M&T Best Songs of 2017

We've compiled a playlist of the 75 best songs from the year that was and highlighted our top 10 below. Make sure to subscribe Read More

M&T Best Albums of 2017

The moment you've all been waiting for...our favorite albums of 2017. We've compiled a list of the 40 best albums of the year and highlighted a Read More

January 2018 Spotify Playlist of the Month

Welcome to 2018. Hopefully we never hear the words 'bomb cyclone' ever again after this far-from-temperate January day here in NYC. To keep you Read More

Cross Country Songbook

Cross Country Songbook: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Live at The Greek Theatre 9/18/2015

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Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals at The Greek Theatre

After disbanding all the way back in 2008, Ben Harper announced late last year that he would be reuniting with The Innocent Criminals for a short run of shows in early 2015. Luckily for us, that run continued and we were able to score some tickets to their comeback tour stop at the famed Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Set against Griffith Park, the Greek was the perfect location for Harper to make his return to Los Angeles amongst the trees and under the stars.

If there was any rust to shake off in the rehearsals leading up to the reunion tour it certainly didn’t show last night as Harper and the rest of The Innocent Criminals ripped through songs spanning across Harper’s 20+ year career with the focus of course on his earlier work recorded with the unit who performed last night. Classics like “Diamonds On the Inside”, “Burn One Down”, and “Steal My Kisses”, brought everyone in the crowd back to their collective stoner dorm room daze, but it was the grittier selections where the band really shined. Songs like “Forgiven” from 1999’s Burn to Shine and “Ground On Down” from 1995’s Fight for Your Mind gave Harper and co. the opportunity to dig into some extended jams that even further energized a crowd that had clearly been counting down the days for this reunion since 2008. The highlight though may have been the band’s rendition of “Where Could I Go”, a song Harper recorded in 2004 with The Blind Boys of Alabama. Near the end of the song Harper abandoned his mic and the crowd immediately went silent to look on in awe as he belted out the song’s final verse with no amplification whatsoever.

With the band reportedly recording material for a new album, the hope amongst fans is clearly that this run of reunion shows might continue in support of the next record. Until then we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed and The Innocent Criminals classics on repeat.

Cross Country Songbook: The 101

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Cross Country Songbook: The 101

If you’re traveling from Seattle to San Francisco there’s no better way to do it than the 101. It might be quicker to take the inland route, but the vistas you’ll find along the Oregon coast are more than worth it. With the Pacific Ocean as your constant companion, throw this playlist on and enjoy the view, but make sure you don’t take your eyes off the road for too long.

Deep Sea Diver – “One By One”

If you’re making this trek down from the Pacific Northwest chances are you’ll come across the music of Jessica Dobson, the former Shins and Beck guitarist whose work as Deep Sea Diver provides the perfect segue from the Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean.

Pacific Air – “Float”

I’ll let the artist and song names do all the talking for this one.

Millionyoung – “Hammock”

A wistful indie-pop jam to carry you into the mountains and along the winding roads of the Oregon coast.

Clive Tanaka y su orquestra – “Neu Chicago :: Side A :: For Dance”

The steel drums and floating synths set the scene for a beachside pit stop along the highway.

Pearl Jam – “Given To Fly”

Here the playlist takes a turn to capture the ruggedness of the coastline. Whenever I listen to this song I always imagine Eddie Vedder standing on a cliff above the ocean, the wind blowing through his beautiful man-mane, and the waves crashing high up on the rocks as he belts out the lyrics to this epic late-90s classic. And now you will too.

The Long Winters – “The Commander Thinks Aloud”

Though the lyrics are quite tragic (inspired by the fateful descent of the Space Shuttle Columbia and detailed in one of my favorite episodes of the Song Exploder podcast), the music is airy yet powerful in a way that matches the scenery for most of this drive.

Woods – “Moving to the Left”

After pulling yourself out of the emotional journey of the previous song, relax and let these beautiful guitar melodies bounce around your head while you contemplate the coastline.

