A Wednesday music post (is it really only Wednesday?)

>> Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The opening sequence from Wilco's 2009 tour documentary, Ashes Of American Flags, featuring a gorgeous live-empty-house performance of (naturally), "Ashes Of American Flags":

If you're a Wilco fan and you haven't seen Ashes, let me just tell you: it's fucking fantastic--some incredible live performances in several venues, some interesting moments with the band, and Brendan Canty and Christoph Green did a phenomenal job shooting it.

Ashes, the DVD, may only be an essential if you're a Wilco fan, but the album that the song "Ashes" first appeared on, 2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (named after an ominous numbers station recording1) really isn't. I mean, it is simply an incredible record, and while I certainly understand that tastes differ, and I don't like some stuff that lots of people love and vice-versa, it really is hard to imagine somebody who likes contemporary music who doesn't like YHF. Maybe that's egomaniacal on my part, I know, but seriously, if you don't already have that one on your shelf (or in your hard drive, these days, what with the iTunes and Amazon MP3 store and so on, et cetera, and so forth), well... well, what the hell's wrong with you? Sorry. That's just how it is. And, yeah, I know I'm setting myself up with that one, that somebody is going to say, "Well, why don't you own some shitty album by Yes?" or something like that, and, y'know, all I can say is, I asked you first.

Sometimes the answers from when we were eight are still the best ones.

But seriously (and I'm half kidding, two paragraphs up): great album, you should give it a spin if you haven't.

1Like that isn't fucking redundant: every single numbers station recording ever made sounds like something Mulder would be playing back for Scully at the beginning of an X-Files episode right after the prelim slammer/credits/first batch of commercials. Those things are fucking weird, and it doesn't really help make them less ominous to point out that they only sound like they're being broadcast to aliens, really they're just cloak-and-dagger Cold War stuff involving spies talking to each other, ICBM silos announcing they still haven't been nuked, radio relay towers in the defense grid pinging away, etc., etc., i.e. those random chimes, sans-context bars of music and monotone readings of letters and numbers aren't about aliens but about apocalypse, directly or sometimes tenuously, still.

Numbers stations: the auditory hallucinations suffered by the paranoid schizophrenic that was Western Civilization at the end of the 20th Century; gods, let's hope we're staying on our meds these days.


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