Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Sunday! The Autumn Defense at the Beachland Tavern

Photo by Mae Moreno

Every Wilco side project has its own personality. On Fillmore – a project featuring drummer Glenn Kotche and St. Louis musician Darin Gray – is adventurous and dense, full of found sounds and evocative instrumentals. Nels Cline’s side work is also more intricate and ornate; his whirling-dervish, effects-laden guitar style runs wild and experimental when freed from the constraints of Wilco’s aesthetic.

And then there’s the Autumn Defense, the project helmed by Pat Sansone and John Stirratt. Perhaps the most “traditional” of the side projects, it’s a band indebted to the power-pop innovators and folk-leaning rockers of the ‘60s and ‘70s. That’s evident on the fantastic Once Around, the Autumn Defense’s new – and fourth! -- record, which was just released by Yep Roc Records.

Delicate falsetto and gleaming piano collide on the Jellyfish-esque “Back Of My Mind,” while the pair’s meltaway harmonies drive the stellar single “Tell Me What You Want” and introspective “The Rift.” Around’s quieter moments are its most moving; for instance, the hushed acoustic plucking and resolving chords on “Once Around” recall Elliott Smith’s sparest moments. But jangly detours such as “The Swallows of London Town” -- a lovely, jaunty approximation of U.K. folk-pop à la Trashcan Sinatras – keep things interesting. Above all, it’s an album to spin as autumn’s chill devolves into winter’s bitter cold. Stream it right now over at AOL’s Spinner.

With Wilco gearing up to make a new record, the Autumn Defense has managed to sneak away for a short tour that’s bringing it to the Beachland Tavern on Sunday night. Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion is opening. (Yes, Sarah Lee Guthrie is related to who you think she is; she’s daughter of Arlo Guthrie and granddaughter of Woody Guthrie.) The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $16.