I’m sensing a very foreign theme here. Not just geographically as most of these artists are Western European, but in a time sense too. Edith Piaf and Frank Sinatra (once again) grace the list with their soulful, jazzy voices. Shout out to the only ATX band on the list, Ghostland Observatory.

  1. 1901 – Phoenix

 This Versailles band is known to insert many historical symbols in their songs and “1901” is no different.

“Girlfriend, your girlfriend is drifting away / 1855 – 1901 / watch them build a meteor tower / think it’s not gonna stay anyway / think it’s overrated”

They reference France’s time period that included the Art Noveau Movement and the World’s Fair of 1889, which, for you history and architectural nerds out there smiling, was the debut of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Most Parisians hated the Tower, seeing it as a total eyesore. But the World’s Fair was a time of seeing far into the future, so the Tower was meant to stand as a symbol of the future. When the World’s Fair ended and new monuments were made elsewhere, the Tower only became a symbol of a society that is stuck in its glorified past. This could also pertain to a modern-setting such as a relationship stuck in a rut.

2. The Mother We Share – CHVCHES

Every time I listen to this song by the Scottish band, I always find a different meaning or story. I’ve heard it as a story about Lauren Mayberry’s experience with other bands. I’ve heard it as one person with two streams of consciousness essentially fighting for dominance. I’ve heard it as a brother-sister relationship in which one has to take care of the other due to incompetent parents. It’s a great song and their music has helped me write many stories.

3. Beautiful Lie – Ivan & Alyosha

Pretty sure this group is the most obscure hipster group I’ve got on my iPod/iPhone. Okay, maybe obscure is a stretch. I&A toured with Brandi Carlile and NeedtoBreathe earlier this decade. The group formed in Seattle back in 2007. They got a cool indie folk sound going. I found them a few years ago on Pandora (remember Pandora?).

4. Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash

Ah yes, the Clash. You can’t get better 70s/80s British punk than The Clash. Just saying.

5. Dare You (feat. Matthew Koma) – Hardwell

I’m not really into the DJs these days but years back I was interested. Hardwell is a Dutch DJ who got together with New Yorker Matthew Koma, whose early start was in punk rock before moving into the EDM world, writing songs for Zedd. The song is catchy. A total “get up and dance for the hell of it” song.

6. La Vie En Rose – Edith Piaf

If the playlist if foreign-themed, then you cannot forget Edith Piaf! The beautiful French sound is classic.

7. Sad Sad City – Ghostland Observatory

It’s not a true Downtown Travels Mixtape without at least one local ATX artist.

8. Call Me – St. Paul & the Broken Bones

I’m a sucker for the soulful. This six-piece band from Birmingham is amazing. They’ve got a trombone player and a baritone sax player. I wish I saw them in March when they came to Stubb’s. Good thing they’re coming back this September to play at the Cedar Park Center (HEB Center for the newbies).

9. The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra

You know my saying: Frank Sinatra is the answer to everything. I feel like watching My Best Friend’s Wedding on my VCR.

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