It starts out with a light, lilting guitar/piano intro and then kicks in with a slapping standup bass part and rolling drum beat. Then comes that voice, like a windblast of sandy gravel to the face but oh so familiar and comforting. Such is the thrill of hearing “Duquesne Whistle,” the first track released off of Bob Dylan’s first new record in three years, “Tempest,” and the 35th album in his 50-year recording career. The track was posted this morning at National Public Radio’s music site, two weeks ahead of the record’s Sept. 11 release date.
Named after a town (and university) outside Pittsburgh, “Duquense” shows off a little of the sonic palette we can expect on the album, which he recorded with his touring band (with guitarists Stu Kimball and Charlie Sexton). It also hints at the lyrical content, crafted with help from longtime Grateful Dead lineman Robert Hunter. “Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing / Blowing like it’s gonna blow my sweet world away,” Bob sings at the start. Midway through the song, he mysteriously throws this in, “You’re the only thing alive that keeps me going. You’re like a time bomb in my heart.” Can’t wait to hear the rest.
You can hear all of the new record by another Minnesota music alum named Bob. Former Hüsker Dü and Sugar rocker Bob Mould’s hard-blasting new one, “Silver Age” -- due out on Merge Records next week -- is now streaming in its entirety at RollingStone.com. This one starts with a cranking, crunching guitar riff and pretty much doesn't let up, eventually turning into Mould’s heaviest and noisiest effort since Sugar’s “Beaster” EP. Highly recommended.