Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Kick your television

Play it: Wilco Kicking Television: Live In Chicago

Boy... this is the week for live releases, I guess. Guided By Voices (The Electrifying Conclusion DVD,) Wilco (Kicking Television,) Bright Eyes (Motion Sickness) and Bonnie "Prince" Billy (Summer In The Southeast.) The only Rhapavailable one, however, is thankfully the most anticipated. A two-disc set, Kicking Television was recorded over four-nights in front of a sold-out hometown crowd at Chicago's historic Vic Theatre earlier this year, and you can just hear all the hugging going on as the audience recognizes a song.

After the disappointing A Ghost is Born, I've been worried about the outfit. They had appeared to become a Jeff Tweedy solo project, band in name only. Here, though, they build on those songs with new arrangements and achieve something greater, with much help from guest guitarist extraordinaire (and Tweedy foil?) Nels Cline. Just listen to what he adds to "Handshake Drugs," "Hummingbirds" and "Spiders (Kidsmoke)."

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Tweedy fan, but I'm a much bigger fan of the back n' forth he gets from another personality... by himself, I feel he gets a bit too self-indulgent, as A Ghost Is Born demonstrated. While with Uncle Tupelo, he was more Jay Farrar's foil until the last album, but later on with Wilco, he had both Jay Bennett and Jim O'Rourke to bounce and be bounced off of.

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