Playlist: On Public Transportation Late at Night

Taking public transportation in the morning or the afternoon – on your way to or from work, say – you need something that will keep you hyped up and alert. Tunes that will protect you from the swaying crush of bodies, and overcome screeches and staticky howling commands from the front. You need a soundtrack that can block out smells.

This is not that soundtrack. This is one for late-night journeys, long slides you go on only once in a while, when you’re moving toward or away from something unusual. The ones where you climb onto the bus or train and actually get a seat, or all the seats, and the overconditioned air wraps you in absence, and you rest your head against the milky rattling window in between you and the city, and watch the lights blur in the streets or in the tunnels, and all that lovely lonely epic stuff.


All You Ever WantedThe Black Keys
AmplifiersAtlas Sound
HystericYeah Yeah Yeahs
I’m NotPanda Bear
We’ve Been HadThe Walkmen
City of Electric LightChad Van Gaalen
I’m Bound to Pack it UpThe White Stripes
Major Label DebutBroken Social Scene
Flim (LP Version)Aphex Twin
Oslo in the SummertimeOf Montreal
Taxi CabVampire Weekend
Green Guitar – RatTail
Benton Harbor Blues AgainThe Fiery Furnaces
Clouds Over the PacificJames Pants
Let DownRadiohead
Good SongBlur
Want It BackAmanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
City MiddleThe National
Blue LightBloc Party
Keys Out Lights OnJenny Owen Youngs
Feel So GoodSpacemen 3
Born Slippy NuxxUnderworld

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Cara is a former contributing editor for Autostraddle and a current staff writer at Atlas Obscura. She lives in Somerville with her girlfriend, their roommate, and a cat who can flush the toilet, and is generally thinking about gender, sustainable biodiversity, and/or rock & roll music. You can follow her on twitter @cjgiaimo if you want.

Cara has written 113 articles for us.


  1. This is perfect. Will this be a series? Because lord do I need the morning ‘pretend I’m not actually crushed face first into a large sweaty man’ get to work one too!!

  2. I’m just going to pretend that I live in an awesome city with public transit when I listen to this playlist. Sigh.

  3. Always Bloc Party. First album. Sleeping overnight at the train station to get the train at 5am from Birmingham to Liverpool for university. Bee. Liss.

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