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MIXTAPE: Joshua Hyslop’s Songs For a Chill Bike Ride

May 20, 2024

MIXTAPE: Joshua Hyslop's Songs For a Chill Bike Ride

I love going for bike rides. It helps me reconnect and recenter myself. I’m almost always listening to music when I go out for a ride. Sometimes it’s heavier/angrier stuff to help me process and burn some things off, sometimes it’s completely instrumental to help me think, but most of the time it’s laid-back music – because if there’s one thing I am not, it’s laid-back. I’m almost always anxious and neurotic. Biking around and listening to a playlist like this helps me remember to take it easy, to breathe.

Sometimes I get messages from people who say my music helps them to do that, but I don’t sit around listening to my own music. Even though that’s a lovely thing to hear, I can’t engage with it in the same way. I can’t, for example, go and listen to my new album, Evergold (released April 26 on Nettwerk Records), to help me calm down, so I’m stuck making playlists like this for myself. Oh well. I hope this playlist helps you to relax and enjoy the ride, even just a little bit. – Joshua Hyslop

“Small Town Talk” – Bobby Charles

I love this song. I think it’s hard to listen to it and not imagine being on a bike ride, just meandering around some neighborhood on a lazy sunny afternoon. To me, this is the perfect place to start. Great artist. Great album.

“AUATC” – Bon Iver

Sometimes, you listen to a song at just the right time. Something about the lyrics or the melody just clicks with you in the moment. I’m not even 100% sure what this song is about, but my god, what a melody. The slightly sped-up vocals, the communal feeling to it all, it just has something that pulls you in.

“Lay down Martha, lay all that alabaster down, there’s no master, help will surely come around.” Who’s Martha? Why is she carrying alabaster? I don’t know, but I sure find myself nodding along.

“Box #10” – Jim Croce

I debated choosing another Jim Croce song, maybe something a little happier for this “chill bike ride” playlist. But to me, this song sounds like when the sun first comes out after the rain. It’s a little bittersweet, but most of the good stuff is.

“One of These Days” – Bedouine

I found this song when the album I was listening to ended and Spotify just started playing something else. I ended up pulling over and adding it to my own riding tunes playlist. I don’t know Bedouine outside of this, but I’m excited to spend more time with her music.

“Nantucket Island” – Willie Wright

I got the idea for the theme of this playlist, because one of my all-time favorite shows is/was High Maintenance on HBO. The Guy is always biking around, smoking a joint, delivering his wares, and getting a small snapshot into the lives of his many varied customers. It’s so good, and so human, and so lovely, and the music was always incredible. This track was in one of the episodes and I made special note of it, as well. When you’re done listening and reading all this, go watch some High Maintenance.

“Wish I Had Not Said That” – J.J. Cale

This song came out in 1981. The number one song in the USA at the time was “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. Thank god for J.J. Cale.

“Scumways” – Michael Nau

I found this artist by watching Amoeba’s wonderful YouTube show, “What’s In My Bag?” I can’t remember who mentioned him, but his music’s in regular rotation for me, now. This whole album could’ve easily been the entire playlist. It’s a great riding or driving album.

“Down the Line” – Joshua Hyslop

Yes, okay, I know. It’s one of my songs. I think it fits the overall feel here, but we both know there is NO way I would put one of my own songs on my own bike ride playlist. Alright, moving on.

“Fata Morgana” – Kikagaku Moyo

Easily one of my Top 5 desert island albums. This record could also easily have been the entire playlist. It may seem a little out of place on the first listen through, but when I was younger and I’d make a mixtape for a girl I liked, I’d use an instrumental song as a bit of a palate cleanser, especially if there’d been a few super laid back songs in a row. Anyway, here I am all these years later, giving away my secrets and trying to romance you all.

“Gimme Some More” – Labi Siffre

It’s upbeat, it’s happy, it’s a perfect sunny day bike ride song. Plus, singing along and getting to say “Sock it to me” at the break makes me feel about 10 times cooler than I’ll ever actually be.

“None of Us” – Fruit Bats

This song embraces a certain kind of humility and self-awareness that really appeals to me. I could sing along to, “None of us have seen it all” on repeat forever. The entire last minute of this song kind of perfectly captures the emotional landscape I was thinking of when I came up with the idea for a chill bike ride playlist.

“Caterpillar” – Cassandra Jenkins

Just a lovely way to close things out. Say you’re out riding, and you’re on your way home, but you know the playlist is going to end before you get there; this is the perfect song to have playing on repeat until you get there.

Photo Credit: Emma Ross

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MIXTAPE: Joshua Hyslop's Songs For a Chill Bike Ride
MIXTAPE: Joshua Hyslop's Songs For a Chill Bike Ride