A while back NPR’s All Songs Considered linked me to a site called wordle.net, which creates a design based on a random chunk of words you put into it. Similar to the Obamicon phenomenon, you create something and save it on the site for everyone to see.
My only complaint is that I can’t find a way to save it to my computer, because the most appropriate use of such an image is as your desktop background. Bob Boilen found a way, though, so it can’t be that hard.
UPDATE: I was right. You just have to find it on the main part of the page (just browsing through the gallery), then right-click and save as a picture. Wordle, for an Internet phenomenon, gives a pretty half-assed effort at trying to hold the rights to the images you create, but giving you the easiest workaround in the world. Here’s mine:
UPDATE 2: Those MFers did limit the size of the image, now didn’t they?
UPDATE 3: Paxus ex Machina
Yoontunes has kindly bundled together the four new Wilco tunes that are floating around: “One Wing”, “Sunny Feeling,” and two unnamed ones. Take a listen.
I’ve discussed the first two before, but I’ll repeat that I’m underwhelmed. “One Wing” sounds like a cover band doing a caricature of Wilco (especially Tweedy’s voice…he’s almost hamming it up) and the lyrics are ridiculous. “Sunny Feeling” is OK, but kind of boring.
The two unnamed ones are new to me. The melody of the first one is a dead ringer of “On and On and On” to the point that I can’t concentrate. The last song is fairly unmemorable to me, but perhaps it’ll improve on repeated listens.
All in all, I’m nervous about the direction Wilco is headed. I liked Sky Blue Sky, but it’s probably my fourth favorite of their records. I don’t like hearing that Tweedy is distancing himself from his past work, and that he seems to be headed more and more into a Sky Blue Sky direction, which I think will tire quickly. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
That said, listen to some chick named Marnie Stern cover Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”.
UPDATE: Jeff and the boys are gonna be on The Colbert Report tonight. I hope he interviews Tweedy as part of it; Tweedy’s a funny dude.
I’ve written a number of times about Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar, usually as a reference point in other posts about Wilco or Uncle Tupelo or Golden Smog or Tweedy’s overall impact on my life. In any case, their relationship, or lack thereof, fascinates me.
Which is why I treasure this YouTube clip I just stumbled upon. I didn’t see this linked anywhere else (shame on you, Paste and Stereogum), but it’s from January and has 20,000 views, so I’m not exactly breaking news. Anyway, take a listen to Tweedy talking about running into Jay on vacation in Mexico.
Jay Bennett can’t seem to separate himself from Jeff Tweedy.
Just a day after Tweedy announced that Wilco was aiming for a new album in the spring of ’09 (I was saving that for today, but suffice it to say, I’m excited) comes news today that Bennett is planning on three albums for next year. Here’s Paste:
As The Chicago Sun-Times reports, the multi-instrumentalist/studio magician has a hat trick of discs lined up for ’08. Up first: a new solo disc entitled Kicking at the Perfumed Air. Secondly, there’s another collaboration with Burch on tap, a six-song EP dedicated to songwriters Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds.
That second one catches my eye most. As I wrote back in October, I loved their first collaboration, The Palace at 4 a.m., pt. 1. Bennett’s got a ton of talent, but he tries too hard on his solo discs (listen to his voice fucking emote…he’s so deep!). He and Burch are a good match. They use about 97 instruments on each track, and they’re just layered with pop hooks.
And then there’s this: a reunion with his old band.
Finally, longtime Bennett-watchers will be happy to hear that a reunion is in the offing between the man and some of his former bandmates. No, not those ex-bandmates (seriously, have you seen I Am Trying To Break Your Heart lately?) — Bennett is getting back together with his old buddies from Titanic Love Affair, a ’90s power pop troupe that operated under the radar for awhile. They’re set to release their first collection of new material in over a decade. All of this recording activity serves as fanfare to herald Bennett’s arrival in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., where he’s opened up a new studio, Pieholden Suite Sound. The trip out to his new den was actually what prompted the Titanic Love Affair reunion.
Part of me wishes there could be a Wilco reunion. Bennett and Tweedy worked well together; it’s too bad things ended as they did. Plus Wilco is veering slowly into some kind of jam band territory, and I’m a little nervous.
Over the weekend, our friends (i.e., people we’ve never met but whose musings we read) at I Am Fuel, You Are Friends posted a couple of new Wilco songs: One Wing and Sunny Feeling.
As much as I love the concept of new Wilco songs, neither of these did a ton for me. They both sound like Golden Smog songs at heart, and are kind of one-dimensional.
“One Wing” in particular is kind of lousy and trite lyrically (“You were a blessing/I was a curse/I did my best not to make things worse”), which is depressing coming from Tweedy. The jam at the end is very Sky Blue Sky-y, which is nice in small doses (e.g., “Impossible Germany), but isn’t as well done here. Let’s hope it’s not a trend.
“Sunny Feeling” is indeed a sunny tune, but again, it sounds more like a Tweedy b-side, which he usually reserves for the Smog, than a true-blue Wilco song.
And since I mentioned Golden Smog, here’s a shaky video of my favorite Smog song, “Looking Forward to Seeing You,” at an Obama rally in February.
A requisite for being a music fan is the interest in making lists. There’s something innate in us: we like to qualify our taste against our taste. What was your favorite album of the year? What are your favorite 41 songs of the year? Who’s your favorite electroacoustic ambient grindcore band based out of Dedham, Massachusetts? These are questions music fans love to — and have to — answer.
I love setting up different challenges for this sort of discussion, and I thought I’d share one with the Arcanian crowd. It’s the best of your best: Mark down your 11 favorite artists (11 representing the number of songs on the greatest achievement in art, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). Then list your favorite song by each artist. Then put them together as a playlist. See how it looks.
Padre’s first child’s namesake
After the jump, my list, then some discussion:
I haven’t listened to this yet, so no commentary, but: I Am Fuel, You Are Friends lists a collection of live Wilco covers, with a second batch coming. (Sorry for the horrible headline, but Fuel/Friends stole the obvious one.) If you’re a Wilco completist, this is exciting. I’ve only heard 10 of this batch — can’t way to see what else there is.
More to come on this.