Archive of ‘music mix’ category

5 Retro Bicycle Radios

Many of us love listening to music during our commutes and during a leisurely ride. Managing a radio on bicycle a few decades ago could have been a lot more difficult without the type of technology we have today to make a bicyle stereo manageable but gee where those vintage stereos something to say about design and quality. We still love that retro look and although vintage bicycle stereos look bulky, we can help but share some of our favorite finds of vintage and retro bicycle radios. radio_bicycle Image Courtesy Of Bike De (more…)

October Playlist: 10 Tunes for Bike Riding

Sweater weather riding is finally here! So we figured we’d take this opportunity to give you a taste of what we’ve been listening to over here at Eleanor’s headquarters for October.  We were able to put together a list of tunes we’re groovin’ to this October, both on our bikes and off.

October_Playlist Image Credit: Bear Flavour

Check out our other bike riding playlists here.

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Eleanor’s 10 Tunes for September Riding

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Image Credit: The Idiot Heart

We’re winding down from summer but there are still some warm days ahead!  We’ve included some tunes to keep you moving and just a couple to help you start transitioning to sweater weather.

1. La Chanson de douche – Alexander von Mehren: Let’s start with something a bit… groovy. The ’60s- and ’70s inspired tracks turned out by von Mehren, a 29-year-old Norwegian, possess sweet string sounds and are accented by careful percussion.

2. Right Action – Franz Ferdinand: Well it’s about time, that’s all we have to say. This track from the Scottish band’s latest LP is expectedly catchy and has all the jingly guitar we’ve been craving since their last release all the way back in 2009.

3. Wave Forms – Islands: A retro track that starts off smoothly with a bouncy baseline, Nick Diamonds (Islands frontman) comes through once more with some great tropical-sounding percussion and a catchy chorus. But, alas, he’s a tease: we’ll have to wait

4. Gate Hearing – Slim Twig: Think Animal Collective but a bit more consistent.  Very rhythmic, very quirky.

5. Wings – HAERTS: Indie darlings HAERTS have captured ours – their ubiquitous tunes deserve to be heard from every window in Williamsburg. Interesting vocals and eerie instrumentals create an unforgettable, poppy piece of work.

6. Plumage – Menomena: Something a bit more traditional here, but Menomena’s lyrics and anthemic melodies are anything but average.

7. No One Does It Like You – Department of Eagles: This is what we were referring to when we mentioned sweater weather. Take a listen… we guarantee you’ll want to don a wool cardigan and kick some leaves.

8. Katachi – Shugo Tokumaru: Japanese singer-songwriter Tokumaru gives us a heavily percussive, super fun, layered track for autumn dreaming. Both playful and earnest, we can’t stop listening to this energetic tune.

9. Death Graduates – The Octopus Project: Pure energy and multiple vocalists, along with some chimey xylophone, make this band a complete stand out.

10. Sleepwalk – The Shadows: We leave you this time with a soft, dreamy song from the past.  One of the most iconic tunes from the middle of the 20th century, Sleepwalk has been covered and recovered a hundred times.  We like this version, and we think you will love.

Eleanor’s Tunes for August: 10 Tracks for Late Summer Cycling

Ah, summertime and living is easy.  Except for that 100° week we had in NYC.  And every time we wore silk and regretted it.  But in general, we’ve been soaking up the sun (and iced coffee) and getting in as much bike-bound time as we can.  This month’s playlist is chock full of grooves to help you wind down the season, as well as a few jams to remind you that it’s not over yet.

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Image courtesy of Vi.sualize.us

1. In the Summer – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (2013, Community Music/Vagrant Records): Everybody’s favorite folksters have done it again.  This cool groove really sets the mood (we recommend drinking a cocktail out of a mason jar while listening) and serves to re-emphasize the mega-group’s soulful charm and penchant for crafting multi-vocalist anthems.

2. Idol – Smith Westerns (2013, Mom + Pop): It’s not really shoegaze… this track is better suited for staring up at the clouds from a grassy spot in your favorite park.  This is a truly catchy, dreamy pop song that you’ll probably want to listen to over and over again.

