Friday, November 26, 2004

The Wilco Book: Pitchfork Review


The Wilco Book is out now and a Pitchfork Review by Joe Tangari gives a taste:

"The Wilco Book provides a visual representation of the band's state of mind circa 2002-2004, as it underwent its most difficult changes: the turnover of membership, and the complete overhaul of the band's sound. That said, don't come looking for gossip or dirt, because it ain't here. The most controversial item is the revelation that Mikael Jorgensen had to ban Jeff Tweedy from playing slap bass in the control room. Jay Bennett? He's alluded to briefly in an essay. Max Johnston and Ken Coomer? Consigned completely to the memory hole. Wilco did not set out to make their autobiography here, and they don't talk about their past much at all in these blog-like ruminations."

"Hamami"? It's a few minutes of the band members dropping percussive objects in a room with great acoustics more or less at random, and that's exactly what it sounds like. But you might-- if you are one of said xtreme fans-- need the lovely alternate version of Ghost's "Hummingbird", which features a clubby kickdrum and actually fits the mood and tenor of that album better than the version that made the cut.

Several of these tracks are edits of lengthy jam sessions, and a few stick well-- opener "Pure Bug Beauty" in particular. It reminds me a lot of Califone's Deceleration series, with lovely autoharp and piano, yet also feels similar in tone to the outro of "Reservations" or the intro to "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart". "What Good Am I" was recorded in a Perth, Australia hotel room by ex-member Leroy Bach, Tweedy and Jorgensen, and it's perfect, right down to the lo-fi quality and off-the-cuff performance. My favorite of these songs is the instrumental "Diamond Claw", a contender for Ghost that was left off... why? It has beautiful, George Harrison/Segovia guitar runs, haunting percussion, pretty piano, and the kind of direct emotional appeal found in Wilco's more conventional earlier work."

wilco-book-jeffredshirtanddoor.jpg Link and more from

More on THE WILCO BOOK and Wilco and Neil Young.

Here's the unreleased bonus track listing which includes "What Good Am I," recorded in February 2003 in a hotel room in Perth, Australia, "Barnyard Pimp", a tour bus jam, and "Rottnest" with former member Leroy Bach on piano and Mikael Jorgensen on laptop computer. "Hamami" features the sound of screws, coins and chunks of metal as musical instruments.


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