Fans who pick up “The Wilco Book” on Nov. 15 will be treated to an exclusive bonus CD with 12 previously unreleased songs recorded during sessions for this year’s Nonesuch album “A Ghost Is Born.” Among the cuts are an alternate version of album track “Hummingbird,” “Pure Bug Beauty,” “The High Heat,” “Barnyard Pimp” and “Diamond Claw.”
The tracks showcase the more experimental side of Wilco’s sound, including “What Good Am I,” which was recorded in February 2003 in a hotel room in Perth, Australia. “Barnyard Pimp” blends a studio improvisation session with a tour bus jam, while “Rottnest” features only former member Leroy Bach on piano and Mikael Jorgensen on laptop computer. Closer “Hamami” finds band members utilizing screws, coins and chunks of metal as percussion instruments.
Jorgensen calls “Diamond Claw” “technically and musically my favorite piece of recorded music that came out of the sessions for ‘A Ghost Is Born.'” As for album contender “The High Heat,” he notes, “This particular drum sound isn’t my favorite; it’s rather unsophisticated. However, the feel and atmosphere of the tune trumps and technical issues that I have.”
As for the 160-page “The Wilco Book” (Picture Box Inc.), it sports previously unseen images of Wilco by photographer Michael Schmelling, essays from band members and authors such as Rick Moody, paintings and assorted other visual images. The tome will retail for $29.95.
Fans who pre-order the book from Wilco’s official Web site by Sept. 30 will be eligible to win an autographed reprint of a photo from the volume.
The group’s latest lineup has also recorded its first song, “Just a Kid,” for the upcoming “Spongebob Squarepants” soundtrack, due in November. The cut sports backing vocals by frontman Jeff Tweedy’s son Spencer’s band, the Blisters.
In related news, Wilco bassist John Stirratt and his sister Laurie (ex-Blue Mountain) will on Sept. 21 release “Arabella,” their debut album for Broadmoor Records. The set boasts contributions from Tweedy, Bach and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, as well as John’s Autumn Defense colleague Pat Sansone.
Wilco kicks off an extensive North American tour in support of “A Ghost Is Born” Tuesday (Sept. 14) in Columbia, Mo. Calexico, Joseph Arthur, Fiery Furnaces and Deerhoof will support at various stages.
Here is the track list for “The Wilco Book” CD:
“Pure Bug Beauty”
“This Is New”
“This Is New (The Explanation)”
“What Good Am I”
“Here Comes Everybody”
“Hummingbird” (Soma version)
“The High Heat”
i] Source billboard.com.