A sonic shoulder to cry on

There’s something magical about getting a new record album on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Yes, a record album. It feels so good to pull out the freshly pressed vinyl and drop it on the tuntable, hear that first little hiss as the needle touches down (“The Needle has landed,” as Neko Case says) and you’re wisked away to happy times. Anyway, as I pulled the cellophane wrapped LP from the cardboard mailer, Poppy wandered over and inquired — after extending birthday wishes to the cover subject — “What’s that?”

“It’s my new record. It’s a new Wilco album. Want to listen to it?”

However we didn’t listen to the LP right then — we had to run out to the hair cuttery for the gals, so we took along the CD that came with the LP and listened to the smaller, more compact version in the car on the way to the chop shop.

Since then, I have probably completed 15 listenings of the entire album (about 6 on the LP — and yes, I think it does sound richer than the CD). I think it might be their best album. Or let me put it another way that I think is more fitting and really a better compliment to them — it is as good as all their others.

“Wilco (the Album)” sort of represents a convergence of the sounds that I’ve heard on their tracks before, but this time it’s all melded together. The first song “Wilco (the song)” — a sonic reassurance to all their fans that regardless of who is out to get you, Wilco has your back — gets things started with a wink and a hug. And the album just goes from there.

Throughout the album, they sound like they are having fun, and the result is that I have fun listening to them having fun. It’s fun, but it’s also confident. This is the most assured Wilco I’ve heard, and while some may not like the produced feel of some of the tracks, there are spots throughout the record where anyone who has seen them live or knows their music well will be saying to themselves, “Man, I can’t imagine what Nils will do on THAT solo live!” or “Hey, that keyboard in the background reminds me of SummerTeeth.”

My favorite song (so far): “Bull Black Nova.” I love how it builds bewteen the frantic emotion of the words and the slightly piercing timbre of the guitar. Not to mention, it has what I think is one of the best repeated guitar riffs in their vast catalog of songs.

This is the kind of Wilco album that someone who has never bought a Wilco album could buy and get a nice taste for their different facets all in one dose. So support the economy — go buy a few copies and distribute to all your friends.

Are Times getting tough?
Are the roads you travel rough?
Have you had enough of the old?
Tired of being exposed to the cold?
Stare of your stereo
Put on your headphones before you explode

Not so 'infinite' after all

I finished “Infinite Jest” this morning, before the kiddos woke up. I’m still trying to process it; I’m not so good with loose, undefined endings. But I certainly did think about the book constantly over the last however-long-it-took-me-to-read-it. I’ll read it again. I hope Rockford will read it, too. He’s much better at reading Thinkers than I am.

Wilco loves you, baby

The new Wilco album arrived in the mail today, which means it’s a good day. We listened to the CD while driving around on our errands today, and we put the record on as soon as we got home. P’s favorite is “Wilco (the Song).” She’s singing it right now, while she and Rockford dance to “Blue Black Nova.”