Funeral Advantage – “Gardensong”

It wouldn’t be an oceanside sunset drive without lots of reverb right?

Here We Go Magic – “Over The Ocean”

Where ‘Given To Fly’ captures the power and frenetic energy of the coast, Luke Temple and co. encapsulate its serenity and peacefulness.

Mulatu Astake – “Ené Alantchie Alnorem”

As the sun meets the horizon line after a long day of driving, let the breezy flutes and whimsical soundscape of this tune whisk all your worries into the ocean.

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Cross Country Songbook: Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks

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Cross Country Songbook: Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier National Parks

Last week we covered a lot of ground following our excursion through the Southwest and the National Parks of Utah. Traveling from Moab, UT up through Jackson, WY and into Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks we saw quite a stark change in landscape from the bleak canyons of red rock to the alpine evergreen forests filled with crisp mountain air. Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks are two of the most inspiring places I have ever visited in my life, and it’s no wonder that the former was the catalyst for creating the whole National Park Service. The sheer size of the park alone is a thing to behold and within each corner of its boundaries there are completely different ecosystems and scenery to discover and admire. We tried our best to capture the essence of those parks through the songs below, but if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit either park they should certainly be on every traveler’s bucket list. Make sure to subscribe to the full playlist below and follow along as we continue our cross country journey.

Modest Mouse – “Blame It On The Tetons”

Our drive through Grand Teton was brief, but also quite eventful. Not far past the entry gate we spied a coyote deep in a field of tall grass pulling apart a fresh kill for dinner. I’m guessing whatever animal it was that had fallen prey to the coyote would certainly agree with Isaac Brock in blaming its pitfalls on those pesky Tetons.

Jonathan Wilson – “Ballad of the Pines”

Even though we woke up in sub-30 degree weather at Yellowstone’s Bridge Bay Campground, putting this one on as we drove around Yellowstone Lake watching the sun rise made us completely forget the cold night air and focus on the beauty all around us in the park.

Fleet Foxes – “Meadowlarks”

I didn’t see any meadowlarks in my time at Yellowstone, nor do I know if Robin Pecknold has ever set foot in the park, but while exploring the northwest corner of the park in the early morning I couldn’t help but think that the Fleet Foxes frontman must have penned this one on a similar sunrise drive through the Lamar Valley.

Rich Aucoin – “Always The Same”

The build up and eventual climax of this song are the perfect accompaniment to driving along winding roads as you climb up and up into the heart of Yellowstone and finally reaching one of the parks may many awe-inspiring vistas. If you can ignore the irony of the song’s title as you explore the ever-changing landscapes of the park then this one will really boost your excitement for adventure.

Okkervil River – “The Rise”

Another song whose swirling strings and harmonies embody the constant fluctuations of Yellowstone’s terrain, “The Rise” is especially a great fit to go along with your exploration of the Norris Geyser Basin.

Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell – “Coyote”

For the wilder parts of Yellowstone– We knew as soon as we heard this song earlier in the summer that it would end up somewhere in the Cross Country Songbook and it found a perfect home alongside Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley where the park’s wildlife is most abundant (coyotes included of course).

The Rural Alberta Advantage – “The Build”

Though The RAA hail from our neighbor to the north, they sure do a wonderful job of encapsulating the adventure and romance of exploring America and imagining what it was like for some of the early preservationists who first explored these parks in the pre-NPS era.

Sigur Ros – ” Glosoli”

Put this on while you admire the Lower Falls of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and during your visit to the Canyon’s Grand View Point on the North Rim and you’ll be guaranteed to have your breath taken away.

Mogwai – “Death Rays”

Sometimes words can’t describe natural beauty so that’s why we let the powerful guitars of Mogwai do the talking and help to capture the majesty and grandeur of the mountains and landscape within Glacier National Park.

