Wilco's latest iTunes session includes almost half of 'The Whole Love,' and one real surprise

Wilco headed into their own loft in Chicago last December to record this tight little iTunes Session, a short live-show-without-an-audience, essentially.

Highlighting almost half of The Whole Love (Dawned On Me, Born Alone, I Might, Black Moon, Whole Love) and two sorta-oldies War On War and Passenger Side (well, okay, that one truly is getting on in age now), the real surprise here is Cruel To Be Kind with the Basher himself, Nick Lowe, taking over lead vocals. It’s kind of a neat payback of sorts — Wilco’s first single for the new album featured Lowe’s I Love My Label as its b-side, and now he gets to front the band.

There’s little doubt there’s some early Lowe catalog DNA in Wilco’s more pop-oriented moments, as much of an alt-country poster child as they may be.

While the set as a whole isn't going to be a drastic departure from the album versions for less familiar fans -- because Wilco is one tight, efficient live unit -- die-hards are going to want this just to hear the tracks played with a little more abandon, or maybe that modern-day Wilco version of Passenger Side, and maybe to marvel again at singer Jeff Tweedy's excellent whistle. It is excellent.

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.