Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Discographer: Wilco (via In Review Online)

Over at In Review Online is a look at the entire studio catalog of Wilco, which you can read in its entirety or you can check out the reviews written by yours truly, the debut A.M. and the inimitable Summerteeth. Links below:

Review - Melody A.M. (* * 1/2) From the ashes of famed country-folk band Uncle Tupelo, both Son Volt and Wilco emerged; the former led by the initial band’s front man, Jay Farrar, the latter by Jeff Tweedy. While the details behind Uncle Tupelo’s breakup aren’t entirely clear, the drama between the two artists resulted in a split that was anything but amicable. Bitterly going their separate ways, both of the singers formed new groups and released albums quickly – Wilco with A.M. and Son Volt with Trace. Though Uncle Tupelo fans were undoubtedly interested to see which record would be the stronger of the two, the band members themselves looked at the releases as a sort of rivalry as well. It quickly became evident by both popular and critical reception that A.M. wasn’t the quality of record Tweedy and company would need to get out from under their previous bandmate’s shadow. (Continue Reading...)

Review - Summerteeth (* * * * 1/2) Following their 1995 debut, A.M., Wilco didn’t so much evolve as they intentionally transformed, barely resembling their twangy former selves as they dove headlong into rock ‘n’ roll on 1996’s double album Being There and then, two years later, turned their attention to arty pop song writing, producing 1999's sprawling Summerteeth. Though the band had started as a fragment of the disbanded Uncle Tupelo, Wilco sought to distance themselves from their former incarnation; and by Summerteeth, any resemblance to the former group would have been slight if not imagined. The new approach was largely defined by the more integral role that multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett played in the creation of the album. In addition to playing guitar, keys, and occasionally bass and drums, Bennett was responsible for much of the pop-oriented production of frontman Jeff Tweedy’s material. However, and in light of arguments which transpired between Bennett and Tweedy during the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sessions, it’s clear that Wilco's metamorphosis has always been driven chiefly by Tweedy's ambitions. (Continue Reading...)