Yo La Tengo – “Green Arrow”

After a long trek through three National Parks in four days, this Yo La Tengo tune soundtracked our comedown from the high of taking in so much of America’s natural beauty in such a short period of time.

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Cross Country Songbook: Wilco Live at Red Butte Garden 8/18/15

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WIlco at Red Butte Garden

After hiking our way through Canyonlands and Arches National Parks last week (see our accompanying playlist here), myself and fellow M&T contributors Jeff and Kyle were able to catch a Wilco show in Salt Lake City. Isn’t it a beautiful thing when timing works out like that? And if you’ve never been before we can tell you about another beautiful thing— Red Butte Garden. The 3,000 capacity amphitheater and arboretum on the campus of the University of Utah was an absolutely picturesque setting to enjoy an intimate show with one of our favorite bands. The picture above (and any other pictures you can find on the internet for that matter) don’t do the venue any justice, but you can take our word for it, if you’re ever in Salt Lake City you need to catch a show there. Not only is the venue general admission (save for a small section reserved for sponsors and other VIPs) it’s also BYOB. Now if you don’t think that’s a win-win then you must be out of your mind.

When you have a gorgeous venue like Red Butte Garden, artists always tend to bring their A game and on this night Wilco did just that. On recent tour dates they have been starting their shows by ripping through their new album, Star Wars, front to back and this performance was no different. Though the whole album took them only a mere 40 minutes to perform they certainly didn’t hold back from incorporating some jam sections into songs like “Where Do I Begin” which featured three part guitarmonies by Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline, and Pat Sansone. After playing through Star Wars the band went straight into “Handshake Drugs” and it was on from there. The band played through 20+ additional tunes after finishing off their new record and their setlist selection was magical to say the least. They covered their whole 20 year discography and then some, mixing in tunes from their collaborative Woody Guthrie project with Billy Bragg as well as Tweedy’s Uncle Tupelo days. Highlights included a face melting solo from Cline on “Impossible Germany” (after which Tweedy called out a fan in the front row for being on their phone through the duration of the shredding), the selection of songs from A Ghost Is Born (“Handshake Drugs”, “Hummingbird:, “The Late Greats”, and “Spiders (Kidsmoke)”), and the all-acoustic second encore which even gave John Stirratt a turn at lead vocals on “It’s Just That Simple.” Between the gorgeous venue and the perfect setlist we couldn’t have asked for much more from a Tuesday night in Salt Lake City, and if we’re ever back in Utah you can bet we’ll be making a return trip to Red Butte Garden for whatever show is on.

Check out the full setlist for Wilco’s show below and make sure to follow along with our Cross Country Songbook coverage as we weave our way out to LA and back to Brooklyn, stopping along the way to see shows and investigate local music scenes.