3. The Other Side Of Rainbow – Gogol Bordello (2013, Casa Gogol Records): This gypsy punk’s Russian frontman Eugene Hütz’s heavy accent and untrained air aren’t for everybody, we get that.  But hey, this new record is worth a listen.  It’s a fresh listen with some great ethnic influences and some pretty stirring vocals.

4. Safe and Sound – Capital Cities (2013, Lazy Looks, LLC): You were just waiting for something made on a computer, weren’t you?  Well here it is.  We’re in love with Capital Cities – they get us dancing without trying too hard, you know?  Plus we love a good horn part.

5. Wartime Lovers – Rose Windows (2013, Subpop Records): But let’s slow it down a bit. We can’t get over the vintage croon of vocalist Rabia Shaheen Qazi.  Her voice weaves its way through a beautiful throwback complete with harp and flute, as well as some tribal-sounding percussion, and leaves us dazzled by the perfect balance of pychedelia and sweet folk.

6. Flava In Ya Ear – Craig Mack (1994, Bad Boy Records): Truth be told, we’ve wanted to include this track on playlists past, but the time just wasn’t right.  This is our summer jam, and really the only hip hop song we listen to on repeat.  Craig Mack isn’t the best-known rapper out there, but he’s a pretty good lyricist and that hook just won’t quit.  We dare you not to get this song stuck in your head.

7. Best of Friends – Palma Violets (2013, Rough Trade): Those Brits sure can make a great bluesy rock ‘n’ roll song.  Retro melodies and fuzzy production give this track an old time feel overlaid with hazy, anthemic vocals.

8. Head On – Man Man (out September, 2013, Anti, Inc.): We’ve watched Man Man evolve from their frenetic, gypsy-inspired beginnings into a smooth-sounding, sharp group of musicians.  Each bandmember contributes a tight sound to this throwback track, lush with plucky strings and a sweet melodies that seem both wistful and optimistic.  We like it.

9. The Truth – Dr. Dog (out October, 2013, Anti, Inc.): This song is a true teaser – we can’t wait for the rest of the album to come out.  We love the soft vibraphone and laidback guitar, and as always we could get lost in their ’60s-esque vocals.

10. (Take Me To) Aruanda – Astrud Gilberto (1969, Verve Music Group): And we leave you with another bossa nova classic.  It speaks for itself, really.  Especially when pool-side in the sunshine (or cruising on your bike, of course).

Eleanor’s Cycling Tunes For July

Summer’s at full blast now, so we thought we’d give you a cycling playlist chock full of chill tunes to chill out to (AKA it’s too hot to groove).  imageImage Courtesy of See Creatures

1. Obvious Bicycle – Vampire Weekend (2013, XL Recordings): We’re starting off this month’s playlist exactly how Vampire Weekend started their last album, and we think it’s particularly appropriate for both of us.  Indie-prep rock at its finest, we respect the band for coming out with their most thoughtful album yet.

2. Beauty Above All – Craft Spells (2011, Captured Tracks): This track is a sparkly little lo-fi number that’s got our toes tapping (but not too much) to the chime-y synth and tinny drum beat.

3. Graceless – The National (2013, 4AD): The most sophisticated band on this list, to be sure, The National’s done it again.  We know we should be totally depressed after listening to this album, but to be honest feeling down has never sounded so good.  This is one of the more up-tempo tracks off the group’s new record, but the rest is worth listening to for thoughtful songwriting and carefully crafted compositions.

4. Needles And Pins – Surfer Blood (2013, Sire Records): This track boasts a dreamy soundscape and some beautiful harmonies that sum up a good summer afternoon.  Retro guitar melodies carefully picked out plus a soft choir of backing vocals equals perfection.

5. Orchards – Wampire (2013, Polyvinyl): Speaking of retro, we love Wampire’s use of the electric organ, especially when combined with echoing vocals, some well timed percussion, and a strong guitar solo towards the end.  

6. Holy Roller [Hallelujah] – Portugal. The Man (2013, Atlantic Recording Company): We give to you your summer anthem.  A groovy track with Jack White-esque, effected vocals that wrap around the backing vocals, the tune ends with a crescendo that’ll leave you with goosebumps.

7. Dream State – Psychic Twin (2013, Polyvinyl): The title says it all.  We’re in love with frontwoman Erin’s lush vocals, as well as the meditative synth that pervades this song.  This track is beautifully layered and best enjoyed in the middle of a summer night.

