Are you one of those people who cannot stop from humming a tune whilst en route, or that associate a record to a particular trip? Then you’re not alone! These are the albums I’m listening to while travelling these days, tell me yours!
Left Lane Cruiser – Rock Them Back to Hell. A simplistic way of describing them would be “The Black Keys that haven’t been to Jools Holland yet”, but that would be unfair to them. A duo from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Left Lane Cruiser put together a rough, robust blues rock with distorted guitars aplenty and powerful drums. Rock Them Back to Hell is their last album, released in 2013. Best played when: you’re overtaking Beemers with your rented car and who cares if the lady at Avis only gave you a 1.2 Fiat Panda.
Modeselektor – Monkeytown. Named after, I’ve been told, a switch on a Roland audio effects unit Modeselektor are a duo from Berlin that I first saw live at Watergate many moons ago, when my legs still allowed me to party it until 5 AM, and loved ever since. Monkeytown is a 2011 record in which fast-beating techno is mixed with more downtempo stuff; I don’t always listen to electronica album, preferring live mixes, but for this one I do make an exception. Best played when: for some unknown reason buried deep within my psyche the deep, bouncing beats of “Grillwalker” are my new “must-listen-to” song during the pushback and taxiing phases of a flight.
Tamikrest – Chatma. I have an unwavering love for African blues, especially Toureg’s. I’ve always been astonished at how vibrant the northen Mali musical scene is, especially considered that it’s a zone appearing in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Tamikrest is the new generation of Tamashek-singing blues Touaregs, now that Tinariwen have gone mainstream and did duets with TV on the Radio (but, thank goodness, Bono’s hasn’t set his sunglasses-blue gaze on them yet). Chatma is their last records . Best played when: while trying to catch some sleep in a hotel lost in some industrial estate, with the exciting prospective of a day’s worth of meetings ahead. It won’t change the reality but, hey, hopefully it’ll make for some nice dreams.
Kraftwerk – Tour de France. Yeah, I know, two German groups in a single post. But hey, if you feel like listening to electronic music it’s Germany you’ll have to get to – at the end of the day they practical invented the genre. Kraftwerk released this album as a homage to the iconic Tour, going to extent of dividing the record in étapes. It sounds refreshingly optimistic and, in my opinion, captures the essence of the Tour very well, from the passing of the whole thing through sleepy villages to the harsh Alpine tracks to, finally, the arrive on the Champs Élysées. I adore Kraftwerk, and I appreciate the serene, pan-European message that this and other records (Autobahn, Trans-Europe Express) convey: we’re all European and we live in the coolest continent possible. Best played when: as soon as your blood pressure rises when reading an article about the EU with David Cameron behaving like a cretin, Merkel like the shop owner, Lady Ashton as the usual useless waste of EU funds she is and Van Rompuy as someone who hasn’t got a clue about how he ended there. Close your eyes and dream it’s still1984 and Kohl and Mitterrand are holding hands at Verdun.