1. EKG (band entered to recorded version)

2. More…

3. Random Name Generator

4. The Joke Explained

5. You Satellite

6. Taste The Ceiling

7. Pickled Ginger

8. Where Do I Begin

9. Cold Slope

10. King Of You

11. Magnetized

12. Handshake Drugs

13. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

14. Art of Almost

15. Hummingbird

16. Box Full Of Letters

17. Secrets of the Sea

18. Heavy Metal Drummer

19. I’m The Man Who Loves You

20. Dawned On Me

21. Via Chicago

22. Jesus Etc.

23. Born Alone

24. Impossible Germany

25. The Late Greats


26. Spiders (Kidsmoke)


27. Misunderstood

28. War On War

29. It’s Just That Simple

30. Give Back The Key To My Heart (Uncle Tupelo cover)

31. California Stars

32. A Shot In The Arm

Cross Country Songbook: The American Southwest + Utah Parks

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Cross Country Songbook: Southwest + Utah ParksTraveling through the American Southwest then up to Denver and Moab offers some of the most interesting landscape I’ve ever seen. Driving from Dallas to Santa Fe there is a whole lot of nothing, and when I say nothing I mean no gas stations, no houses, not even any cattle or cowboys like you see in the movies. Santa Fe to Denver is a stark contrast from the bleakness of North Texas, but after a long drive curving through the mountains, the straight highways and city lights of Denver can be a welcoming sign. And then there’s Moab and its two National Parks— Arches and Canyonlands, the natural beauty of each being quite the sight to behold. Over our nearly week-long journey from Dallas to Moab we listened to plenty of tunes, but we picked only the best set of tunes to share, all of which were inspired by different parts of the trip. Luckily I also had Caroline, Jeff, and Kyle from the M&T crew along for different stretches of the drive to keep me company, and of course help curate this playlist. Make sure to subscribe to the full playlist below and follow along as we continue our cross country journey.

Band Of Horses – “The First Song”

Band Of Horses is essential for any driving playlist, but the sweeping slide guitar and vocals of “The First Song” immediately came to mind as soon as we made it out of Dallas.

Damien Jurado – “Silver Timothy”

During portions of the drive from Dallas to Santa Fe there were long stretches of nothing, so much so that the landscape looked almost alien. This tune from Jurado’s 2014 record, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, has a distinct vibe that meshes beautifully with the seemingly extraterrestrial scenery.

Rayland Baxter – “Rugged Lovers”

Rayland’s new record was on heavy rotation throughout the Southwestern leg of the trip and we kept coming back to this track that fit so perfectly with the drive.

Zoe Muth – “Mama Needs A Margarita”

After running into some vehicle issues on the way to Santa Fe the promise of margaritas at our destination was a much needed motivator to keep pressing onward.

Beirut – “Santa Fe”

Once we hit the city limits we just had to throw this one on in celebration.

Ennio Morriconne – “The Ecstasy of Gold”

Have you ever driven through northern New Mexico? If you have you’ll know that the scenery and surroundings make you feel like a badass cowboy from a Sergio Leone movie. Thus, it was only appropriate to throw on Ennio Morricone’s masterpiece from Leone’s classic The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

Eddie Vedder – “Setting Forth”

We know it’s a bit cliche since it already appears on the Into The Wild soundtrack, but as we drove through Utah we all agreed that Eddie did a damn good job creating a sound that captures the American outdoors.

The Who – “I Can See For Miles”

Hiking through Canyonlands and Arches one can take this song’s chorus quite literally. Standing atop various plateaus and overlooks in each park there is nothing to obscure your view for miles and miles. Literally, it’s actually quite unreal.

Broken Social Scene – “Sweetest Kill”

Creepy lyrics aside, the soundscape that Kevin Drew and co. create in this song is the perfect soundtrack for a nighttime drive through the desert under a massive sky filled with stars.

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Cross Country Songbook: My Morning Jacket Live at Red Rocks 8/14/2015

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My Morning Jacket Live at Red Rocks

This past May I visited the Gorge Amphitheatre for the Sasquatch Festival and the views from the main stage were literally breathtaking. I wasn’t sure that there could ever be another outdoor concert experience to top that, but visiting Red Rocks Amphitheatre last week was damn near close. It didn’t hurt either to be seeing my favorite band of all-time with some of my favorite people of all-time (2 of which happened to be geologists that were geeking out about the rock formations), to really enhance the experience. MMJ’s set in Birmingham earlier that week was a treat to say the least, but we all knew that the band’s trip to central Colorado was bound to be a highlight of their tour. As you might have guessed at this point, our prediction was completely right.

Touring behind the powerhouse of a record that is The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket has solidified themselves as one of the greatest live bands playing today and their performance at Red Rocks was certainly a testament to that. Over the course of three hours the band played through nearly 30 songs, even mixing together new and old tunes into interesting hybrid arrangements (see “Steam Engine/Only Memories Remain/Steam Engine” below). Throughout the concert I found myself so locked into the band’s performance that I was startled from time to time when the giant red rock formations caught the corner of my eye and I remembered where we were and how special this place was. For my first visit to Red Rocks (and certainly not my last) I couldn’t have hoped for a better concert and group of people to share it with.

