Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BIBJ Playlist of the 2000s entry #64: Impossible Germany by Wilco

Last summer, I went to see the Nels Cline Singers play at Martyr's.  I went in without ever hearing any of Cline's overwhelming catalog of solo work, but a friend gave me two pieces of advice beforehand.
1.  Don't expect anything remotely resembling Wilco.
2.  Do expect it to be really, really loud.

These proved to be sound pieces of advice.  The sound reverberated through the room to that point where you start to wonder, "Is it okay that I can feel my own heart vibrating within my chest?"  And you could clearly tell from various reactions around the room who the people were that were hearing something a bit different from their expectations.  It's probably the same reaction you might get from someone who loved The Straight Story, and thus attends a screening of Mulholland Drive.

Personally, I thought the performance was a highly entertaining look at what Spinal Tap may have been aiming for during their Jazz odyssey phase.  Especially if you replaced "Jazz" with something along the lines of "Avant-garde-noise-rock-kitchen-sink-jazz odyssey."  I'm not sure how else I would categorize offerings like this:

The more I learned about Cline's solo work, the more surprised I was that he would ever cross paths with Jeff Tweedy in the first place.  But then again, his timing at joining the band makes sense considering when Tweedy started his working relationship with fellow man-of-noise Jim O'Rourke.  At this point, I'd love to see Cline's stylistic strengths utilized a bit more on the next Wilco album.  While the majority of Sky Blue Sky is certainly enjoyable, there's not much of it that seems actively exciting as the band can be at their peak. 

"Impossible Germany" is clearly the exception to this theory.  It's one of the few great songs where the lyrics simply serve as the prologue; they clearly serve their purpose, but they're just setting the epic greatness that comes when Cline can let loose (and Tweedy isn't slouching either.)  It's the perfect jam for people who despise jam bands. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would categorize it as "really, really good."