8. Defriended – Beck (2013, Fonograf Records): We’re pretty excited to hear new music from maladroit, indie-electro darling Beck.  There’s a lot going on here, but when you sit back and soak it up, it’s pensive and intricate and just what we’d expect from the genius behind 2005’s Guero (which debuted at #2 on Billboard… not too shabby).

9. Daniel – Devendra Banhart (2013, Nonesuch Records): We admit that this tune is a bit melancholy, but there’s still something pretty uplifting about the somewhat recently-shorn indie folkster’s smooth whisper.  Plus, we’re suckers for drum brushes and that jazzy cymbal work.

10. Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars) – Stan Getz, João Gilberto,Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim (2007, Verve Music Group): We leave you with the true all-stars of Brazilian music.  Originally released in 1960, this soft Bossa Nova lullaby is the soundtrack to our own quiet nights (of quiet stars, of course).

Wanderlust Wednesdays: Eleanor’s Bike Tunes for June

imageCourtesy of Megan Steele Design

So, here we are.  It’s still a bit chilly at night, and we might not be ready to put our shorts in constant rotation just yet.  But we can all sense that the heat of summer is upon us.  This month’s playlist is a collection of tracks we’re jamming to in anticipation of said season – they’re all songs that are perfect for hanging at McCarren Park, a late-night BBQ in the backyard, and, of course, a long bike ride through the city (any city, really).  Let’s see what’s on tap this month:

Instant Crush – Daft Punk and Julian Casablancas (2013, Columbia Records): We didn’t pick this track just because we have an instant crush on Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas.  We also happen to love his auto-tuned crooning laid over the ever fresh and always groove-worthy beats of everybody’s favorite French electro duo.

Baby – She & Him (2013, Merge Records): Speaking of duos, how about this one?  M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel make the perfect pair for summer tunes: the soft-spoken strummer and the It Girl heir to Loretta Lynn have vintage-inspired sound that we’re head over heels for.  Their new record, Volume 3, is out just in time for warm weather listening.  

Leather Jacket II – Deerhunter (2013, 4AD): Although Deerhunter’s lo-fi sound might not be for every one, but this one’s for hot days when all you can do is shoegaze.  

Orifice Origami – Reptar (2012, Vagrant Records): Athens, GA-based foursome Reptar are noteworthy for their deeply poignant (but never precious) lyrics and their vaguely psychy and often synthy pop rock ‘n’ roll sound.  We can’t get over the anthemic backup vocals and sweet keyboard stylings on this track.

New Mexico’s No Breeze – Iron & Wine (2013, Nonesuch): Samuel Beam is the real name of the man behind Iron & Wine, whose sound is well known in the folksier crowd.  Mr. Beam seems to have infused his new record – and this song in particular – with a bit more jazz than we’re used to, but he pulls it off with a soft panache that’s extremely listenable.

Mosquito – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2013, Interscope): The percussive intro to this song sets the tone for the next three minutes – it’s an energetic rock tune overlaid with Karen O’s completely unique vocals, which are at times a whisper and at other a scream.  The song has a vaguely primitive feel that plays well with the Blondie-esque vibe Karen evokes.  Can’t go wrong.

Na Na Na – The Spinto Band (2013, Spintronic Recordings): Delaware-based indie darlings The Spinto Band have been churning out super catchy, ultra-melodic tunes for years, and we’re happy to report that their latest record isn’t a departure from the thoughtful powerpop roots the group laid down with their masterpiece Oh Mandy in 2005.

Walkin on a Pretty Day – Kurt Vile (2013, Matador Records): The title track off Kurt Vile’s new record is a softer track for summer.  He makes us think a bit about Neil Young and a lot about Pavement.  Looking forward to seeing him with The Violators at the Village Voice’s 4Knots Music Festival later this month.

Do You Realize?? – The Flaming Lips (2002, Warner Bros. Records): We had wanted to include a selection from the band’s new album, The Terror, but then we got to thinking.  This throwback is a near masterpiece and we want it to be the soundtrack to long June afternoons full of beer from Turkey’s Nest, a cool grassy spot, and everybody we love.

