SoundTrax: Running Free

In the age of the playlist, everyone has access to collections of songs hacked together due to arbitrary similarities. But what does that accomplish other than aid our forever shortening attention span, while making the idea of an album obsolete? SoundTrax is here to provide you with playlists that are more thought out, but still provide you with that instant gratification.

Do you remember that scene from Season 5 of Entourage when the boys take a trip” out to Joshua Tree, eat a bag full of shrooms and embark on their weekly thirty-minute hijinks filled adventure? It’s hard to forget, as one of the funniest episodes from the show’s eight-year (three too long in my opinion) career. What viewers often do forget four years after the episode premiered, is that the boys went out to Joshua Tree because Vince had a big decision to make regarding which movie role he would embark on, and they didn’t feel like such a monumental decision could properly be made in a big city.

Escaping the hustle and bustle of our daily lives is a universally appealing thought, but often disregarded as an irresponsible adolescent ideal. At SoundTrax we say “Screw that!” Take a day off from work, hop in your car and head out to your nearest Joshua Tree (an open field will do just fine). Forget the cell phone and laptop, all you’ll need is a sleeping bag, a handful of good friends and maybe a flashlight or two. While we do condone playing hooky from work, we can’t advocate drug use, so maybe lay off the magic mushrooms.

SoundTrax: Running Free from OurStage on 8tracks.

The music found on this playlist features bombastic, sprawling arrangements, often highlighting a heavy use of strings, with guitar riffs that chug along in repetition until they’re engrained in your soul. This is music made to run through open fields, arms outstretched, head to the sky, screaming at the top of your lungs, just because you can. And when you’re done, sprawl out on your back and watch the stars and moon swirl above you. Each song builds to a climax much greater than the sum of its parts, pulling the listener on an emotional and sonic journey that has a clear trajectory, but one that is open enough for the listener to fill in their own story.

Now that I’ve fulfilled your daily quota of thoughtful hippie musings, take a break from your stressful day and enjoy this stellar collection of tunes.

SoundTrax veteran Sigur Rós kicks off this sonic journey with a fuzzy rock epic featuring a string section that sounds like it’s being played by the planets themselves. OurStage band Sleeperstar picks up the momentum with their riff-driven song Everything Must Find Its Place, before Damien Rice, OurStage act Paper Hours and Gary Go bring the energy level back down a bit. Funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers take us on a trip back in time with this psychedelic-sounding tune, that seems rather static until all the pent up energy releases into one of the most inspired yet simple guitar solos in modern rock music. Relatively unknown band The Kin provide us with another tune full of forward momentum, but they achieve this through a march-like drum pattern and an excellent vocal performance. As the sun comes back up, this edition of SoundTrax closes out with something a bit different than the vibe that has already been established, but provides a nice resolution to all the tension that has been building. OurStage band Gentleman Hall provide us with a bass driven, synth-laden tune, that features an irresistible hook that will make you want to sing-a-long with all your friends, and run across the open field, if you haven’t started already.