As a passionate fan of music, I was delighted to find Act As If’s “There’s a Light” earlier this year — so much, that we at Speakers in Code made it a Pajammy Jam of the Day back in April. It’s a feel-good tune, with the road ahead of us viewed as a positive one (I sooo need more songs like this in my life). If you missed our little post on that wonderful tune, well, here it is again.
Act As If is led by the multi-talented, LA-based artist Peter Verdell, a songwriter blessed with a great voice and a unique sense of imagery in his lyrics. I’d highly recommend purchasing a copy of their debut LP, There’s a Light, if you want to find a new favorite batch of songs. Or, maybe you just want to smile. That works, too.
Today, we’re proud to bring you Verdell’s song selections for the latest 10 to Spin at SIC. You’re gonna want to get in your car, roll down the windows, and find the nearest freeway. Here’s another soundtrack to your summer.
“Songs I blast while driving through LA in the summer.”
“Losing Touch” by The Killers
I would have never thought that my favorite Killers song would come from their 3rd studio album (Day and Age), but it easily takes the cake. Something about it makes me feel really cool; I can’t quite explain why. This song + windows down + drumming on my steering wheel = yes, please.
“As Tall as Cliffs” by Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s
Hand-claps galore, acoustic guitar, harmonica, beautiful (and slightly imperfect) vocals…I can never get enough of this song. It’s as close to a ‘summer jam’ as Margot will probably ever release…but it’s enough.
“Conversation 16” by The National
I know that die-hard National fans would prefer songs off Alligator or Boxer…but High Violet is just as solid in my opinion. “Conversation 16′” struck a chord with me the first time I heard it, and I often listen to it on repeat. Driving toward downtown with this song blaring feels like doing warm-ups before a sports game. It gets me psyched.
“1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins
“Junebug skipping like a stone, with the headlights pointed at the dawn”…the melody, lyrics, and beat of this song combine so perfectly…and give me an overwhelming sense of joy and freedom. It makes me feel like there are endless possibilities to whatever I’m about to do. Classic driving song.
“Driveway” by Great Northern
Great Northern are one of my favorite local LA bands. This is a slower song, but just epic and really pretty. I love listening to it on the drive home from LA or Hollywood. Dark sky, bright lights, wide open freeway. Mmmm.
“Nuclear” by Ryan Adams
More of a daytime jam, ‘Nuclear’ has a really laid back, alt-country vibe. It’s so easy going and straight-ahead…it makes me feel really good about life. Sunglasses are on, the windows are definitely rolled down, and I’m probably thinking about girls.
“Be Healed” by Paper Route [listen]
This is my favorite track from Paper Route’s Absence. “Be Healed” is a great song to play on the drive home from any night out on the town. If you’re a little tired, or maybe thoughtful, this song will accentuate your drive in the best possible way. And it’s fun to sing.
“Speak Now” by Taylor Swift
Should I even put this down? Probably not. Oh well. Taylor Swift is pretty awesome…seriously now…and this song is way too catchy. I feel lame when I have my windows down and people pull up next to me while I’m listening to this. But would Act As If tour with Taylor Swift if she asked? Heck yes.
“New Way Home” by Foo Fighters
One of the first albums I fell in love with is The Colour and the Shape. This song is the perfect ending to that album, and a great song to listen to on hot LA days. Would Act As If tour with the Foo Fighters if they asked? Heck yes.
“Sad Sweetheart of the Rodeo” by Harvey Danger
You remember Harvey Danger…right? I’ve always thought that their first album (the one with “Flagpole Sitta” on it) is one of the most underrated indie-rock records of the 90’s. [incidentally, the first show I ever saw was Harvey Danger at a small club in downtown Olympia…and guess who opened? Death Cab for Cutie] Anyway, “Sad Sweetheart of the Rodeo” is a great song for a daytime drive around town. Tambourine, organ, sarcastic lyrics, catchy chorus. Delightful.