Downtown Travels Mixtape Vol. 4

The last Downtown Travels Mix Tape was about exploring different groups from around the world. For Volume 4, it’s more about traveling through time. We start off with a trip five years ago before high-tailing it to the 1980s with a song about an event that occurred in the 1960s after which we jump back to last year with the Avett Brothers who sing a cover song written back in the early 1910s. From there we jump around this decade and last century before taking a trip with the 1980s again (because who doesn’t want to be part of the 1980s music scene?). Enjoy!

  1. Now Is the Start – A Fine Frenzy

Got this song for free on iTunes around 2012-2013 [does iTunes still do that? I get all my music from the radio stations (Radio is not dead!)]. It’s a nice way to start a playlist, not because of the title, but because it’s fun and dance-worthy. It’ll get you in a happy mood by mid-way, not matter how hard you try to resist.

2. December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) – The Wonder Who?/The Four Seasons

3. In the Garden (Charles Austin Miles 1912 cover) – The Avett Brothers

It’s a 2016 folk band singing a 1912 song. You can’t get better than that.

It wasn’t until recently I learned that the song The Avett Brothers sing was a hymn. As in gospel music. It totally makes sense when you actually read the lyrics. I’m not one for gospel music, but I will happily make an exception for this song.

4. Hourglass – Catfish and the Bottleman

Hourglass. Time. Think about it.

It’s a great song. A sad song when you think about it (he wants his girl to come back), but sung in a pretty catchy tune.

5. Closer – Tegan and Sara

I think of the pilot episode of Young & Hungry where Gabi (Emily Osment), the feisty chef, and Josh (Jonathon Sadowski), the ridiculously rich tech guy, sing their own rendition. It’s adorable, it’s funny, it’s amazing.

6. Bitter Heart – Zee Avi

The time aspect with this one comes in the second verse where Zee Avi says “it’s been two hours now / and you’re still somewhere in town”. It’s an angry song (not even angry…more like annoyed) sung in a such a catchy, sunny tune you can’t help but sing along.

7. Bend & Break – Keane

Going to the early years of the millennium with this Keane hit (at least I consider it a hit. It’s the best song on that album). Timothy James Rice-oxley said back when the song came out that “Bend & Break” was about getting past the darker state of mind and into the light. It’s a song of overcoming the paid and suffering and meeting on the other side where peace is to be found.

8. Wild – Royal Teeth

Royal Teeth, a band from New Orleans, came out with this song in 2012. It’s one of my favorite songs on this mix tape. It’ll put a smile on your face and lift you into a blissful state. The song, though it’s open to interpretation, is about the band leaving their normal routine to pick up their instruments and heading on tour. Rather than growing up, it’s about living in the present and enjoying everything that is heading their way.

9. Run-Around – Blues Traveler

Let’s jump back 18 years to 1994. Since this mix tape is time-themed, it would be rude not to add a song that is from the year I was born. I could have put Céline Dion or Mariah Carey, but they just don’t fit the rhythm of this mix tape (or my music taste in general). Hence, the Blues Traveler! Have you heard of them? Yes? No? They’ve been around for over 20 years. I think they’ll make it. xD

10. Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well – A Silent Film

Yes, there are a lot of songs from 2012. 2012-2013 was the enlightenment period for my music taste. New group of friends, college, and the ability to break the spell that trapped my head in the “super big corporate radio” (yes I mean you KISS-FM!) were all big influences in exploring the not so mainstream music (and the classic hits).

This song goes through a passage of time. It starts off with two kids who have feelings for each other but the boy never admits it. They grow up and grow apart and somehow find each other years later. It’s a great song. It’ll make you dance and feel sad at the same time. Gotta love the Brits.

11. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

Of course everybody wants to rule the world! Power and money and control? I find this song fitting to be at the end of the playlist since it was the last song on Tears for Fears’ album, Songs from the Big Chair. According to the Take Two podcast, Roland Orzabel, the band’s co-founder, thought the song was too “light” for the album, wanting to change the lyrics to “everybody wants to go to war”. Luckily for the band (and us fans), he was convinced out of that idea.


Downtown Travels Mixtape Vol. 3

I’m sensing a very foreign theme here. Not just geographically as most of these artists are Western European, but in a time sense too. Edith Piaf and Frank Sinatra (once again) grace the list with their soulful, jazzy voices. Shout out to the only ATX band on the list, Ghostland Observatory.

  1. 1901 – Phoenix

 This Versailles band is known to insert many historical symbols in their songs and “1901” is no different.

“Girlfriend, your girlfriend is drifting away / 1855 – 1901 / watch them build a meteor tower / think it’s not gonna stay anyway / think it’s overrated”

They reference France’s time period that included the Art Noveau Movement and the World’s Fair of 1889, which, for you history and architectural nerds out there smiling, was the debut of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Most Parisians hated the Tower, seeing it as a total eyesore. But the World’s Fair was a time of seeing far into the future, so the Tower was meant to stand as a symbol of the future. When the World’s Fair ended and new monuments were made elsewhere, the Tower only became a symbol of a society that is stuck in its glorified past. This could also pertain to a modern-setting such as a relationship stuck in a rut.

