On Fillmore Extended Vacation

On Fillmore Extended Vacation
I worry about Wilco. Jeff Tweedy added guitar pyrotechnician Nels Cline, only to apparently tie one hand behind his back on the last couple of albums. And then there's Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche. On Fillmore, his duo experiment with bassist Darin Gray, formerly of free-jazz/rock outfits like Dazzling Killmen and Brise-Glace, he reveals a sneakier side to his percussion toolkit. Extended Vacation is their fourth release and comes after three years of careful and deliberate woodshedding. It traffics a little in Rube Goldberg-like mechanics of miniaturized impacts and more in a kind of faux exoticism that marries '60s lounge, bird calls and moody jazz swank. It's a little like Ben Vida's Bird Show after a four-martini lunch. A good example is the languorous "Daydreaming So Early," which showcases Gray's upright acoustic tone locking with Kotche's snaking vibraphone in a Milt Jackson/Tokens mash-up of sorts, including what sounds like a snoring jungle cat. Which brings me back to Wilco: if Tweedy keeps all this weirdness locked down the pressure might… just… bang! (Dead Oceans)