50 years ago, Bob Dylan started a recording career that would revolutionize music forever. To commemorate his evolution over the span of 43 albums, Sony Records has released the entirety of his music library in a $180 box set, The Complete Album Collection: V.1. The inclusion of V.1 in the title seems a bit-tongue in cheek with Dylan now 72 years old, but it may be sincere considering how good ol’ Bob is still touring endlessly and churning out new material about every three years. It may not be to the level of say a Highway 61 Revisited, but to suggest Dylan is a waning enterprise would be premature. In fact, two of Dylan’s recent ventures show that he is still an innovator in the world of music.
A few years ago I read Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One, and I found the chapter on Dylan’s approach to live performances to be pretty polarizing stuff. Dylan discusses the boredom and monotony that comes with performing the same songs every night. On his 1987 tour, Dylan opted to change his live shows to a more organic experience, and he’s hasn’t altered his live show methodology since. Instead of giving the fans what they what, Bob and his ever-changing band take Dylan standards and flip them on their head. Some tours have interpreted his songs within the style of blues while other times his touring band can resemble a bluegrass outfit. I’ve seen Dylan perform twice, and during both shows I had the same guessing game experience where half the time I wasn’t quite sure what song he was performing. It doesn’t help that his voice is almost unintelligible these days.
What if both your parents died the same year? And what if that same year your home, which has been in the family for over 100 years, burns down? And what if while you’re dealing with all this loss, your former band mate (Bob Mould) releases a tell all autobiography where he not only persecutes you and embellishes your use of heroin, but he also takes time to mock your now dead mother?
And what if you were once friends with William S. Burroughs? And what if while you are dealing with all this turmoil, you are bestowed with an unfinished Burroughs space odyssey adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost called Lost Paradise? And what if this manuscript inspires you to create a 20-song album about the battle between Heaven and Hell?
That would be pretty awesome, right?
In this episode we check out new tracks from Volcano Choir, Sebadoh, Cave, and Kylesa. I also discuss the LCD Soundsystem documentary, and the podcast ends with a dedication to Lou Reed with a discussion of how he was influenced by Bob Dylan. Check it out here or subscribe at iTunes (keyword: BDWPS).
Volcano Choir “Byegone”
LCD Soundsystem “Dance Yrself Clean”
Kylesa “Steady Breakdown”
Bob Dylan “Hard Times in New York”
[Drag City; 2013]
If Bill Callahan were a painter, he would be Pablo Picasso. Besides the obvious presumption that Callahan has never been called an asshole, the connection can be found in the span of their respective work. While many musicians find a definitive sound and make a career out of it, Callahan is a constantly changing songwriting machine. Like Picasso, Callahan has gone through various stages, refusing to languish in mediocrity.
Callahan’s early 4-track forays were much like Picasso’s early days as a painter – flawed yet promising. As his Smog sound developed on albums like Wild Love and Knock Knock, he reached his “blue” period (stark subject matter presented in through distorted, bluesy melodies). Solo album Woke On a Whaleheart would be Callahan’s “rose” period (warm and adventurous soul music), Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle would be his Neo-classical album (drawing inspiration from ancient cultures and their totems, not to mention the heavy use of classical strings), and Apocalypse would be his surrealistic album (an unpredictable and jarring presentation of The End).
In tonight’s episode you’ll hear:
Superchunk “Low F”
Laura Veirs “Sun Song”
No Age “C’mon Stimmung”
Zola Jesus “Fall Back”
Destruction Unit “Bumpy Road”
Mouth of the Architect “Dawning”
The Replacements “Unsatisfied”
Bob Dylan “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”
Check out below or search “BDWPS” on iTunes: