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Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

With The Light From The TV Running Parallel To You

Saturday’s Austin City Limits schedule was disappointingly light – the only acts I’d planned to see were Steve Earle, Andrew Bird and, of course, Arcade Fire. All sure to be fine performances but not really firing me up to head back out into the heat. So when the opportunity came up over breakfast to head over the Austin City Limits television studio to watch them tape a session with Wilco, the answer was a quick “hell yes”.

The taping took place in a relatively small studio on the University of Texas campus with a capacity of maybe 300 people, both seated and standing. Intimate to say the least, and when the band took the stage in front of a painted, illuminated backdrop of the Austin skyline, there was no question it would be a special performance. The sound was stunning, the band in fine form and Jeff Tweedy in particularly jovial spirits and obviously enjoying the cozy atmosphere, taking his running man “Hummingbird” dance into the audience and blowing a kiss to the cameras.

It’s such a shame that the hour-long performance will have to be edited down to a half-hour broadcast, especially since the highlight of the show will almost certainly be excised. That was when the band unexpectedly reached way back into the Wilco archives to A.M. for “Too Far Apart” – the first time I’d heard the current lineup play anything from their first album. The arrangement sounded fantastic, keeping the original’s twang and adding a light gloss of jazziness but when Tweedy tried to go falsetto for the outro, he discovered he didn’t have one. Instead we got him wheezing almost inaudibly into the mic while everyone – band and audience alike – cracked up. Tweedy joked that that was probably the clip they’d use in commercials for the show but it’ll almost certainly end up on the cutting room floor (the producer’s asked if they wanted to play it again and they declined). But definitely one of the most fun and memorable Wilco moments – and shows on the whole – that I’ve had. And I ended up missing the whole day of the fest but I regret nothing.

Photos were not permitted, obviously, so the above image comes from Wilco’s previous performance on Austin City Limits, originally broadcast in January 2005. As does this track:

MP3: Wilco – “Ashes Of American Flags” (live on Austin City Limits)

Northwest Arkansas News talked to Nels Cline about how life in Wilco has affected his solo works.

Band Of Horses, who release Cease To Begin on October 9, have a date at the Phoenix one month later on November 9. CMJ talked to Ben Bridwell about Wal-Mart and the new album, from whence the following tracks is taken.

MP3: Band Of Horses – “Is There A Ghost”

Elsewhere, The Telegraph chats with labelmate and fellow beard connoisseur Sam Beam of Iron & Wine. He’s at the Danforth Music Hall next Tuesday, the same day The Shepherd’s Dog hits stores.

The Walkmen are at Lee’s Palace on October 11, full tour dates at Pitchfork.

CMJ reports that Longwave will be releasing a digital-only EP in conjunction with their upcoming Fall tour – cards with information on how to acquire the three-song release will be available at their shows, including their date at the Horseshoe next Monday night.

Paste features Rilo Kiley, in town at the Phoenix tonight.

You can stream the whole of The Mendoza Line’s final release 30 Year Low. The proper mini-album part of the release is superb, the second disc of attic cleanings is patchy but considering this may be the last we hear from the band as we know it, every little bit is precious.

eCard: The Mendoza Line / 30 Year Low

Austin’s KUT-FM talks to Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg about birds and capture a video performance of Meiburg and drummer Thor Harris playing “Palo Santo”.

Rocky Mountain News asks Arcade Fire’s Will Butler eight questions – no more, no less.

PopMatters and The Globe & Mail interview Kevin Drew and The Guaridan profiles Feist. He’s at Lee’s Palace on September 27, she’s at the Sony Centre February 18.

The Los Angeles Times talks to possibly the coolest Toronto Maple Leaf ever (at least as far as musical taste goes), centre Boyd Devereaux, about his record label. I wonder how hard it is to find Devereaux jerseys in stores…?

By : Frank Yang at 8:39 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. ned says:

    and i assume when you say the mendoza line bonus disc is patchy you mean that the two tracks taken from their nlfn session are awesome and the rest suck, right?

  2. Thierry says:

    I can just imagine Devereaux taking control of the locker room stereo: "Hey, you guys want some Boris or some Sunn0)))?"
    Guys: "Can’t we just put that rockin’ Nickelback cd instead?"

  3. Capt. Kennedy says:

    Any store that sells Leaf jerseys will put Boyd’s name on the back for you, Frank. There’s an upcharge for that, because the money is supposed to go to the NHLPA.

    Regarding locker room stereos, I think these days the players mostly listen to their ipods to get amped up before the game. Although this would detract from the communal vibe, it would help keep fights to a minimum. A few years ago, two baseball players on the Mets got into a vicious brawl when one of them smashed the other’s boombox with a bat. The victim then bought a new boombox and refused to play the next day, preferring to sit in the clubhouse and listen to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack at top volume.

    As you will have noticed, I read the sports pages…

  4. Chuck says:

    I despise the Leafs (yeah, while living in Toronto), but Devereaux seems like an alright guy.

    Not a fan of random plugs, but check out my thoughts on Mr. Devereaux and NHL players in general when I first read the Pitchfork story about him and the record label last month by clicking on my name!