The Chronicle Playlist: Tunes for a Summer Road Trip


Justin Prather

(Photo by Justin Prather | The Daily Utah Chronicle).

By Kate Button, Arts Writer, Copy Editor


The turning of the seasons from spring to summer typically brings warmer weather, but for me, this seasonal change also entails shifts in my listening habits. When I might turn to more grunge and rock artists during the colder months, the sunny warm weather finds me reaching for more pop and other light-hearted genres. Summer also tends to be the time that I embark on road trips — with either friends or family — and now that flying is considered to be more of a risky action in light of COVID-19, I have a feeling that these next few months will see greater hordes of individuals trying to escape via the open road. So, here is my playlist for hitting the road, enjoying the sunshine and embracing the possibilities that may lie ahead. 


“drive all night”


Kicking off the playlist, I had to include joan’s detailed account of wanting to drive through the night, just to be with your loved ones. This band from Arkansas revitalizes ‘80s influences alongside indie-pop to craft an irresistible combination. 


“All of the Noise”


Castlecomer was the very first band I saw at Kilby Court, my favorite Salt Lake concert venue, so they will always be a nostalgic choice for me. The first time I listened to this song from the Australian band, it immediately felt like it was designed to be played while piling into a car with friends and driving down a highway.


“Funky Galileo”

Sure Sure

Full of strong bass lines and a rhythm that begs you to clap along, this track embodies the feeling of defying those who aim to prove you wrong — whether it’s Galileo proving that the Earth revolves around the sun or discovering who you’re meant to be. 




This latest release from Wallows centers around reaching reconciliation and is tied together through glittering keys and a captivating rhythm guitar.  


“There’s Still a Light in The House”


As one of their most successful tracks, this song from Valley — a four-piece band from Toronto — presents a beautiful introduction to their blend of alternative pop sprinkled with plenty of clever lyrics throughout.



Tessa Violet

Unlike her last name, Violet’s music signals colors of yellow — and her brightly optimistic lyrics beg for an audience to sing along. 


“Daphne Blue”


As one of my favorite songs from The Band CAMINO, this track plays into color and memory through instrumentals full of rock influence alongside passionate vocals. 




This song from Beck is one of my all-time favorites — the “sun-eyed girl” walking “crooked down the beach” with dark sunglasses will never fail to remind me of summertime, no matter how dark the rest of the lyrics may be. 


“Chasing Waves”

Vista Kicks

As an LA-based band, this surfer rock track epitomizes the sentiments of following your dreams and riding out the wave of success while simultaneously fielding the criticism, “get a grip, go to school, have a family.” 


“Weekend Friend”

Goth Babe

In this song, Goth Babe embraces shimmering indie-pop to echo a free-spirited and truly independent nature.   



King Princess

While this track might offer slower moments, the chorus nevertheless tackles an energy of remembering a past love — fully exploring multiple areas of the bedroom pop genre. 


“Freakin’ Out on The Interstate”

Briston Maroney

As a more folksy take on the indie rock genre, this track fully encapsulates the primary feeling I experience while behind the wheel: freaking out — especially on the interstate. 



Still Woozy, ODIE

Still Woozy has long been one of my go-to artists for some feel-good indie pop, and this track’s careful harmony between the two vocalists works to further showcase the sun-dripped energy and the gentle love song that Still Woozy is known for.  


“If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) – Edit” 

The 1975

Leave it to The 1975 to release a single about a relationship over FaceTime to deliver a boost of serotonin to the masses while in quarantine. Full of ‘80s pop influence and a saxophone solo that delightfully finds a home, this track brightly pulses through whatever darkness we may be experiencing and invites all listeners to dance along.


“Back Pocket”


Fully embracing the indie-funk genre, this song from Vulfpeck about an elementary school relationship is exhilarating in its ‘70s style instrumentals with wonderfully repetitive lyrics. 


“where do you go”


Written from a place of pure happiness, this track easily reflects a blissful state of mind through a blend of indie-pop and rock genres. 



The Aces

After starting in Provo, The Aces have now enjoyed more commercial success that they’ve utilized to continue building upon their brightly energetic form of alternative pop.  


“Cranberry Telephone”

Corn on My Dinner Plate

This group’s fusion of indie rock and jazz clearly excels in this track about staying in the moment and remaining optimistic for the future. 



The Lonely Biscuits

As my favorite band of the moment, The Lonely Biscuits’ use of ‘90s slacker rock and indie alternative genres is the perfect home for bright guitar riffs and quirky songs about love and heartbreak. 


“Live at the Swamp”

Peach Pit

In the latest album from this Vancouver-based band, Peach Pit explores a more refined breezy bedroom pop with irresistible guitar grooves that continue to reel the listener in while the core of the track retains the iconic laid-back sentiment of the group. 


While I decided to not include more standard road trip jams like “Life is a Highway” or “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” these songs embody what I imagine as the energy of a summer road trip. This playlist can be found with other music recommendations from the Chronicle on our Spotify


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