Check out the full setlist and an epic video of “Mahgeeta” below, and make sure to stay tuned to M&T for more updates from the road.

1. Wordless Chorus

2. Compound Fracture

3. Off The Record

4. Circuital

5. Believe (Nobody Knows)

6. Bermuda Highway

7. I’m Amazed

8. Evil Urges

9. Dondante

10. Lay Low

11. At Dawn

12. In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)

13. Gideon

14. Tropics (Erase Traces)

15. I Think I’m Going To Hell

16. Spring (Among The Living)

17. Anytime

18. + 19. Steam Engine/Only Memories Remain/ Steam Engine

20. Phone Went West

21. Mahgeeta


22. Wonderful (with Brandi Carlile)

23. Victory Dance

24. Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 1

25. Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 2

26. Highly Suspicious

27. Run Thru

28. One Big Holiday

Cross Country Songbook: The Ralston Listening Library

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The Ralston Listening LibraryWhat if I told you there was a place that was designed for the sole purpose of listening to vinyl records and hi-def digital recordings? Not just some hobbyist’s mancave, but a place where every single aspect of the room is designed with acoustics in mind. When I say every aspect I mean that even the way the concrete was poured during construction of the room was done so in a way to make the room more acoustically pleasing. This is a place where not only the chairs themselves, but the position of each chair within the room is meticulously designed and decided upon so as to accommodate the most pristine listening experience. What is this place you ask? Heaven? Nay it is but The William Ralston Listening Library at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennnessee.

As part of my Cross Country Songbook journey I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Ralston Library and basking in all of its audio glory earlier this week. I set up an appointment with one of the library’s curators and experts, a former Sewanee student named Ryan Currie who was incredibly knowledgable about the room, the equipment, and the collection of music housed there. Ryan explained how the collection of over 16,000 vinyl records was donated primarily by two former University English professors– Father William Ralston and Charles Harrison, with the former contributing nearly 80% of the aforementioned 16,000 records and the latter about 15% of the total collection. He also detailed how a current University English professor, Tam Carlson, spearheaded the private fundraising efforts to actually build the room and hire audio and design consultants to create the unrivaled listening experience that Ralston and Harrison dreamed of when they left their respective collections to the school.

After learning about the history of the room it was time to take the equipment for a spin. I was a bit overwhelmed by the selection of music at my disposal, so I asked Ryan if he could make any recommendations for a good starting point. Since the majority of the vinyl collection is classical music, Ryan chose a recording of Mozart’s Requiem to start things off. What I heard as soon as the needle dropped was simply astounding. Even though there were only two stacks of speakers positioned at the front of the room, I could hear the music coming at me from all directions. It was startling at first and a bit of a mind game since I expected the sound to come only from the direction where I saw the actual speakers, but that’s far from the case in a room like the Ralston Library. This sensation was what Ryan described as a “shimmer and dispersion effect” created by the paneling within the room which results in aural waterfall flowing around you from all angles.

Once I adjusted to the auditory experience I discussed the library’s contemporary collection with Ryan and made a few selections of my own to listen to. Here are the songs that we explored:

The Beatles – “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”

I started off my selections with one of my favorite Beatles tunes and the speakers in the Ralston Library breathed a whole new life into the song for me, mostly due to the intensity of Lennon’s lead guitar line and how sinister, and frankly frightening, these speakers made it sound.

James Blake – “The Wilhelm Scream”

The intricacy of this recording, and specifically the panning of its different sounds, was highly intensified through the room’s speakers. It felt almost as if the sounds were bouncing and darting across every crevice of the room and not just existing in the two speakers that were in front of me.

Radiohead – “Bodysnatchers” + “Videotape”

Everyone knows how much care and effort that Radiohead puts into their recording process and when you listen to their music in a million dollar listening room you appreciate the band’s thoughtful approach to the recording process that much more.

