Wilco related bands and releases seem to be a dime a dozen these days. To big Wilco fans like myself this is reason to rejoice, as most of the projects have been really good. For example The Minus 5- Down With Wilco was a nice trip through Beach Boy melodies with some Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-like instrumentation. Then there was Jay Bennett and Edward Burch with their cd “The Palace At 4am (part 1)” who took a more of an alt.country approach. Recently there was the Wilco EP which was a free download from their webpage (for owners of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) which, while it wasn’t as mindblowing as YHF, still spun some good tunes. One project which I haven’t been able to appricate yet was Glenn Kotche’s solo “noise” project. (And not to mention the recent reissue of the complete Uncle Tupelo catalogue.)
Then there is Loose Fur. And if you ask me, Loose Fur is hands down the best of the lot. The first striking element of the cd is the cover. It is a well thought out painting. A woman smoking a cigarette in the foreground. Then in the background there is a mountain man with a guitar who is either exhaling a whole cloud of smoke, or, trying to inhale a tornado. The colours chime with each other in a harmonious way.
Getting past the cover and opening the booklet you realize who is actually in Loose Fur. You have Glenn Kotche, Wilco’s drummer. Then you have Jeff Tweedy, Wilco’s lead man, vocalist, genious, etc. Then, rounding out the trio, is Jim O’Rourke, Sonic Youth member, producer for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and overall handyman.
As expected from the lineup, the sound of Loose Fur “borrows” from both Wilco and Sonic Youth (Murray Street, especially), whith a touch of Kotche’s and O’Rourke’s ability to experiment with noise.
These songs should appeal to the fan base of both bands. They have the indie-country sensibility of Wilco with the ambling instrumentals that was a staple of Sonic Youth’s “Murray Street”. There is one instrumental track, “Liquidation Totale”. One interesting influence I hear in some of the guitars in the instrumental parts is Leo Kottke. I don’t know if any of the guys listen to him, but Kottke does come to mind occationally.
People with short attention spans may have problems with this cd because of the long songs, however, other Wilco/Sonic Youth fans should eat this up. Look for it if you can, you should be happy (unless you are expecting YHF part 2).