Old people and the internet: They're starting to cuddle up. Not as in your mother fwd: fwd: fwd: forwarding you useless e-mail—I'm talking, as ever, about music.
Can you have imagined Bob Dylan releasing a free MP3 of a newly released song, "Dreamin' of You" (Columbia), as little as five years ago? Can you imagine him doing anything other than that to promote his forthcoming album to potential record buyers now? (Dylan's Never-Ending Tour is its own thing, impervious to promotion and time alike.)
What does "Dreamin' of You" sound like, anyway? Like Time Out of Mind, the album it's an outtake from: spooky keyboards, spectral blues guitar, lyrics doom-laden and delivered with real emotion—good, in other words, especially if, like me, you like the Dylan of the past dozen years or so nearly as much as the vintage stuff. Smart of him to devote October's Bootleg Series Vol. 8, which this is from, to outtakes from his past three albums, all of which are great: We can use more of the mordant wit that occupies them, music as well as the words.
There's no work in guessing David Byrne and Brian Eno have done time on the web: Byrne is one of the sharpest bloggers around, and Eno probably invented the internet in 1978 or something. [That's Al Gore.—Ed.] But for all the futurism they've pushed in the past, together and apart, "Strange Overtones" (available free at www.everythingthat happens.com) is closer to the records Byrne's old band Talking Heads made after Eno produced them: song-oriented (Eno composed the track, Byrne the words and vocal melody) but not exactly traditional, with Byrne pulling off the trick of singing about music itself without sounding like a doof—that slight distance between what he's singing and how he sings it (verses deliberate and delicate, chorus incantory in the nervous-preacher mode he's worked since "Once in a Lifetime") helps. Calling this his best work since Talking Heads is obviously stretching it. But since 2002, when he sang X-Press 2's wonderful dance hit "Lazy"? That works fine.