Don’t forget the extra cheese |

Don’t forget the extra cheese

Mike Thomas

Wilco “Kicking Television: Live in Chicago”NonesuchIt never gets boring to talk about a band who consistently delivers in the studio and is equally polished and candid live. This live double disc is proof that Wilco is one of the few in music today who can do both with equal precision and skill. With a vast assortment of songs from the band’s songbook, and heavy on the tracks from “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and “A Ghost is Born,” “Kicking Television” offers a great mix of Wilco’s many gems. For that reason, this should not only delight die-hard fans, but also serve as the ideal crash course for those unfamiliar, but curious about the alt-country rock pioneers.Recorded at the Vic Theater in Chicago, the sound is spectacular – a flawless mix that stays true to what Wilco is like when at it’s collective best – thick guitars, resonant choruses and head-bopping rhythms. Not to mention the band’s affinity to bang out a jaw-dropping jam on occasion. Richard CheeseApertif for DestructionSurfdogRarely is music so funny and clever that it makes you laugh out loud, but Richard Cheese and his lounge band, featuring members with equally ridiculous names – Bobby Ricotta, Gordon Brie and Buddy Gouda – leave you no choice but to laugh throughout this album of popular covers from the ’80s, ’90s and today. Going all the way back to the Beastie Boys’ classic “Brass Monkey” and into modern day with Green Day’s “American Idiot” and Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get it Started,” Cheese puts a spin on songs like no other. Not only does Cheese and company turn classics into certifiable lounge ditties, but he intertwine bits and pieces of other classics as well. For example, mixing in “Mr. Sandman” with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” for the rendition of the Metallica classic and even dabbling in “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” for the equally silly cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” There’s even a salsa-like rendition of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and X-rated cover of the 2 Live Crew classic “Me So Horny.” Cheese does not discriminate when it comes to spoofing classic hits, and the little personal lyrical touches are brilliant, such as “Keep Michael Jackson away from your children” on the version of “We Are the World.” It’s difficult not to mention every one of the 16 covers on “Apertif for Destruction” because each one is unique, funny and more absurd than the next. The Hidden HandDevoid of ColorSouthern LordStoner rock is one genre most people have never heard of unless they had their TV’s tuned into MTV in the mid ’90s when Monster Magnet made a slightly longer than brief appearance there. The Hidden Hand is the crème de la crème of this tuned down, often unbearable style, mixing metal and rock, focusing on melody, but not relying on it, while supplying a beautiful, yet apocalyptic and truly dynamic brand of heaviness. Following up 2004’s epic Mother Teacher Destroyer is no easy task, but Devoid of Color, a 5 song EP and live DVD, featuring jumps out of the gate charging with “The Key” and “Devoid of Color” in typical HH style, but fails to keep up as “The Dagger” and “Vulcan’s Children” sound more like the band’s earlier material – far more raw and unrefined. The fact that this release is limited to 3,000 copies and individually numbered makes it a must for fans and the DVD not only features great live material, but some footage of the band on the road and at home. It’s always good to see a band unafraid to show what its members are like off of the stage and away from the studio. Mike Thomas is a freelance writer based in the Vail Valley.Vail, Colorado

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