop punk bands that used to dominate my iTunes and Spotify play counts are beginning to evolve in a way that is becoming more and more impressive as I become a more mature listener. Do yourself a favor and stream Turnover’s Peripheral Vision below.
To be completely honest, I was nervous about driving so far by myself. I chose four random albums to help me get there. Luckily for me, I was able to thoroughly enjoy each of them from front to back, with very few, if any, low points. I couldn’t be happier with the records I chose to soundtrack my solo road trip and they were a great start to a great weekend.
Header photo by Fallon Roher