DJ Bobby D

Bob SimpsonYou heard about it earlier in the year — and now, the Observer UK has capitalized on an exclusive preview of Bob Dylan’s first DJ set for XMradio. This article gives the complete rundown, including the playlist. A second article adds even more — hello American media, Bob Dylan DJ-ing is worth at least ONE column, right? Get over the David Lee Roth / Howard Stern muck-fest.

The articles give a few examples of Dylan’s DJ persona, for example, the second article quotes his segue after playing Muddy Waters’ Blow Wind, Blow:

‘Chicago is known as the Windy City, but it’s not the windiest city in the US; the windiest city is Dodge City, Kansas. Other windy cities are Amarillo, Texas; Rochester, Minneso-taaa … all of which beat Chicago.’

The one hour weekly show, dubbed The Theme Time Radio Hour, launches May 3rd at 10am EDT on XMradio ch. 40. The British musicologist Charlie Gillett adds, “It draws you in and you never for a moment think he’s playing games, which he’s supposedly notorious for doing.”

One surprising fact mentioned in the article is that the program will apparently be broadcast online to U.S. internet users, via XMradio Online (a service that is noticeably absent from Sirius). Trial passes are available here.

Expecting Rain provides a key to access a preview of the show. (First entry under April 23).

In celebration of my recently expanded bandwidth, Here’s a cut from a recent Dylan performance:

All the Presidents, Man

Over the course of 28 days, three dudes in Northern California did all 42 past U.S. presidents.

With large doses of insanity suspectedly involved, songwriters Christian Kiefer, Matthew Gerken, and Jefferson Pitcher self-produced and recorded 14 songs a piece, each number based on the tenure of an American president.

abraham lincolnCompleted as part of February Album Writing Month, this particular project is deserving of wider recognition, especially at a time when our current president is actively re-classifying historical records in an effort to manipulate his own legacy. The trio intends to salute the Commander with a final song for the project, tentatively slated for proper release in late 2006.

Audio files and complete liner notes including lyrics for each track are available for free here. None of these are little ditties — they are complete songs and run as long as seven minutes. The lyrics and melody in Kiefer’s “Eisenhower (When Ike Walked the Land)” put the listener quite literally in the landscape of suburbanization and black and white TV:

We made a fence / painted it white / made the kids all fear God / and Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll / sold lots of radios.

Jeff Pitcher’s rich ode to the demise of President William Henry Harrison could bring someone to tears, if only they weren’t aware that he is widely regarded as maybe THE worst president in history, or had they not at least read Pitcher’s extensive commentary in the notes:

William Henry Harrison was an incredibly horrible and atrocious piece of shit… who was ultimately responsible for a big portion of the genocide of native americans….

The cut cuts deep.

Warren G. Harding may have been in and out before his first term was up, but as Matt Gerken explains in verse, we can thank him for establishing the chronyist corporatocracy we know so well:

The cabinet was a board room / Business leaders / Hobby policymakers / Protecting their interests / Making sure life is harder / For the rest of us / Just like today

I don’t post about music as much as I’d like, but once I downloaded the tracks and listened, I was pretty floored. Not since unwrapping the most recent gift of historical manifestations from Surfjan Stevens had I remembered that the dullest of stories could be brought to light in bright melodies.

Kudos, gentlemen for the incredible feat of not only writing one song for each of our 42 past presidents, but for creating AND laying down the tracks all within the course of our shortest month! Readers — check it out, this is far and away the best history lesson out there since Jon Stewart’s America.

Track 43 may prove to be epic… I can’t wait.

Best of 2005

Since there were no “best of” highlights politically or in the news last year, the saving graces of 2005 were those activities and experiences that presented a pleasant departure from reality. Therefore…. Everything Between’s Best of 2005 is all about the music.

No, it was not as good as past years, however, a positive trend continued, and rock n’ roll again proved its enduring vivacity.

Most of the selections below are featured on Everything Between’s flagship radio station, WOOZradio. Please listen, we appreciate the support.

Top 20 Albums/”Singles” of 2005 (in no order):
1. Surfjan Stevens – Illinois: 2nd of planned 50 records-by-state. Better than Michigan, and shit, IL is my home state.

2. Stephen Malkmus – Face the Truth: Westerberg had the best band of the 80s, perhaps Malkmus’ Pavement was best of the ’90s. The cuts on this record are among the best of ’05, sin duda.
3. LCD Soundsystem – s/t: So what if its a sort of compilation. James Murphy’s shit makes me wanna Get down!

4. Of Montreal – Sunlandic Twins: Freshest, most fun Beatlesque, Pet Sounds inspired record of ’05.

5. Broken Social Scene – “7/4 (Shoreline)“: I fell in love with the live version of this. Its the best cut on these Canadians’ new record and I still can’t get enough.

6. The Decemberists – Picaresque: Once again, a band that increases their merit LIVE. “Sixteen Military Wives” and others kicked my ass… but live at the Fonda… Forget about it!

7. Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine: Jon Brion’s mix, or the official mix, this still blew me away. And Warner shelved it Yankee Foxtrot style – unbelievable.

8. Spoon – Gimme Fiction: I love this band. And while this is simply a status quo follow-up to 2004’s Kill the Moonlight, I remain hooked on many of these tracks.

9. Iron & Wine – Woman King Ep: Don’t waste another year without experiencing Sam Beam and Co. live or at least on record. I probably listened to this 6-song EP more than any long-player this year.

10. M83 – “Save us From the Flames”: Blown away by each and every remix I heard of this, not to mention the originial.

11. Antony & the Johnsons – “Hope There’s Someone”: OK, so I was underwhelmed, despite being fortunate enough to see Antony at Schubas in Chicago, perhaps the most perfect venue for music of this type. Still, I can listen to this song over and over and fall off amazed.

12. The Bees – “Chicken Payback”: Hippest song of the year – I lost my shit every time I’d hear anybody else play this in a DJ set.

13. Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have it So Much Better: First band of the Strokes generation to out-do itself on sophomore release. They kicked ass at the Greek Theatre, and the first two singles on this record are priceless.

14. Kanye West – “Gold Digger”: This is one hot song. It brings back the sampled soul of the Moby:Play era.

15. End – “Good Riddance (Good Time Remix)”: Most fun, danceable track that I just could not tire of.

16. Public Enemy – New Whirl Odor: P.E. is back and this record is a classic and simultaneously as grown up as can be. Power to the people.

17. My Morning Jacket – “Off the Record”: I keep wanting to fall in love with this band, but get bored too soon. “Off the Record” is the one cut off this year’s Z that I keep playing over and over.

18. The Kills – “Love in a Trashcan”: Any recipient of my autumn 2005 “Extraordinary Renditions” mix CD knows why this is in the top 20.

19. Devendra Banhart – “Heard Somebody Say”: His latest record, as with his previous work, is phenomenal – but this track stands out above all.

20. Architecture in Helsinki – “Do the Whirlwind”: just because this track has predominated my consciousness over the latter third of 2005.

This list was hastily created and is by no means complete. To hear the best of 2005, check out WOOZradio – where EvBet’s faves stream on.

P.S. Purchasing any of these recordings via the links on this page helps support Everything Between. Thanks.