Playlist: Coping with OC Commute that 'Impacts Country's Worst'

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Flickr user moondoggie71

​My coworker over at our Navel Gazing blog recently posted "OC Impacts Some of Country's Worst Commutes." The shit gets real thick and nasty on the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles, where speeds average 14 mph during the most congested times. But sitting in the CA-55 on my way home from Costa Mesa to Newport Beach can be a crawl, too. After living in Southern California for the past two months, traffic definitely ranks as the No. 1 drawback. Yeah, I'd heard about it dragging ass but never imagined how much time I would be spending in my car on any given day. Here are some songs I downloaded for the drive I'm about to make home.

Click title for YouTube clip.

"Lincoln Highway Dub," Sublime

"Traffic Light," the Ting Tings

"Freeway," Aimee Mann

"The Traffic Jam," Stephen Marley featuring Damian Marley

"Accidents Will Happen," Elvis Costello

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Songs for Octomom, OC's Worst Neighbor

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La Habra freak show Nadya "Octomom" Suleman closed out 2009 as the nation's least desirable neighbor. Now, that's impressive. I spent the past decade blasting music and screaming to friends--we thought we were talking--at all hours of the night and what did I get? Nothing. No award. No mention of my obnoxiousness in any news outlets--except the ones I wrote for. Just the occasional visit from the friendly Florida policeman reminding my cohorts and I that the old ladies down the street were trying to sleep and, please, keep it the fuck down. Octomom, here's to you, the least talented person in the history of humankind to routinely make headlines.

Click on song title for YouTube clip.

"You're Crazy," Guns N' Roses

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Happy New Year! Here's the Hangover Playlist

Categories: playlist
Head's on fire. Stomach turns. Bruises in the oddest places. Who's that stranger snoring on my sofa? Happy New Year's! The day when we all try to put together the pieces from the previous night's debauchery. Here are some songs to help you nurse that world-class hangover.

Flickr user Sebastian-Dario
Click on song title for YouTube clip.

"I Got Loaded," Los Lobos (live with Elvis Costello)
"If It's Monday Morning,"  Beck, Eddie Vedder and Mike Ness (covering Lee Hazelwood classic in concert)
"Just Ain't Easy," Allman Brothers Band
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New Year's Eve Party Playlist

Categories: playlist
Looking for some tunes to blast at the bash you're hosting tonight? Or maybe to crank up in the car on your way to a slamming soiree? Here's my New Year's Eve Party Playlist, featuring the best from the past year and stone cold classics. Enjoy.
Flickr user Sada 1988
Click song title for YouTube clip.

"Shine Blockas," Big Boi featuring Gucci Mane
"Zero," Yeah Yeah Yeahs
"Raindrops," Basement Jaxx
"Superfly," Curtis Mayfield
"Surf Solar," Fuck Buttons
"2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted," 2Pac and Snoop Dogg
"White Riot," the Clash
"Out of the Blue," Julian Casablancas
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Weepy, Rainy Day Playlist

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I understand it doesn't rain much in Southern California. That's a good thing. These gloomy skies make me want to curl up on the sofa with strong drink and do nothing but listen to sad, sad songs--timeless ones that equate rain with sorrow.
Here are my faves. Enjoy. With cocktails. And no one around to see you wipe away that manly tear.

Click on song title for YouTube clip.  

"Make It Rain," Tom Waits
"It's Been Raining," Kimya Dawson
"Buckets of Rain," Neko Case (covering Bob Dylan)
"Another Rainy Day," Corinne Bailey Rae 
"Raining in Darling," Bonnie Prince Billy
"I Wish It Would Rain," the Temptations
"None But the Rain," Townes Van Zandt
"It's Raining," Irma Thomas

Playlist: Songs about Southern California

Categories: playlist
The sun finally reappeared today and I decided to play tourist. I've been promising my family pictures of where I live for the past two weeks. I'm from Florida. My parents have never been to California. Only one of my three younger siblings has visited the state. 

So, I got on my bicycle and clicked a bunch of pictures of where I live on the Balboa Peninsula of Newport Beach. Only a tiny portion of Southern California, I know, but it got me thinking about quintessential songs about the region: Beach Boys, Weezer, all kinds of stuff. 

These are popular songs. Songs that have stirred my imagination for years. Songs about a place that seems strange and exotic and, well, magical if you grow up on the other side of the continent. Here's my SoCal playlist.
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'I'm Cold!' Playlist

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This cold front is killing me. Literally. I think. Being from Florida, I don't do well when the temperature dips below, say, 72. 

I moved into pretty much the smallest, oldest bungalow on the Balboa Peninsula of Newport Beach. The place is wonderfully funky. I love it. Or loved it. For the first week or so. And then the icy night air started creeping in through the ancient wood planks and I realized, contrary to what my landlady said, not having a working heater is a serious problem. 

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Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

I've been bear-hugged by Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo Green. Talked politics with Toby Keith. Sat with Norah Jones just weeks after her multi-platinum debut dropped and killed a pint of Bushmills with AC/DC singer Brian Johnson. All of this went down during the past decade while writing for Florida publications including Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, the alt-weekly that employed me as chief music critic through 2007-08. In 2009, my artist interviews, record reviews, etc., have run in publications nationwide including OC Weekly sister papers Miami New Times, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, Denver Westword and Dallas Observer

Musicians are an interesting bunch--I love telling their stories, whether it's about the rigors of rehearsing in a 100-degree, abandoned warehouse or the perks of playing 20,000-capacity sheds. I appreciate songs that hit me on a gut level, bring a manly tear to my eye, blow my mind or melt my face. 

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