Tune From Rangoon – Martin Denny (1996, Capitol Records): We’re taking a break from bossa nova this month in favor of this tiki lounge staple by legendary composer Martin Denny.  Originally released in 1959, this track is replete with monkey calls, chirping birds, and more vibraphone than you ever thought you needed.  But, hey, it’s just the thing to accompany a humid evening and a fruity martini.

5 NYC Festivals to Bike to this Summer

Image Courtesy of Free People

There’s nothing like spending a full day in the summer sun, especially when it’s preceded or proceded by a few more days and a bunch of great food, music, and friends.  That’s what’s in store for our summer, anyway.  If you’d like to join us, take a look at these 5 NYC festivals we’re excited about (and to bike to!) this season.

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The Sweet Sounds of Spring: 10 Songs to Cycle to in May

It seems like y’all enjoying getting down to our favorite biking tunes for April, so we decided to put together a playlist for May.  What’s more, some of the artists we’re diggin’ this month will be heading out on tour this summer.  Stay tuned for our list of concerts and festivals that we’re most excited for this season.

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Photo Credit: Erin Axtell by Luca Babbini for Vanity Fair Italia

1. Fall Of ‘82 – The Shins (2012, Columbia Records) The latest release from indie darlings The Shins isn’t too recent, but what the heck, we’re gearing up to see them at the Williamsburg Waterfront on May 26th.  We also just have a hard time disliking anything that Zach Braff loves so much.

2. All Of Us – Painted Palms (2011, Secretly Canadian) San Francisco-based group is serving up some good psychedelic tracks to serve as our soundtrack for breezy spring and summer days.  Super melodic and pretty darn catchy, we do declare.

3. She Lives in a Secret Town – Norwegian Arms (2013, no label) We can’t stop repping this Philadelphia-based trio.  We loved them at SXSW and we’re loving them now that we’re back home, too.  Folksy, whimsical tracks that are bound to get your toes tapping.

4. Robbin – Tennis (2012, Fat Possum Records) Our hands-down favorite husband and wife musical duo, based in Denver, either can’t stop or won’t stop making the perfect music for warm days.  Not quite yacht rock, but if we had a yacht, we’d probably rock it.

5. LA, CA, USA – Stereo Total (2013, Kill Rock Stars) Talk about another power duo, this French/German group has been producing tech-infused tunes with vintage guitar twangs and samples since 1995.  We’re excited about their new album, and having seen them at the Knitting Factory last month.

6. Diane Young – Vampire Weekend (slated for May 2013, XL Recordings) We’ve been dying to hear this NYC-based foursome’s new album.  Why?  Because it’s what you listen to when you pretend your life is a Wes Anderson film, that’s why.

7. Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac (1987, Warner Bros) In honor of Fleetwood Mac’s re-release of their 1977 album Rumours, then the fastest-selling LP in history, we’re revisiting some old classics.  This, obviously, is one of them.

8. Recover – CHVRCHES (2013, under license to Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC) Since this song hit the airwaves, we’ve found it difficult to walk down the streets of Brooklyn without its infectious melody finding its way to our ears.  We decided to just let it happen, and we’re pretty happy we did.

9. Ode to Viceroy – Mac Demarco (2012, Captured Tracks) This lazy tune is just the thing for Saturday mornings.  Mac’s been getting major props at the festivals lately, which we totally understand.  Just some casual tracks to chill out to this spring.

10. Aguas de Março – Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina (1974, Universal Music Ltda) We know that last month’s bossa nova tune left you begging for more, so here it is.  Such a sweet song to end the playlist on, and even better for relaxing with a cocktail in a warm May breeze.  Ah.

The Sweet Sounds of Spring: 10 Songs to Cycle to in April

We figured we’d take this opportunity to give you a taste of what we’ve been listening to over here at Eleanor’s headquarters.  Thanks to Spotify we were able to put together a list of tunes we’re groovin’ to this April, both on our bikes and off.

imagePhoto Credit: The Sartorialist 

1. Swim and Sleep – Unknown Mortal Orchestra (2013, Jagjaguwar) UMO won us over with their first album, a self-titled collection of catchy songs that evoked a fuzzier era of rock music.  They’ve done it again and we absolutely can’t stop listening.

