Alt-J – Taro
If you haven’t yet heard of Alt-J, I’m absolutely convinced they will top your 2014 playlists. Touring and quickly gaining popularity on just one studio album, this British band is one to watch. ‘Taro’ is one of my favorite songs from their 2012 album An Awesome Wave and the accompanying video is enough incentive to hop on the next flight to New Delhi.
Arcade Fire – Rococo
Arcade Fire has a big year ahead after recently releasing their fourth studio album and announcing a nation-wide tour; I have a feeling we’ll see this act at quite a few festivals this summer as well. The song ‘Rococo’ is from their well-received 2010 album The Suburbs, and though it doesn’t particularly hit on themes of travel or getting away, you can’t deny this is the perfect song to listen to while traveling down a long stretch of road, perhaps on the way to your favorite music fest.
Beirut – Santa Fe
The above video is actually an entire Tiny Desk Concert performed by Beirut in 2011, however ‘Santa Fe’ (3:41) is the song to pay particular attention to. Yes, they may be just a bit dweeb-y. And yes, there is someone playing an accordion. Nevertheless, this is one of my all-time favorite bands as they consistently provide a catchy, upbeat soundtrack for whatever road trip I may be on. I much prefer their studio music, so you can give that a listen if you would like.
Cold War Kids – Miracle Mile
I, personally, do not think this band gets the credit they deserve. Performing strongly live and in the studio, Cold War Kids provides you and your ears with four albums worth of indie gold. ‘Miracle Mile’ is from their recently released album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. Other tunes to include on your playlist? Try ‘Louder Than Ever’, ‘Hospital Beds’, or ‘Broken Open’.
The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It
Try. Just try to tell me you don’t crack a gigantic grin every time you listen to this song. It’s contagious. And try to tell me you can’t imagine listening to this en route to your next big adventure. I know you can.
Local Natives – Airplanes
Local Natives are a goofy band out of California gaining notoriety after a second album release in 2013. The song ‘Airplanes’ is actually quite angsty, which might be perfect to listen to if you’ve recently traveled a long distance and left a significant other behind. Or if you just like good music.
Matt and Kim – Cameras
I could recommend numerous Matt and Kim ditties to listen to on a long trip, however this one seems to stand out with the lyrics, “No time for cameras, we’ll use our eyes instead.” As we’ve pointed out before, it’s quite easy to get caught up in documenting our travels instead of truly enjoying them. And if you don’t take this advice, the duo will show up and slap you around like they do in the video. No really, watch it.
Mumford & Sons – Hopeless Wanderer
How could this song not make our list? With a hilarious video to boot.
Portugal. The Man. – So American
Perhaps your travels are bringing you to the United States to discover the wonders it has to offer. You simply cannot enter its borders (or travel between state lines if you are already here) without giving this song a listen. Nearly every person I introduce Portugal. The Man. to wishes they would have discovered them earlier. With a recent album release in 2013, there is plenty to catch up on.
Savoir Adore – Dreamers
Rounding out our list is a little-known band I recently discovered and a song I’ve had on repeat for months. We’re all dreaming of our next adventure, let this song be your inspiration.