Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I Assassin Down the Avenue

This is pretty cool. Wilco, whose 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot might have been the best album I've heard in five years, is back with a new LP titled A Ghost is Born, and you can hear it streaming online at the band's website.

I saw Wilco in NYC late in 2002 and was less than blown away. The one new song I remember them playing was actually pretty lame, and I wasn't in love with their pre-YHF output (though I was, and remain, a big Uncle Tupelo fan), so I figured this was somewhat a case of a decent band producing a masterpiece half by accident. But I have to say, listening to this new record, it sounds pretty damned good. And I give them a lot of credit for putting it online to listen to, but not download. They've earned at least one extra sale.

The New York Times also recently reviewed Learning How to Die, a new book about the band and singer Jeff Tweedy's problems with substance abuse and anxiety attacks. (Actually, the noted political journalist Joe Klein, a longtime favorite of mine--and my mom's virtual god of pithy political insights--wrote the review. New Yorker financial columnist James Surowiecki once reviewed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; maybe Wilco just has a special pull for nebbishy political/policy guys...) Rock journalism is a lot tougher than it probably sounds--at least, if you're talking about doing it right--but this one could be worth a read.

UPDATE: I've now listened to the whole thing and I'm ready to make it official: this album kicks ass. Go get it.

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