Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Answers To Your Questions

So full points to Loose Fur for best smart-ass album title of the year so far – their sophomore record will be entitled Born Again In The USA. Nice.

The free-form rock combo, featuring Jeff Tweedy and Glenn Kotche of Wilco and producer and ex-Sonic Youth-er Jim O’Rourke released their eponymous debut back in 2003 and even now, as I listen to it while writing this, I still don’t know what I think of it. I like some of it and I dislike some of it, but as an album, it didn’t gel for me. That said, opener “Laminated Cat” is still one of my very favourite Tweedy compositions, both in its more conventionally pop incarnation on the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot demos as “Not For The Season” and the sprawling, drugged up feline version on Loose Fur. Finale “Chinese Apple” is also a gem – it’s just the stuff in between that doesn’t really do it for me.

Still, I’ll be picking up Born Again when it comes out on March 21. Tweedy’s comments to Billboard that the new album is “maybe a little bit heavier… a little bit more prog-rock or something” are intriguing – I’m curious to see what he decided to NOT save for the new Wilco record. And in the same way that Loose Fur foreshadowed the sonic experimentation that would influence Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I expect Born Again to hint at what to expect from Wilco’s sixth album, deliberate or not. Update: As has been pointed out, Loose Fur came after YHF so please disregard both the above paragraph and anything I have to say about anything, ever.

And if Loose Fur isn’t your thing, and I know there’s a lot of Wilco fans for whom it’s not, I direct you to this Prefix review of a recent Jeff Tweedy solo show in New York City and the accompanying video of Jeff performing “Sugar Baby”. The visuals aren’t great, but the sound is surprisingly clear.

Drowned In Sound conducts a quick interview with Howling Bells’ Juanita Stein. I was a little disappointed to not see them on this list of acts coming from Australia and New Zealand to SxSW, but if, as the piece implies, they’re seeking to relocate to London, maybe they’ll make it over by way of the UK? And if you don’t know who the Howling Bells are, I guess you missed this post from last month.

The Times-Leader discusses Nellie McKay’s unceremonious booting from Columbia records.

A news update from Merge gives a sneak peak at their upcoming release calendar, which includes a new Essex Green album, Cannibal Sea, on March 21, Lambchop’s The Decline of Country & Western Civilization: The Woodwind Years and a new one from Camera Obscura in April and new stuff from M Ward, Arcade Fire and American Music Club before the year is out. Merge has been on fire putting out great music for the last few years, and 2006 looks like it will be no different. Futhermore, various Merge artists and employees have compiled their year-end lists.

Also fresh to release calendar – Grandaddy’s Just Like The Fambly Cat will be out April 4.

Pop (All Love) has some career advice for Michael Jackson. Because we need Jacko now, more than ever.

Sites like this and this make me feel like this.

np – The Chameleons / What Does Anything Mean? Basically

By : Frank Yang at 8:58 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Your Fact Checkin Cuz says:

    The Loose Fur album was done after
    Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

  2. John says:

    But, Loose Fur the band came well before YHF. Saw them play at the Noise Pop Fest in Chicago; everyone on the bill was paired with someone else a bit left field, as I recall, hence a Tweedy/O’Rourke pairing (the name Loose Fur came many months later). Kotche was brought by O’Rourke, I believe (his roots are in the Chicago avant rock scene), and the set they played was recorded shortly thereafter in a studio and became that debut disc.

    I’m going off the top of my head here, but I seem to recall reading comments from Tweedy that it was playing with Kotche in that context that made him realize he needed more from a drummer than Coomer could provide, leading to the switch behind the kit and nudging the band in the direction it would take with YHF. You don’t get to witness many moments like that in your life, but it definitely felt like a turning point for Tweedy and Wilco, at least in retrospect.

  3. Frank says:

    that’s approximately the chronology that I had in my head when I wrote the post. I don’t have my copy of "Learning How To Die" to reference, though, but while the Loose Fur album came after YHF, I’m pretty sure the band – or at least Tweedy/Kotche/O’Rourke – came first? Guh.

  4. Brad says:

    I think I’d vote for the Lambchop record with the smart ass album title award.

  5. bozairzere says:

    aahhh intrigue in tangiers…….rockin chameleons!!

  6. Shawn says:

    Howling Bells! I totally missed that you had posted about them. (I was on vacation by then.) Awesome that you liked them!

  7. Jesus Christ says:

    I’m dying for that new Grandaddy album!

  8. Frank says:

    JC – you realize that declaration doesn’t mean as much considering that you tend to get back up after just three days…

  9. goose says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter and faithful mp3 blogger just dropping by to say hello and thanks for continually having a fantastic blog.

  10. clarisse says:

    yes howling bells are damn fine and juanita stein a real fox. saw them with field music at luminaire and they were top notch. love those songs and the swagger. bella union sure does pick em these days! just bought my tickets to feb 27th london show but i don;t think theres many left..