California and back mix

This time last year I thought about putting together a mix called Coast Highway. We were a few months into our California year and I was spending a good amount of time driving up and down the Coast Highway and I-5, playing music in the car and thinking about how scenery affects my choices. In footwear: I was regularly wearing flip flops even though I don't like flip flops. In music: it got sunnier to match the relentless beam of Southern California light. I still adored the darker stuff but it was harder to connect to in such proximity to so many stoned surfers. On our drive back towards Ohio and Nashville in December, I considered but didn't follow through on making an I-40 mix. And over the many times I've driven between Cincinnati and Nashville these past three months I've thought, "Okay fine, now it's the I-65 mix, are we doing this or not?"

This mix is all of that. I don't know how to describe its character except as snapshots of wildly different landscapes and highways and (mental) states through music. To drive in California is awfully different than in Tennessee. In California the drivers are aggressive and they are assholes but they're good at what they do. SoCal is a car culture. They drive fast and you have to get used to it but once you do, you know what to expect and it's all good. Note: so California of me to say "all good" like that.

In Tennessee, the drivers turn corners and into driveways with the speed of a snail but the rest of the time they are ERRATIC. Highway drivers cut lanes, many at a time, with no provocation, no blinkers, and without the space to do so. The only predictable element is that there seem to be no agreed upon rules. I was on a rant about it when Matthew told me, "Well, you know Tennessee only started requiring driving tests in 1998."

"WHAT? There are a bunch of old people on the road who've never taken a driving test?"

"No, there are a bunch of 30-year-olds on the road who've never take a driving test."

"That explains so much."

Hello - Lionel Richie feat. Jennifer Nettles - Lionel gets back to his Southern roots. Just go with it.

Future Starts Slow - The Kills - Inspires some of the best seated-in-a-car-dancing I've ever done.

Dark Allies - Light Asylum - Makes me want to beat my fists on my legs, head bang, and throw myself against a wall. My dream house has a room with padded walls.

We Have Everything - Young Galaxy - "Help me forget all the worry worry, just split the sky and free me to be golden" = cross-country driving optimism.

The High Road - Broken Bells - The high road is hard to find. Or is it?

Midnight Rider - Patti Smith - I was sitting at a Burbank train station when I finished Patti Smith's book Just Kids and my impulse was to turn back to page one and read it again. I started re-listening to her music then and haven't stopped.

Baptized in Black Light - Kenna - I like referring to Kenna as my boyfriend or as our "brother husband" when Matthew is within earshot. I am sort of kidding.

Celestica - Crystal Castles - Speaking of Mormons, I associate this with palm trees and the Mormon temple on the side of the highway near San Diego. I think this would come as a surprise to the Canadian duo.

Ok - Beastie Boys - The Beastie Boys are in my personal hall of fame and I listen to them on every single highway I ever have, and ever will, drive on.

B.S.E. - Young Galaxy - Intoxicated by reinvention. Intoxicated by transformation. Yes.

Look at Miss Ohio - Miranda Lambert - "Miranda" and "Lambert" are two of the new words I've learned since working in Country music.

10 Mile Stereo - Beach House - We bought the Beach House CD Teen Dream from a record shop in Carlsbad just after moving to California.

Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap - When I play the drums, my practices will probably be a lot like this video.

Goth Star (Pictureplane Cover) - HEALTH - Last.fm tagged this as "witch chill". HAAAAA. There should be a Mad Libs specifically for music genres: just add "chill", "wave", or "gaze" to your noun of choice.

Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake - Zola Jesus - "I love the feeling when you hear a song that is so overwhelming and powerful it makes your veins hurt. I'd like to write one of those songs one day" - ZJ

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