Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wilco • A.M., Being There, Summerteeth

This batch of vinyl reissues is super deluxe, befitting this era of the band, which I still think is Wilco at their prime. Each reish comes with a complete CD of the album, too, so there's no worries about what you'll listen to in the car or how you're gonna get them on your ipod.

The albums themselves are deluxe cardboard gatefold sleeves, the way they used to do them when vinyl was all there was (8-track just doesn't count, folks). That is, thick cardboard with separate printed artwork stock glued on. Pressings themselves are on 180 gram vinyl, real nice and quiet. On the three I have I detected very few ticks, and they were tiny at that. Included are lyric sheets and credits, and of course the CDs, which aren't as nice (just 4-color printed jackets) as the original CD issues. But that's part of why you bought the vinyl, right, to bask in the glory of a nice big album.

I didn't really have these guys on my radar until they did the Mermaid Avenue project with Billy Bragg. Their arrangement of Woody Guthrie's "California Stars" was beautiful, so I figured if they were good enough for Billy, they'd be good enough for me. Then Summerteeth really did my head in with some great, poppy, honest rock songs that had enough standard modern accoutrements (bits of country, hard rock, etc.) in the arrangements that you couldn't easily pigeonhole them. After that I picked up A.M. and Being There, both of which had some real great songs on them ("Casino Queen," "Monday") but which felt like, in light of Summerteeth, they hadn't quite found their own sound. Of course Tweedy & Co. went on to become quite heralded with their record company woes, Tweedy's personality, and the video. These, I believe, are Wilco at their prime.
4/5 (A.M.), 4/5 (Being There), 5/5 (Summerteeth)
(Nonesuch 518084-1, 518085-1, 518086-1)

1 comment:

  1. I know they have become beloved since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but am I wrong for saying they are completely fucking boring? Summerteeth and Being There are the peak!