Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals – Call It What It Is
Starting off with the kicker ‘When Sex Was Dirty’ a song about nostalgia. There’s a danger that this might just rely on Harper’s past success to be popular but he doesn’t rest on his laurels here. Backed on this album by the Innocent Criminals for the first time in eight years they don’t miss a beat. This album is the soundtrack you need on long drives. Its blend of funk, rock, acoustic and blues is perfect and the album doesn’t feel disjointed like it’s just a composition of singles stuck together. This album is as solid as anything he’s ever done.
The Cat Empire – Rising with the Sun
Having slept on these guys for a few years after enjoying their earlier stuff so much, I was stoked to rediscover them. This album is The Cat Empire back to their best. Wild and free, the way they always were, yet, more mature. A deeply musical experience that you can tell has been made for the love of music and performance rather than just to release an album. Stand out tracks are the opener ‘Run Like Wolves’, ‘Eagle’ and ‘Daggers Drawn’. A musical odyssey destined to rival their album ‘Two Shoes’, this album is perfect in the morning or to start a party. If you ever get the chance to catch these guys live, you must.
Urthboy – The Past Beats Inside Me Like a Second Heartbeat
A deeply personal album from a veteran in the Australian hip hop scene, exploring his own past, that of the country and its events. ‘Daughter of the Light’ is a tribute to his mother and her struggles, while ‘Little Girl’s Dad’ is a tribute to his daughter and his family life. Always on point, his lyrics resonate and the production is slick. The album flows as a whole all the way to the bonus track, ‘Nambucca Boy’ about the cricketer Phillip Hughes and his death after being hit on the helmet while playing. Five solo albums as well as five albums with The Herd and Urthboy is still pushing the limits both lyrically and sonically. Even if you’ve never liked Aussie hip hop there’s something for you on this album, check ‘Rushing Through Me’ featuring the songstress Bertie Blackman.
Dub Fx – Thinking Clear
The Australian Manu Chao is how I might describe Dub Fx to someone who has never heard him. Best known as a street performer, Dub Fx has honed his sound busking around the world carrying nothing but a backpack and getting by on change dropped in his hat. A mix of dub, world music, electronic and beats, he has a sound that is truly his own with varied influences but never a copy. If you want to hear the raw sound, check his album ‘Live on the street’. Otherwise kick back and enjoy this album under the stars or whenever driving. Stand out tracks are ‘Where I Belong’ and ‘Fake Paradise’.
Mome – Panorama
I discovered this on trip to France and while all his tracks are in English he doesn’t seem too well known outside of his home country but I’m sure that is set to change. Some chilled electronic that rolls up into some party anthems in ‘Alive” (vs Midnight to Monaco) or some travel gospel in ‘Hold On’ featuring Dylan Wright. Watch the film clip to this and you’ll want to hit the open road. Infectious and fun throughout, this album is perfect for #vanlife. Watch his ‘On the Top’ sessions on youTube to see him make music just for the love while sitting on top of his van in front of the Sydney Harbour bridge.
Ok so I love music and I couldn’t help but put in one more perfect road trip album. The throwback to a time when I’d only just got my licence and my car only had a tape player.
Pearl Jam – Yield
One of the most underrated Pearl Jam albums but one of my favourites. This album will soon be twenty years old! And the boys are still going strong, check out their latest album Lightening Bolt if you don’t believe me. If you have the time, listening to the entire Pearl Jam catalogue in chronological order would be a great way to spend a day, ten albums, a nice system and a hammock, maybe a beer or two. The packaging of some of these guys albums was simply phenomenal, anyone remember the days of CD’s? Vitalogy and Yield’s booklets were a piece of art, something missing from today’s music experience but at least my music collection can fit in my van on mp3. But the cover art from this album is just classic road trip, a road diminishing into the distance, ‘Yield’ to the open road it says, adventure awaits, let this album carry you far. And it still has the capacity to do so, Yield is a timeless album that will keep on giving for at least the next two decades. Favourite tracks would have to be ‘Given to Fly’ and ‘Brain of J.’ but this is an album I love from beginning to end.
Leave a comment of love or hate below but let me know what hot new music you are loving right now! Or just kick back with one of these albums and check out some of my adventures over at instagram. Till next time hope all your nights look like this….<a