Anyone who considers electronic dance music an inaccessible, overintellectual art form doesn’t listen to Beats in Space, the weekly radio show hosted for the last 13 years by DJ Tim Sweeney. His Tuesday-night program on WNYU 89.1 FM is probably one of the best electronic-music shows in North America. But it’s a friendly one, too, largely because Sweeney is adorably awkward. During the few minutes he spends speaking with his guest DJs on each program, the 31-year-old giggles, stumbles over foreign words, and makes milquetoast small talk—almost like a cross between a late-night public-access TV show host and a bumbling Farley on Saturday Night Live’s “The Chris Farley Show.” But few hold it against him. In fact, with the exception of Victor from Washington Heights—a troll who calls in regularly to trash everything on the show—the universe seems to embrace Tim Sweeney. Beats in Space has become the low-key alternative to more commercial prorams like BBC Radio One’s Essential Mix and a more diverse cousin of Resident Advisor and XLR8R’s noted podcasts. And while he’s booked playing parties and running a promising record label—pick up that Secret Circuit 12-inch!—Sweeney rarely misses a show. Every week, he’s back in the basement, chit-chatting with James Murphy, DJ Hell, Morgan Geist, Superpitcher, the deranged DJ Harvey, and dozens of other touring DJs, giggling and mixing away, while the world happily tunes in to listen.
Tim Sweeney DJs at 10 p.m. with Beautiful Swimmers and Tiger + Woods at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. Free before 11 p.m. for 21-plus; $10 after. ustreetmusichall.com. (202) 588-1880. Listen to Beats in Space at beatsinspace.net.