The most important tool in the bike shop is the stereo. It maintains the rhythm of the day, it sets the mood of the shop, and it broadcasts the shop mood to incoming customers.
*Hint: If you’re waiting outside the shop before opening and you hear 120 decibel black metal inside, I’d advise waiting from a safer distance, like the coffee shop across the street or, better yet, the coffee shop a couple blocks away.
That said, here’s some of the best wrench-spinning music of 2014:
Grouper, Ruins – Piano, voice, and heartbreak. Quiet and beautiful.
Angel Olsen, Burn Your Fire For No Witness – Angel Olsen sounds like she could be the love child of Leonard Cohen and Patsy Cline. A solid collection of great songs from a songwriter wise beyond her years with a voice to match.
At The Gates, At War With Reality – It has been 19 years since At The Gates released their genre-defining masterwork, Slaughter of the Soul, but this album is as much of a face-melter now as that album was then.
Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2 – Killer Mike and El-P are the dynamic duo of rap and this album is their best work yet: clever tales with a sharp political message set to ass-shaking beats!
Flying Lotus, You’re Dead! – This genre-blurring record is heavily influenced by 70’s jazz fusion, but with a strong electronic undercurrent and choice verses from hip hop heavyweights, including Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg, it is so much more than simple nostalgia.
Caribou, Our Love – A surprisingly normal album from a band known for releasing albums of echo-filled weirdness. Tighter song structure and a strong house music vibe make this a listener-friendly record that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear in a random public place.
Future Islands, Singles – Hometown boys done good. This record is still not as good as their 2010 masterpiece, In Evening Air, but it is a good record and they’ve more than earned all the hype that has been heaped on them this year.
Goat, Commune – East African 70’s psychedelia channeled through a bunch of modern day Swedes. Wild!
Cloud Nothings, Here And Nowhere Else – This album is the natural product of a band that grew up listening to their older siblings’ Nirvana catalog. Blistering and melodic!
Tis the season to light the festive plants.
According to an ancient proverb, “There’s no bad weather, just bad gear.”
Many people are scared off their bikes after the first cold snap, but if you’re properly dressed (warm base layers with windblocking top layers), riding through the winter will keep your blood warm and your mood light.
Shameless plug: Winter riding gear is now in stock at BAB.