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We spent our summer vacation making mix CDs of the best local music for driving, partying and making out

On the road again … and again … and again

SN&R’s driving mix

1. “Different View” by Two Sheds (
2. “Ocean Drive” by Six White Horses (
3. “Mary Anne” by Cuesta Drive (
4. “The Man Outside” by 2Me (
5. “Slipping Outside of Myself” by Scott McChane (
6. “Long Distance Friend” by Justin Farren (
7. “Those Things” by Be Brave Bold Robot (
8. “Indigo” by Apt 12 (
9. “Seaweed” by Bonfire (
10. “Freeway” by Out of Place (

Something about the open road inspires grandiose dreams. Desert visions of coyotes crooning at the moon, an infinite oceanic expanse and mellow plains invite the mind to imagine the possibilities of existence. Alone with a radio and the soundtrack in your head, the crawling asphalt can induce introspection.

Two Sheds’ folk-rock song “Different View” opens the CD with the desire to “get far away from here / to a place with a different view.” Six White Horses follow up with the escape plan: Freedom from home lies out on the road. The spontaneous road trip is given a motive in Cuesta Drive’s “Mary Anne,” about a troubled girl from Reno. By the time this track rolls around, you should be well on your way out of town and releasing a sigh of relaxation, giving you ample lung power to belt out the rock lyrics.

Two Sheds’ search for perspective culminates in “The Man Outside” by 2Me. Pulsing lyrics push 2Me’s indie-rock track to a climax of released emotion, allowing Scott McChane to slide over from the passenger seat and take the wheel in his acoustic hands. The metaphorical out-of-body perspective in McChane’s “Slipping Outside of Myself” makes it safe to examine the reason you left home in the first place, whether you’re running to the girl in Justin Farren’s “Long Distance Friend” or running from Be Brave Bold Robot’s false love interest.

But let’s not forget why the open road beckoned from the beginning: the freedom. The final three tracks by Apt 12, Bonfire and Out Of Place seem to have been written with the rush of wind and a beautiful view in mind. The jazz in Apt 12’s “Indigo” belongs in a stroll down a back road of a small Southern town, and Bonfire’s “Seaweed” could match the force of ocean waves with its acoustic strumming. “Freeway” by Out of Place is the inevitable conclusion to any road trip; every journey needs a final destination.

Let the lyrics in these 10 songs inspire your thoughts to roam the highways of America—even if you never leave the city limits. This is everything you’ll ever need to get away.

House party

SN&R’s celebration mix

1. “In Terms of Justice” by Breva (
2. “Shockwave” by the Walking Dead (
3. “Emcees” by Mr. P Chill featuring Crazy Ballhead, Ospis, Aziaddict and Big Ant (
4. “Not Really” by Lockmonsta (
5. “Snakes” by Crazy Ballhead (
6. “Plain” by Julie Meyers (
7. “My Better Half” by Didley Squat (
8. “Sube la Bandera” by Sol Peligro (
9. “Planets Away” by MothSpyEros (
10. “The Good Shepard” by the Ni Project (

Like a stick of dynamite, a party doesn’t just explode into existence; you have to light the fuse and stand back. Breva is our fuse. Though “In Terms of Justice” starts off with a dozen seconds of a low buzz, the first percussion blast gets the party started. Steady rhythms from Breva’s experimental rock give way to the balls-to-the-wall attitude of the Walking Dead. The band’s “Shockwave,” featured on the MySpace page of fellow punk musician Danny Pet, is sure to live up to its name when its heavy guitar riffs reverberate through the crowd.

To keep the energy flowing, Mr. P Chill joins with Crazy Ballhead, Ospis, Aziaddict and Big Ant to dish out the lyrical lines with a smooth hip-hop flow that continues into Lockmonsta’s “Not Really.” Intentionally breaking this flow is Crazy Ballhead’s tricky track “Snakes.” When it begins with a twangy country flavor, heads may turn, but the beat quickly morphs into a solid hip-hop base as Ballhead’s reliable lyrics combine real issues with a club-catchy chorus.

Switching from hard rock and rap, the wonderfully charming Julie Meyers brings a little rock ’n’ roll to the mix. Her song “Plain” is anything but; the rock styling allows Meyers to stretch her otherwise soft voice. Meyers seems to be screaming from the soul, singing with her whole body; it’s the perfect addition for a party mix. Didley Squat’s “My Better Half” is the new-wave calm before the storm that is Sol Peligro. If the addictive Latin beats of “Sube la Bandera,” a.k.a. “Track 1” at, do not make you shake what your momma gave you, then nothing will.

And because every party must die down, the final tracks are deep, haunting tunes that say, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” The songs by MothSpyEros and the Ni Project create a concentrated power source strong enough to satisfy those still on their feet but equally calming for people who have retired for the night.

Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Girl dumps boy. Boy meets beer.

SN&R’s love mix

1. “Wish I Was” by Be Brave Bold Robot (
2. “Moonlight Tonight” by Daisy Spot (
3. “Makeup in the Makeout Room” by Amee Chapman (
4. “Forever Doll” by Deluxe (
5. “Another Casualty” by Dre (
6. “Selfish Bitch” by Christopher Fairman (
7. “New Love” by the Evening Episode (
8. “Carmen” by MothSpyEros (
9. “The Price” by 2Me (
10. “Johnny Depp” by Amy Anne (

This is the trickiest mix CD to pull off, but there are ways to prevent Cupid from wanting to fire his arrows right through your sound system. From finding a new love to breaking up and moving on, we have you covered.

Be Brave Bold Robot begins the mix with a song about something everyone is familiar with: the desire to love and be loved. When Daisy Spot’s crooner “Moonlight Tonight” shows up, the love has been discovered, and the two lovers are in that rare mood where only sappy songs will satisfy.

Every relationship has a few squabbles, with some fights designed merely to bring on the makeup sex—as implied by Amee Chapman’s song, “Makeup in the Makeout Room.” Incidentally, that country ditty is long enough to do a little necking to, if you so desire. Men, if you reach the point where you can’t give your gal what she desires, you may find yourself running to Deluxe or Dre to wallow in self-pity over the loss of your girl. Of course, you’d never admit to seeking out the real reasons for the breakup in these rock and folk tracks when around your buds, so we’ve included some Christopher Fairman for saving face. The title says it all: “Selfish Bitch.”

But now, without an object of your affection, what are you to do? Examine your life closely, grow from the experience and become a better person? Didn’t think so. Instead, throw the Evening Episode’s “New Love” on and jump into another relationship way too quickly—and don’t forget to ruin it by still being hung up on your ex.

Without an ex or a rebound, of course, your obsession is out of control, and it needs a release. Suddenly you’re an artist. Poet, musician, writer, admit it: Love brings out your muse—for good or ill. Lucky for us, the skilled musicians of MothSpyEros have created one of the most unique songs in the Sacramento scene to alleviate your need to create bad poetry. Every aspect of obsession, love and loss is summed up in this delightfully moody song called “Carmen.” Truly enchanting, the mostly spoken-word track releases every demon held within since your breakup.

However, devoid of demons and without memories are two separate things, as 2Me teaches us in “The Price,” reminding us that no matter how long ago it happened, you’ll always remember. After an unsuccessful relationship, you’re eventually forced to ask yourself what you can do to better your situation. Our will to move beyond lost loves is one of the strongest forces in our lives, giving us the ability to pick up the pieces and prepare ourselves to once again become vulnerable. But in case you still need more motivation, we’ll give you “Johnny Depp.” Amy Anne’s Tim Burton-esque tribute to the suave swashbuckler is enough to make anyone ready to get back on the wagon. Yes, Depp is that irresistible.