Tag: wiloc

MUSIC REVIEW | Wilco – Wilco (The Album) (2009)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s even more optimistic and upbeat than I remember.”

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A band self titling a debut album always seems lazy to me, or like a missed opportunity.  How could you already be out of ideas, or over the novelty fun of coming up with cool, fun, crazy stuff, by the time you’re naming your first record?  But a long running band self titling an album well into their career, with plenty of other releases before that?  To me, that’s interesting, that’s a band making a statement.  Like when Metallica did it with the record that just so happened to make them one of the biggest acts on the world.  Or when the Beatles did it with what is still seen as one of their best, and one of the best of all time from any band.  So what did it mean when Wilco went with Wilco (The Album)?

The title is already casual and playful in a way that I don’t think people would really associate with the band’s work before this time.  Calling the opening song Wilco (The Song) pushes that casual playfulness even further.  Building it on a peppy beat and dancing riffs, all in support of lyrics like, “Wilco will love you baby” all builds to a song declaring the kind of mission statement that makes me love a long running band self titling an album well into their career. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Wilco – Sky Blue Sky (2007)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Hearing Sky Blue Sky now, I feel like this record and this solidifying of the band is the clear beginning of the today’s happier, more optimistic outlook.”

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And thus it came to be, Wilco in its most consistent form was born.  After various comings and goings of band members, including Jay Bennett being sacked because, “A circle can only have one centre” (Tweedy, 2001), the tour for 2004’s A Ghost is Born saw the addition of multi instrumentalist Pat Sansone, and guitar soundscape evil genius, Nels Cline.  Forming the version of the band that still exists today, their first studio effort together was Sky Blue Sky.

All pretty tinklings and gentle but upbeat vocals, Either Way and You Are My Face ease the record in.  Until the latter gives way to Cline’s aggressive, hard hitting guitar sound, leading to some vintage soul grooves.  Cline often looks like he’s trying to break his guitar while he plays it, and the short, blistering moments where he cuts loose here sound like a strings should be snapping with every single note.

Talking about the writing of Sky Blue Sky, Tweedy said, “I got nervous about the technology on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.  If you need a certain amp or pedal to make a song what it is, it isn’t a song.”  And I really think you can hear that.  A song like Impossible Germany is perfect in its simplicity.  It doesn’t sound like bits and pieces assembled and perfected in ProTools.  It sounds like band of real people, playing a song, in a room together. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Wilco – A Ghost is Born (2004)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “There is a sound to this record that I feel like I can still hear to this day on subsequent albums.”

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Two main things happened to Wilco in the wake of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. One, multi instrumentalist and Jeff Tweedy collaborator / nemesis Jay Bennett was gone.  And two, the band had gone from being critical, alt favourites, to genuine super stars.  Sure, they weren’t all of a sudden churning out top 40 hit singles, but they were now well and truly international headliners.  So for the first time, the band wasn’t only under their own internal pressure to make something great, they also had a bigger audience than ever looking in from the outside, waiting to see where they went next, with A Ghost is Born.

From its morose, piano lead opening minutes, to the dirty, distorted guitar march that follows, At Least That’s What You Said makes it clear that a bigger audience didn’t mean Wilco was all of a sudden going to water things down to please them.  With John Stirratt’s pumping bass, and Glenn Kotche’s tight drumming on a seemingly endless loop, Spiders (Kidsmoke) almost sounds like a piece of electronica.  Even Tweedy’s vocals have a metronomic, automaton deadpan.  Until it turns into some of the most straight ahead, riff heavy guitar rock I have ever heard Wilco produce in the studio. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Tweedy – Sukierae (2014)

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An alt-rock, critical and hipster darling, teaming up with his teenage son to make an album. Could there be a bigger warning sign that an album is an immense vanity project and exercise in self indulgence? Usually, that combo would scare me shitless. But when the alt-rock, critical and hipster darling in question is Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, I’m willing to give this father and son team up the benefit of the doubt. So, let’s hope Sukierae rewards that doubt benefit.


Almost lo-fi punk, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood sounds like it was written specifically for me, to alleviate my own personal fears about how bad this album might be. It didn’t just grab my attention, it shook my attention like a baby that won’t stop crying. (more…)