2. The Mother We Share – CHVCHES

Every time I listen to this song by the Scottish band, I always find a different meaning or story. I’ve heard it as a story about Lauren Mayberry’s experience with other bands. I’ve heard it as one person with two streams of consciousness essentially fighting for dominance. I’ve heard it as a brother-sister relationship in which one has to take care of the other due to incompetent parents. It’s a great song and their music has helped me write many stories.

3. Beautiful Lie – Ivan & Alyosha

Pretty sure this group is the most obscure hipster group I’ve got on my iPod/iPhone. Okay, maybe obscure is a stretch. I&A toured with Brandi Carlile and NeedtoBreathe earlier this decade. The group formed in Seattle back in 2007. They got a cool indie folk sound going. I found them a few years ago on Pandora (remember Pandora?).

4. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash

Ah yes, the Clash. You can’t get better 70s/80s British punk than The Clash. Just saying.

5. Dare You (feat. Matthew Koma) – Hardwell

I’m not really into the DJs these days but years back I was interested. Hardwell is a Dutch DJ who got together with New Yorker Matthew Koma, whose early start was in punk rock before moving into the EDM world, writing songs for Zedd. The song is catchy. A total “get up and dance for the hell of it” song.

6. La Vie En Rose – Edith Piaf

If the playlist if foreign-themed, then you cannot forget Edith Piaf! The beautiful French sound is classic.

7. Sad Sad City – Ghostland Observatory

It’s not a true Downtown Travels Mixtape without at least one local ATX artist.

8. Call Me – St. Paul & the Broken Bones

I’m a sucker for the soulful. This six-piece band from Birmingham is amazing. They’ve got a trombone player and a baritone sax player. I wish I saw them in March when they came to Stubb’s. Good thing they’re coming back this September to play at the Cedar Park Center (HEB Center for the newbies).

9. The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra

You know my saying: Frank Sinatra is the answer to everything. I feel like watching My Best Friend’s Wedding on my VCR.

Downtown Travels Mixtape Vol. 2 

It’s a such a beautiful day out here in ATX. Definite blast the car stereo weather. Therefore, time to share the second volume of the Downtowm Travels series! This time we have Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Avett Brothers in the mix.

This playlist is more along the lines of what I’m interested in. A sorta favorites list because I like the vibe, sound, lyrics, and all that good stuff. A few have a couple stories attached.

  1. Frank Sinatra – Fly Me to the Moon

Ah Frank Sinatra. I should really write a post on his great life. Note to self. Sinatra is first on the playlist because, well, Sinatra is the answer to everything (at least according to my friend Siddiqi and me.)

2. The Postal Service – Sleeping In

The opening lyrics is what gets me. “Last night I had the strangest dream / where everything was exactly how it seemed / where there was never any mystery / of who shot John F Kennedy”. It gets me thinking of a world where things are simple. No wars, no global climate problems, no conspiracy theories. It also gets me, the history nerd, thinking, “what would have happened if JFK lived out his full four year term? Would the 60s be the 60s with him around?” Sound the conspiracy music!


3. The Beatles – In My Life 

Once you hear the piano, you’ll understand.


4. The Avett Brothers – Another is Waiting

One of my favorite 21st century bands…actually make that all time bands period. The lyrics are fun. They are great live (no, I have yet to see them in person but watched enough Youtube videos to make this sound judgement). They are folksy and have a great piano player. They’ll even get ragtimey at times. Yep, gotta dedicate a post to them soon.

5. The Beatles – All My Loving

Funny story about this one. I once dared a friend, who has a rather terrible singing voice (not that mine is any better), to sing a song. No conditions or anything, just any song. He didn’t do it at the right second. Instead, he waited a good week, knocked on my door and started singing the Beatles. Silly me should have gotten it on video because it was pretty good (and hilarious!). Every time I hear this song, part of me will think there’s someone at the front door. That and the lyrics are just absolutely adorbs and soooooooo 1960s.


7. New Politics – Harlem

Because you just need a song to dance to.


8. Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear – Silent Movies

You know I am a fan of the soulful voices. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear do not stray from this. Their raspy voices transport you to another world, another time. Did the mention the instrumentals are amazing?


9. Future Islands – A Dream of You And Me

For those days when you need a sorta more soothing approach. This song reminds me of those lazy spring days laying on the grass in front of Main Building at St. Ed’s where you are trying to study but are so focused by the beauty that surrounds you.


10. The Decemberists – 16 Military Wives

The Decemberists are great with lyrics. The instrumentals are simple, which is nice because it helps you focus on the storyline that is portrayed in the song. It’s political yet fun. It’s got a bit of a marching beat to it, much like the military marches.


11. Foster the People – Best Friend

I am originally from the Voldemort state (you know, that one big West Coast state that Texans do not like and wish would stay away from any inch of the Lone Star State in fear of completely screwing up the mellow/country/old school landscape), so it’s no surprise I would cheer for a band from my old stomping grounds. The song is catchy and when you hear them live like I did at SXSW a few years back, you can’t get rid of them no matter how hard you try. The lyrics, if you truly listen, have mixed meanings. I’ve taken it as drug addiction problems, writers block, and even the general concept of friends being there for each other no matter what the situation is.