2. You & I – Local Natives (2013, Frenchkiss Records) Produced by Aaron Dessner of The National, this is another sophomore album that might be better than its predecessor.  Soft and dreamy, it’s an obvious choice for spring.

3. We The Common (For Valerie Bolden) – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (2013, Ribbon Music) You can’t beat Thao for catchy, twangy tunes and sandy songstress vocals. This album is no exception.

4. Light Out – Javelin (2013, Luaka Bop, Inc.) If you’re going to listen to electronic music, listen to this. Javelin is always thoughtful and carefully constructs true electro-gems.

5. Malmo – Strfkr (2013, Polyvinyl Record Co.) What more can we say?  Strfkr never fails to move and/or groove us.

6. Entertainment – Phoenix (Album out Apr. 2013, Loyauté) Everybody’s favorite Frenchies are at it again. This single from their next album, slated for release this April, is enough to tide us over until then.

7. Agua de Beber – Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66 (1966, A&M) We’d be remiss in our duty if we didn’t give you at least a bit of bossa nova. The most relaxing of jams. You’re welcome.

8. Where Were We On The Weekend – Slam Donahue (2011, Reynolds Recording Co.) A true pop rock ‘n’ roll number.  Brooklyn-based trio Slam Donahue is one to watch.

9. Rich Girl – Hall and Oates (1977, RCA) Haters gonna hate, we know that.  But at the Eleanor’s office we do love us some Yacht Rock. Here’s one of our fave soft rock hits.

10. Breezeblocks – Alt-J (2012, Atlantic) In our humble opinion, Alt-J’s debut LP An Awesome Wave was one of the best albums of 2012, and we just don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t reign as supreme in 2013.

SXSW Part II: Or as we like to call it, “South Bike South West”

I was lucky enough to be among the hoards of music and film aficionados who flocked to Austin for South By South West this year.  Alright, so I didn’t have a badge.  I didn’t get to see Prince and JT.  I didn’t eat nearly enough food from trucks.  That isn’t to say I didn’t come away with some new fave films, some great bands to check out, and the start of an excellent loafer tan.

Above all, however, I got to check out Austin’s booming bike culture.  As a first-timer to both the city and the festival, I relied heavily on the friend with whom I was staying to provide valuable insight (and rides) into the city.  A lot of Austinites depend on cars to get around, and I can see why: the bus system is pretty far-reaching but runs infrequently, and there’s hardly a rail system to speak of.  What’s more, I had a hard time finding cabbies who would even pull over before refusing my fare (for shame, I know).

So where does that leave Austinites on the go?  Apparently on their bikes.  If you follow us on Instagram, you’ve already seen some of the sweet cycles I spotted during the festival.  The following is a photographic review of some of the cycles I spotted during my time in the Southwest.

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Found this pastel fixie outside the Austin Convention Center, which served as festival HQ.

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A lovely floral frame with some good, bold accessories by the Colorado River.

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The kitschiest bike in all of Austin, I’d say, spotted on Congress Avenue.

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Spotted these bright wheels outside a cafe after having breakfast one morning.  Days later I spied it again in action.  Must’ve been fate.image

Speaking of bright, one night down by Rainey Street I came upon this giant, serpentine artwork, powered by pedals.  Its creator was in the process of relocating the work and didn’t have time for a chat, but I did ascertain that it took seven years to construct.  My hunch is that it’s going to be part of a kinetic sculpture event, something like Baltimore’s Kinetic Sculpture Race.

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Another notable curiosity was a girl on a “tall bike.”  I was completely ignorant of this phenomenon, but apparently it is a thing, and more specifically, a thing at SXSWs past.  I saw this acrobatic rider my first evening in town and then again while waiting for a bus a few nights later.  Despite its great height, it’s a speedy machine, and I can only offer this action shot as evidence.

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There’s a lot going on in Austin in terms of cycling and bike culture.  A lot of commuters and casual riders, and just as many handsome bicycles.  I saw many a simple, stately street bike in addition to the above beauties.  And now we know: for every average bike in Austin, there are probably at least one or two rides with handmade accessories, striking color schemes, or pretty incredible after-market alterations that give this Southwestern city even more to boast about.

Yours,

Rachel

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