Sunday, April 12, 2009


There are few albums more dear to me than Richard Youngs' Sapphie (listen). I listened to it just this morning walking the dog, past golfers inexplicably golfing alone on Easter morning, a scene even sadder than Young's three long meditatations on loss that comprise this record. It is just his voice, a nylon guitar and the echo of an empty room, repeating simple strokes for an extended cycle until the cycle plays out, or maybe until he just can't do it anymore and has to move on. The night before I witnessed A Scene In A Bar generated by a drama couple in my social periphery - even a well-intentioned if not fully owned fist was thrown at one point - and that seemed even lonelier than anything. I don't know if the message of Easter is that you are to feel thankful for what you have, but that's what I felt when I left the bar with them on the brink of an awkward Easter of clenched teeth and when I made the block turning away from the golf course toward home.

A Ghost is Born (listen) goes under-appreciated I think among the showier facets in Wilco's catalog. The more readable Sky Blue Sky brought out the wit and ironclad lyrical sense in Tweedy's lyrics, something that had been largely missing since Being There, and that wit is Wilco's strongest asset. But there is something to be said about the phrase a ghost is born, because one always is. Any little interaction can create one that lingers in the air largely unseen, haunting and replaying the interaction out forever until it can be exorcised. Sonically, the band is more widely capable than anywhere else, maybe because Tweedy hadn't figured out how to rope in Nels Cline yet, or maybe Nels was thinking this was a one time deal and didn't rope himself in (see comments) or maybe the right blow wasn't thrown yet. Whatever reason, it is a great record.

I will admit that I picked Low's Long Division (listen) primarily because it fit the color scheme I have going with the album covers, but also I have to get some computer work done and this is perfect music to do it to, and it is rainy and this is perfect music for it to be rainy to, and I have been dazzled by the week-long breakdown the Do You Compute blog has been doing on Low.


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  2. Not to be a stickler, but let me stickle you a minute. That Wilco record is pre-Nels Cline. That guitar work is Jeff Tweedy. In the press for the record, the story was told that his wife gave him guitar lessons from Richard Lloyd, and he put them to use for this album.

  3. Whoops, I had it in my head that Nels was.on this album. Thanks for the stickling.