Duke Ellington – “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”

Even though this selection was recorded live at Carnegie Hall in the ’40s it still sounded incredible to hear that big band sound on this system even if the original recording wasn’t the greatest quality.

London Symphony Orchestra – “Star Wars Main Theme”

When I saw this vinyl hanging out in the soundtrack section of the collection I just had to do it, and oh am I glad I did. I don’t think that I have ever heard a recorded brass section sound so crisp and so present in my life.

Jimi Hendrix – “Are You Experienced”

Yes Jimi, after sitting in that room for two hours I certainly am.

If you ever find yourself even remotely near Sewanee, Tennessee I cannot stress enough how highly I recommend setting up an appointment to visit the Ralston Listening Library. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and may well lead to me maxing out a ridiculous amount of credit cards to finance a similar setup for my Brooklyn apartment. A kid can dream right?

Cross Country Songbook: My Morning Jacket Live at BJCC Concert Hall 8/10/2015

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My Morning Jacket at BJCC Concert Hall 8/10/2015

I’ve been to nearly 30 My Morning Jacket shows, but last night in Birmingham at the BJCC Concert Hall was a new experience for me with it being my first solo MMJ show. Once I arrived in Birmingham after a short drive from Nashville, I headed to the Avondale Brewing Company to get rid of those pre-show jitters. The brewery, who have quite a selection of delicious beers, also sports a pretty amazing backyard concert venue themselves. After downing a few Spring Street Saisons and making friends with fellow MMJ concert-goers at the brewery, I knew I had nothing to worry about for my first solo show.

Once I arrived at the venue, opener Mini Mansions had already taken the stage as the crowd was beginning to filter in. Though there was loud chatter throughout the set as fans were getting settled in their seats, it didn’t phase the band at all. They played their two most well-known songs, “Vertigo” and “Any Emotions”, back-to-back and judging from the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm it was very clear that everyone was strictly there for the main event. Don’t let that give you the wrong idea about Mini Mansions’ set though, they were very clearly pros (frontman Michael Shuman does play in Queens of the Stone Age after all) and in a mid-sized club headlining setting they would kill.

Like I mentioned though, everyone was eagerly anticipating the main event and as soon as the lights went down the crowd exploded into uproarious cheers. We’ve said it a million times before and we’ll say it again, one of the best things about this band is that you never know what you’re going to get from the setlist night after night. Last night’s show was no exception as the band chose “The Dark” as their opener, a move that immediately recalled their Forecastle Festival headlining set back in 2012 where they employed the same tune to kick things off. From there the band led us on a journey through their full discography, hitting on tracks from each of their seven albums over the course of the night. Highlights included Carl Broemel busting out the sax on “First Light”, an incredibly epic version of “Dondante”, pulling out “They Ran” from the depths of The Tennessee Fire, and  At Dawn‘s “Strangulation,” which is one of my personal favorites and is always a treat to hear performed live.

Throughout the evening Jim James was in complete control of the crowd, even interacting with nearly everyone in the first row with some weird ET-esque forefinger touching going on that only James could make look cool. It had been quite sometime since I’d seen MMJ indoors and one redeeming quality about that experience is the band’s light show. Perfectly timed and an element that helps to elevate MMJ’s songs to the next level, if that’s even possible.

The show was a great way to prepare for Friday’s Red Rocks performance and I have to commend the Birmingham crowd for bringing such high levels of energy to a show on a Monday night. Check out the full setlist below from last night’s show until we meet again at Red Rocks on Friday.

