Monday, 25 May 2009
Former Wilco member Jay Bennett (above, second from right) died in his sleep overnight at the age of 45. Details are trickling in slowly but Pitchfork have more. Jay was with the band from 1994 to 2001 as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, and was fired after a falling out during the making of their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album. According to reports earlier this month Bennett had been suing Wilco for money owed from his work with the band. He also released several of his own albums after leaving Wilco. His Jay Bennett myspace page mentions his recent hip replacement and has links to his recently released album, but of course no mention yet of his death. RIP Jay.
In Jay's honour I've been listening to Summerteeth as I write this, which I reckon is the high-water mark of Wilco's Jay-era records. But I started the day listening to the new Wilco album. Yes I know, its not out until late June or early July, but I know people, OK!? I have contacts in the right places... ahem... Anyway, its called, somewhat cheekily Wilco (The Album) and the opening cut is "Wilco (The Song)". Jeff even sings the word "Wilco" in the chorus... weird. The rest of the tracks, on first listen, don't quite stack up against the set on Sky Blue Sky which has quickly become one of my favourite Wilco records. A lot of people just didn't dig it, but songs like "Impossible Germany" and "On and On and On" are as good as anything else they've ever done. So anyway, the new album doesn't quite soar as high, but is still a well crafted collection of intelligent adult-pop tunes.
I've also got my winter mittens on Ashes of American Flags, their new tour/live movie. Check the trailer:
And guess what!? You can also get a Wilco iPhone app! I'm going to download it now...