WITH WILCO'S follow-up to 2004's A Ghost is Born due "sometime this year," Jeff Tweedy and company have been gracious enough to throw fans a decent doggie bag of shwag to hold them over in the interim.
After the band's breakthrough CD, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Tweedy became a poster boy for file sharing and creative-commons practices, boldly voicing his disbelief in the notion that "every download is a lost sale." Putting his money (literally) where his mouth is, Wilco has provided web-exclusive EPs free on their website, plus free streaming audio and video of last November's live double disc, Kicking Television.
Not content simply to upload MP3s to wilcoworld.net between albums, the band bought some time with the aforementioned Kicking Television, which is one of the rockin'-est concert albums I've ever heard.
On top of that, Tweedy, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, and alt-hero-everywhereman Jim O'Rourke just released Born Again in the USA, the second CD from their side project, Loose Fur. Born Again is proggier than their eponymous debut, with rapid time signature changes and cutesy stop-start rhythms, which unfortunately risk overshadowing Tweedy and O'Rourke's starkly emotional songwriting abilities.
And finally, as if sensing that Wilco fans are a hungry bunch, Tweedy and Kotche are coming through town on a double solo tour (they occasionally jam together at the end of some sets, but Tweedy has warned fans against expecting that every night). The last time Tweedy was here solo, he performed an hour and a half set with his acoustic guitar, dipping all the way back to the Uncle Tupelo song pile, while slaying the audience with some of his latest tunes. In other words, he was giving the audience everything they wanted—something he has a lot of experience in.