I’m off on holiday soon, planning to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway for a week, stopping in a different town each night. I’m going to be spending a lot of time in the car, so I’ll need hours of sun-blasted music to keep me going. I want songs that either directly reference California, or at least encapsulate the place. To that end, I asked NME’s LA correspondent, Leonie Cooper, to suggest a few tracks. Her recommendations are below, and very good they are too. I’ll need more, though. Can you help me build the ultimate playlist?
%3E%3Cdiv%20class%3D%22subhead”>1Dennis Wilson – ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’
Truly encapsulating that laidback golden state groove, the late Beach Boys’ drummer nailed the beatific beachiness of the 1970s with the title track of his sublime, one and only solo album.
Traditionalists might stump for the Mamas And The Papas original, but the brassy Bobby Womack version of this summer of love anthem gives serious goosebumps.
3Father John Misty – ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings’
Former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman goes electric with the standout track from this year’s ‘Fear Fun’ album. It’s all about shagging unhinged women in a graveyard in Hollywood, obviously.
San Fernando valley sisters Haim give the sunshine dappled California classic rock sound a fresh spin with gum-snapping rude girl swagger.
5Tupac ft. Dr Dre – ‘California Love’
Hell, you could be cruising around the streets of Milton Keynes blaring this one out and still convince yourself that you’re surrounded by palm trees and In-N-Out Burger drive-throughs. You’d look like a massive prat though.
Possibly KOL’s finest three minutes, this twang-tastic country rocker is all wide open highways, ice cold cans of Tecate – not at the same time, obviously – and frayed thrift store denim in sonic form. California in a nutshell, then.
7Hole – ‘Malibu’
Courtney Love wrote this shimmering radio-friendly tribute to the Los Angeles coastline with Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks in mind and you can totally tell. It would be rude not to include its splendid geographical sequel – ‘Pacific Coast Highway’, from 2010’s, ‘Nobody’s Daughter’ – as well.
A plaintive love song about doing smack in Los Angeles’ sketchy Echo Park neighbourhood bolstered by a sweet Tejano shuffle. For a bang up to date re-versioning, try LA skatepunks FIDLAR’s shouty cover.
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Never underestimate the lasting influence of West Coast hardcore, especially when it sounds as vital as ‘Calfornia Uber Alles’ does when blasted from your speakers as you hurtle down Highway 1.