12. SPEAK – Carrie

Another one of my favorite bands of all time. A friend introduced me to this Austin band about four years ago (yes, the same friend who sang the Beatles on my front porch on a dare). This song is from their 2011 album, I Believe in Everything. Regardless of whatever mood you are in you will dance to the beat of this song and fall in love with Troupe Gammage’s voice. Definite song of any summer for me.


Hope you enjoy. There will be more coming soon!

P.S did anyone catch the typo? 🙂

Downtown Travels Mix Tape Vol. 1

As a writer/artist, music is a huge factor in how I see life and create things. Cliché I know but #truth.

I started the Downtown Travels mixtape series about a year and a half ago. Some coworkers of mine and I were recommending songs to each other and got into the sorta old school style of sharing music: giving playlists on CDs. Children if you don’t know what these are, they’re the little circular objects that have a rainbow streak when you put them in the light. They are lighter than your iPod and tangible compared to your Spotify accounts.

This mixtape is pretty special, being the first one and all. There are 11 playlists total and counting. This one is probably the most related to real life events. Oh nostalgia! How you torture the hearts and minds of your prey but give the best musical moments!

Enough backstory, here’s the playlist!

  1. Sedona – Houndmouth

The guitar in the beginning of the song brings that lovely feeling of early summer and tickles your heart as you drive through the hills of West Austin.

2. Rock the Casbah – The Clash

The first song I heard on a vinyl player, about three years ago On one of the side streets along the SoCo strip is a hidden record store. Just found the place by chance and their inventory was quite different from what you would typically find at Waterloo. I mean they had the latest-at-the-time Daft Punk album and current albums, but also had little known bands, rare finds and a great selection of classical orchestra music. This is my favorite Clash song with the original members. Also, sidenote: happy birthday Combat Rock for turning 35 years old this year.


3. Down in the Valley – The Head and The Heart

If you’ve read my previous post “The Head and The Heart“, then you know of my love for this song. It’s the perfect lazy spring/summer song. Enough said.


4. Supersoaker – Kings of Leon

We can agree the melody is catchy and soothes you into an almost trance-like state. I hear this song and I am 18 again, a college freshman at St. Ed’s, driving through SoCo as the sun sets on a March afternoon.

5. Just Like Heaven – The Cure

“Show me show me show me how you do that trick the one that makes me scream she said!” What to say of this song? One of the best love songs of the 1980s. Again, I am reminded of those lazy early summer days driving around with the windows rolled down, simply enjoying life. Or dancing around Graffiti Park to catch a glance of every piece of artwork that were sprayed on the walls while at the same time enjoying the ATX skyline. Pure joy.


6. Thunder Clatter – Wild Cub

A few years ago, there was this radio station called 105.3 The Fringe (which then turned into Classic 105.3, which then turned into 105.3 The Bat). The station was a private KUTX to an extent, playing local artists, upcoming artists, and things the corporate stations didn’t. I first heard this song on The Fringe and it was pretty much song of the summer for me. I still don’t know all the words, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to sing along in my car as I drive on Barton Springs Road.

7. Cocoon – Catfish and the Bottlemen

Another one of those songs first heard on the radio. It’s a pretty good song to sing out on the top of your lungs in your car with your friends (or alone). It’s also fun to try to count how many times the f-word is said.

8. With Your Two Hands – The Wind and the Wave

I had heard of The Wind and the Wave before they made it big with this song. I in love with them when I heard their live interview on the JB and Sandy Show on The Fringe in October 2014. I was sitting in the empty classroom where “Shakespearean Theatre” was held-ground floor of Moody Hall-working on my Merchant of Venice paper, happily listening to The Wind and the Wave play this song live on the radio waves. The rest is history. As I type this, I have various tabs open trying to find the podcast. Soundcloud I’m coming for you!


9. Fools – Wild Child

I saw Wild Child with some friends at our first Blues on the Green show back in June 2014. I believe it was Wild Child’s big debut. Like The Wind and the Wave, Wild Child is a local indie band that you casually hear about. It’s a cool band and every time I hear this song, I’m transported back to a very less crowded Zilker Park, sitting on a picnic blanket in a polka dot dress wondering about the opening act to Saints of Valory.

10. Friday I’m in Love – The Cure

Because you can’t have a better Friday song than this. This song to me is just all the happiness and carefree vibes streaming through all the streets of ATX. It’s the lightness of being. It’s the song you shout to your friend parked in the car next to you as you both wait for the light on Monroe and South Congress to turn green. It’s the song that tells you no matter how hard life gets, how complicated love gets, how confusing the future gets, everything will be okay. It’s the song that you cannot finish without a smile on your face.


Hope you enjoy this. Some might feel the same connections. Some might share the same memories. Some might just be outright confused and that’s okay. Like what you see? Have suggests? Comment below!