We started a once-a-month, any genre, any time-period, changing Spotify playlist in July of 2020, early in the pandemic, just as a way to alleviate covid boredom and share our love of music with each other, we really had no idea what we were doing, or that we’d want to keep doing it for this long. And we certainly had no idea we’d end up making a podcast and talking to strangers on the internet about any of this… it was really just for our own fun. The whole event has changed and grown over time, gotten crazier, more competitive, and more ritual-filled. The playlist (along with brief notes about each of the songs) has always been featured each month on the artist website.

So staring in March of 2023, we’re adding a podcast to our playlist. Because of copyright issues, you don’t really feature the music itself during the podcast, so if you enjoy the types of music we talk about, be sure and listen to our finished playlist by searching for “In the Distance, Oblivious” on Spotify, that way everyone’s little “play” counter clicks forward a notch, and artists get their little royalty payout.

The podcast that you’ll find on here, though, is an actual recording of the two of us discussing music during the odd and sometimes hilarious ceremony we go through each month to select those songs. Our ceremony features bells, headdresses, candles, a plastic chicken, flaming torches, a talking monkey, and too much bourbon.

Our podcast should (obviously) never be confused with a professional production, and as you listen, you’ll quickly realize we are not podcasting professionals. Like our playlist itself, the podcast is largely unscripted and basically made up as we go along. Really, we’re just two friends who have fun talking about music, and enjoy operating under the false assumption that other people want to listen to us too.

Our playlist is always eleven songs, so each month we take last month’s songs down and put up eleven new songs for the next month. We keep a giant archive playlist of all the songs that have ever been in our playlist, and every eleven months, we also put together a Greatest Hits playlist of our favorite eleven songs from the previous eleven months.

So how do we pick the songs? In the middle of each month, we start by each sending the other ten songs, for a total of 20. About a week later, we get together for the actual picking ceremony. And it’s quite a ceremony! There’s a processional fanfare, during which we wear the Wigs of Gaga. We carry the Flaming Torches of Darnielle towards the Altar of Waits. There we light the Candles of Elton, and we place our ballots marked with the ten songs we each we each think will be picked into the Ceremonial Ceramic Gourd. Frank, AKA The Primate of AllStar Supremacy is then placed by the current Lord Protector of Frank (who also wears the Crown of Lamar) over the Gourd to protect those ballots from tampering or harm. Bourbon is then decanted and drunk.

Like we said, it’s quite a ceremony! But having said that, we usually forget what we’re doing at least once and screw something up.

To actually pick the songs that will be included, we have to narrow those 20 songs down, first to ten: We take turns each month who will start the procedure, but each of us will pick one of the other’s songs, then one of our own, then one of the others, then one of our own, then one of the others… for a total of ten songs. Also, before each song is selected, the Rattle of Ululation must be heard.

Once we’ve picked those ten songs, each player rings the Chime of Thelonius once for each correct vote, and whoever has voted for the the most correct songs then picks two songs (they can either be songs that didn’t get selected initially, or just any random other song), and the loser picks one of those two for the final eleventh song.

In case of ties, and this happens fairly often, the winner alternates. Our mascot-signed foul ball from a Richmond Flying Squirrels game (the “Squirreley Ball of Confusion”) decides any ties in the voting process. Whoever holds said ball is pronounced the winner that month.

During our podcast, you’ll hear us introduce and talk about each song, why we liked it or didn’t like it. We spend some time after we pick the songs to put them in an order that we like and that makes sense to the songs, so please listen and subscribe to our finalized playlist on Spotify.