I got back yesterday from a few days on the Oregon Coast. No matter how many times I drive down, I'm always amazed by the gorgeous drive (take 101 as much as possible), and how much longer it takes to get places than you think. The latter accounts for why the music in our stereo all got ample airtime. Not that there were any complaints. We couldn't have picked better music for exploring southwest Washington and the Oregon coastline. Consider the following:
The Vaselines, sex with an x (due Sept. 14 via Sub Pop; Oct. 22 at Neumos): Is it too early to call this the album of the year? Easily the album of the long weekend at least. Smart, catchy, punky sing-a-longs for the whole station wagon. "Feels so good, it must be bad for me. Let's do it, let's do it again!"
The Black Keys, Brothers: This one's aging pretty well. There's enough nuance to their indie swamp rock to allow for prolonged, repeated plays. (See them Oct. 2 at The Paramount).
Phosphorescent, Here's to Taking It Easy: The wobbly guitar lines come into sharp relief on the road, but this is as close to Creedence (still the best traveling music on record) as we got last weekend. Matthew Houck's hair-blowing rock by way of Brooklyn is easy to take in when there's a little salt in the air.
Damien Jurado, Saint Bartlett: When I picked up a few CDs for the trip, I didn't make the connection that Jurado was raised near Hoquiam (the name of his side project) and that I'd be driving near the cities in which he was raised. For those of you who wonder why Jurado sounds so glum, hop aboard the 101. If you grew up anywhere near Hoquiam or Aberdeen, you'd be excused for being terminally morose, too.