1. The Dark

2. Compound Fracture

3. Off The Record

4. First Light

5. Wordless Chorus

6. In Its Infancy

7. They Ran

8. Strangulation

9. Like A River

10. Believe

11. Tropics

12. Circuital

13. Dondante

14. Spring

15. Mahgeeta


16. Hopefully

17. Touch Me I’m Going To Scream, Pt. 2

18. Victory Dance

19. One Big Holiday

Cross Country Songbook: Setting Out

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Cross Country Songbook: Setting Out

As we drive from Brooklyn to Nashville on the initial leg of this journey, we bring you our first M&T curated playlist for the Cross Country Songbook. This playlist, entitled Setting Out, aims to capture the swirl of reflective, yet hopeful emotions we’re feeling as we hit the road, along with a handful of tunes that are perfect companions for a long highway drive. Read on below to find out why each song was included and make sure to listen/subscribe to the full playlist via Spotify at the bottom of the page.

The Decemberists – “A Beginning Song”

When I started thinking about leaving everything behind and hitting the road for 7 weeks, this is the first song that came to mind, and it doesn’t hurt either that the title is quite fitting.

Built to Spill – “Strange”

“This strange plan is random at best,” is what I imagine everyone is thinking when I tell them about this project.

Peter Bjorn and John – “Objects Of My Affection”

The chorus is a perfect reflection of the apprehension and subsequent reassurance I’ve felt about this trip over the past few weeks.

Rogue Wave – “Harmonium”

This song has been by my side on so many road trips over the years that it wouldn’t have felt right without it making an appearance on this playlist.

Tall Heights – “Eastern Standard Time”

An ode to the time zone I’ll be missing for the next 7 weeks.

New Order – “Age of Consent”

This one is not only a classic, but it’s also dying to be in the opening credits of an angsty road trip flick, amiright?

Delta Spirit – “Bushwick Blues”

Because it’s sad to be leaving Brooklyn behind, but also because it’s a damn good driving song.

Good Times Cocaine – “Back To You”

Another damn good driving song with a Brooklyn connection.

Doves – “Pounding”

The pulsating beat sets the driving pace on the highway, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they wrote the lyrics for this one in the midst of a long road trip.

Futurebirds – “Wild Heart”

This version from the Athens, GA rockers basically trims Stevie Nicks’ original down to just its chorus, which is the perfect fit for a long drive with the windows down.

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Maimed & Tamed Presents: Cross Country Songbook

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Artwork by Paul Rollinger

Artwork by Paul Rollinger

After years of covering our beloved Boston, and now Brooklyn music scenes, we decided it was time to take Maimed & Tamed on the road. During August and September we will be traveling across these great United States to bring you the Cross Country Songbook. Now you’re probably thinking, what’s a Cross Country Songbook? Glad you asked. As we travel from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and back we’ll be stopping in various cities along the way to learn more about local music scenes. In addition to presenting playlists and travel recommendations from our local liaisons in each city, the M&T crew will also be curating a series of playlists inspired by the landscape and scenery we pass through as we drive between each stop.

In each city we’ll be asking our local liaisons to provide two things for our readers:

  1. Curate a playlist that embodies their local indie music scene. The songs could be by bands who are currently playing the local circuit, legacy acts who helped to shape what the scene is today, or a mix of both. We want you, the readers, to experience the city through the eyes (or ears) of a local.
  2. Tell our readers about their favorite spots in town, music related or otherwise. It could be their favorite record store, the DIY venue where everyone in the know goes for shows, the go-to late-night eatery, the new art gallery everyone is talking about, etc. This project is intended to appeal to everyone out there on the internet who is interested in both music and travel. For each location we visit we want to leave you the readers with some ideas for unique places to check out if you’re ever in that city.

We’ll be documenting our journey here and on social media so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And since hashtags are so in these days you’ll be able to find all of our posts with #CrossCountrySongbook too. While you’re at it give a follow to the one and only Mr. Paul Rollinger who created the wonderful artwork above.

If you or anyone you know would like to get involved in the project send an email to yours truly at eric[at]maimedandtamed.com with ‘Cross Country Songbook’ in the subject. We’ll be stopping in all the cities below and would be willing to make a detour if you promise us cool bands and a couch to crash on.




Santa Fe


Salt Lake City



San Francisco

Los Angeles