Road Trippin': A West Texas/Big Bend Playlist

Right after Christmas, Rocks Off hopped into our car and headed straight for the bowels of West Texas. It's a long drive to Big Bend, mostly through the middle of nowhere, huge swaths of land where even AM radio can't reach. Twelve hours in the car demands a certain kind of playlist that, like a gas station cup of coffee, keeps you energized and motivated to keep on truckin'.

Luckily, we were armed with a thick book of CDs, a mixtape provided by friends well versed in the desolate landscape of Big Bend Country, and our trusty ipod. Below, our road trip playlist.

The Zombies

While we're still in civilization, it's time to listen to something that sounds vintage now but was way ahead of its time when it came out. What's awesome about the Zombies is that none of their songs sound alike, yet every song is unified by singer Colin Blunstone's moody voice and Rod Argent's minor chord-heavy keys. The result? You can listen to them for hours and not get bored. Handy when everywhere you look are suburbs.

KTSW 89.9

When we get to San Antonio, Rocks Off hits the scanner to see what's on the dial. We remember several years back that San Antonio had a good Oldies station that played some deeper cuts as opposed to the standards but we can't seem to find it now. However, San Marcos' college radio station was playing modern psych and garage-rock on Monday afternoon and it was really good.

Unfortunately, we didn't catch the name of any of the bands, and their website only lists the DJs for that time slot, not the program's name. So thank you, Martin D. and Ty B. It looks like KTSW breaks often for sports and news, but there's also a local show focusing on bands from the Hill Country area that airs Monday evenings. You can even listen online.

2 Skinnee J's

Nerdcore hip-hop at its best. You have to love any band that can reference Methuselah *and* make it rhyme.

The Evaporators

Five hours now in the car and our will is starting to crumble. Truck stop coffee is not helping. We need something energetic. Several years ago, we went to a show at Sound Exchange hoping to hear Vancouver pop-punk band The Smugglers. They played with two other groups we'd never heard of, Thee Goblins and The Evaporators.

Turns out they're basically the same band, led by absurdist Canadian indie radio personality and professional annoying person Nardwuar the Human Serviette. They blew us away. We bought a split album by the bunch, and it's one of our all-time favorite one-off records. Perfect thing to wake us up from highway hypnosis.

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Shey is an experienced blogger, social media expert and traveler. She studied journalism at Oklahoma State University before working as a full-time reporter for Houston Community Newspapers in 2005. She lived in South Korea for three years, where she worked as a freelancer.
Contact: Brittanie Shey