Tag Archives: A Ghost is Born

“Spiders (Original Version)”

Live, 2002

The first time I saw Wilco live was in 2002 at London’s Astoria, on the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot tour. They opened with this then-unreleased song, performed more or less as you hear it here, and I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. Two years later, of course, they turned it inside out for A Ghost is Born, a recording that stands to this day as one of the most beloved and alienating tracks in the band’s catalogue. With time I’ve grown to love both versions equally, but there’s no denying the original’s mellow, hooky charm. One advantage here: the relative stillness of this live presentation leaves plenty of room for the lyrics, among my favorite in Wilcodom.

[audio http://www.jasongonulsen.com/wlco_2002-09-02_d1t01.mp3]
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“Summer Noon”

Sukierae, 2014

After years of being derided for his “dad-rock” tendencies, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy has done the critics one better and recorded an album with his son. The result, a sprawling double record called “Sukierae,” is the most interesting music Tweedy’s made since the criticism started. We’re really coming full circle here. Many of the tracks share similarities with Loose Fur, his great mid-aughts side project with Jim O’Rourke and Glenn Kotche. Others sound like folky outtakes from “Mermaid Avenue” or recent Wilco albums, as you might expect. The difference is Spencer Tweedy’s drumming, which lacks Kotche’s precision but shares his experimental tendencies. Fittingly, dad records the drums at near-demo quality and builds the music around them to match. Plaintive ballad “Summer Moon” best sums up the album’s gentle melancholy.

[audio https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14312140/2-03%20Summer%20Noon.mp3]


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