Tag Archives: Feist

The Full Picture: Wilco

Before there was Wilco, there was an alternative country band named Uncle Tupelo which enjoyed moderate success with the dual lead singers Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy. The issue with Uncle Tupelo proved to be that the label “dual” only ended up being true in terms of song credits because Farrar and Tweedy grew to detest each other as they spent more time in the project, continuing up until Farrar decided to quit the band in 1994. This left the remaining group members in a bit of an awkward situation, but likely one that Tweedy was glad to find himself in as all of the other members of Uncle Tupelo sans-Farrar decided to stick with him post-split. The band got renamed to Wilco, a purposefully ironic term which is short for “Will Comply”, and released their debut album A.M. in 1995.

Wilco- A.M. (1995)
Wilco- A.M. (1995)

A.M. stayed true to the alternative-country sound that the band had been accustomed to playing in Uncle Tupelo in many ways, but don’t get that classification confused with the travesty of what is today called country. It was more Americana then that and by many accounts a successful debut album for the group which lent the band some credibility that they would still be releasing good music. Tweedy took over full ownership for vocals and song-writing, but a lot of people at the time held the opinion that Wilco would prove to be the less successful group in comparison to Farrar’s new project Son Volt and their better reviewed debut Trace.

Top Tracks: “Box Full of Letters“, “That’s Not the Issue“, “I Must Be High

Wilco- Being There (1996)
Wilco- Being There (1996)

The opening track for Being There is named “Misunderstood”, and that track is infinitely more ambitious than anything that A.M. could claim. The message is sent that the band was going to try and take a step away from their previous sound and try to create a more meaningful brand of music, and it was met with better reviews and more album sales than their debut, an impressive feat for a double album which was written and recorded in the span of a year. In hindsight I actually end up preferring to listen to their debut over this, but the reason for that is because in terms of Wilco’s discography they went on to progress way past what was being accomplished on Being There. Still, this album served as a good starting point for the sound which would evolve into Summerteeth.

Track Picks: “Misunderstood“, “Forget the Flowers“, “The Lonely 1

Mermaid Avenue
Billy Bragg & Wilco- Mermaid Avenue (1998)

Mermaid Avenue was a projected that started when Woody Guthrie’s daughter approached Billy Bragg and asked him to record songs using a collection of never-before-recorded lyrics which Guthrie had composed. Bragg obliged and recruited Wilco to help out with the project, and today it’s actually evolved to include Mermaid Avenue, Mermaid Avenue Vol. II, and Mermaid Avenue Vol. III (which get combined into the box set Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions). Good recordings to listen to, but unfortunately not-overly significant for the purpose of this article as it was a two artist collaboration where neither one was responsible for the lyrics.
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Kyle’s Governor’s Ball Preview

The Governor’s Ball music festival is taking place this weekend, and I am super excited for this. The festival boasts a consistent and impressive lineup that features some of the top artists from alternative music, hip-hop and EDM, with ticket holders having to choose between two artists for each time slot. Fortunately I’m familiar with a decent amount of the artists playing at this festival, and in this post I’ll let you know which artist I’m going to try to see during each time slot this weekend and why.

Friday

12:15-12:45: Swear and Shake vs. Pacific Air

Pacific Air is brothers playing indie pop. They’re a relaxing listen and well-traveled as they’ve opened for high profile acts before like Passion Pit and Two Door Cinema Club. Swear and Shake seems like it’d be a fun show as well but they’re more folky and seemingly conventional, so I’m planning on starting the festival with Pacific Air.

12:45-1:30 Solid Gold vs. Bear Mountain

We got Solid Gold’s 2012 release Eat Your Young at CDB last year and it wasn’t anything special, I’d say it’s alternative rock with a lot of electronic qualities mixed in to it, again more relaxing than danceable. I hadn’t heard of Bear Mountain before this year’s lineup, but their music seems like it would lead to a better live show then what I’ve heard from Solid Gold, Bear Mountain’s sound is more danceable and upbeat electronic so it should be a fun set to attend.

1:30-2:15 St. Lucia vs. Reignwolf

St. Lucia will put on a good electronic pop show, but my interest is in seeing what Reignwolf does during this time slot. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who seems like he’d put on a sick show, check out the video below where “Bicycle” sounds White Stripes-esque with him covering both Jack and Meg’s parts. This guy’s going to be a hit at governor’s ball for sure.

2:15-3:00 Polica vs. The Knocks

Electronic rock/R&B vs. Electronic Pop. I’m not overly excited about Polica, so The Knocks seem like a safer bet for enjoying the set but either way I don’t view this as a decision you can mess up, the options are pretty similar.

3:00-3:45 Dinosaur Jr. vs. Holy Ghost!

I’d be psyched to see Holy Ghost! over either of the past two artists, but in this slot there’s no way I can see them. I’m an alt-rock kid, and Dinosaur Jr. is one of the bands that defined that genre in the 90s, making the fact that they still release awesome albums like last year’s I Bet on Sky even more impressive. I have to go with the classic artist in this spot to get my fill of actual alternative rock.

3:45-4:45 Best Coast vs. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

I might regret this and be stuck watching a girl on stage sing to me about how great California is, basically the only premise of 2012 release The Only Place, but I’m going to gamble we get the distorted energetic Crazy For You tracks that would make the set amazing. If you were completely off-put by her last release, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs won’t be a bad consolation prize.

4:45-5:45 Of Monsters and Men vs. Dillon Francis

I saw Of Monsters and Men perform last year in Albany and they put on a good show, but I’m a bit bored of their sound now(and the mini-genre as a whole to be honest). I’m not overly into EDM but my friends who are recommended this artist, so I’m going to go with a new experience here rather than attending a show where I know I’ll be indifferent about the band.

5:45-6:45 Crystal Castles vs. Local Natives

This is another big contrast in sound between the artists, so I’d say it depends on your mood. Crystal Castles will definitely be more upbeat and danceable, and apparently she’s very good live, but I’m probably going to give Local Natives a shot here as I find their music easy to enjoy.

6:45-8:00 Feist vs. Young the Giant

This one is based entirely upon the Broken Social Scene rumor if nothing else. BSS is booked in the city to do a late-night gig on Thursday night, and a rumor is going around that Feist’s label mates might help end the BSS hiatus by doing a collaborative set or maybe even taking the stage for their own set after Feist. If it happens it would be probably the most notable story from the festival.

8:00-9:30 Beach House vs. Erykah Badu & the Cannabinoids

I feel like I’m making a mistake on this one so don’t let me sway you away from Erykah Badu, but I loved Beach House’s 2012 release Bloom and am hopeful that they put on the most relaxing show ever performed for their set. Can’t pick wrong between these artists though as they’ll both put on great shows.

9:30-11:00 Kings of Leon vs. Pretty Lights

Finally the headliners, neither of which I’m overly enthusiastic about unfortunately. I’m going to go with the same mentality I had for Dillon Francis in giving the artist who I know less about the shot here. I enjoy some Kings of Leon songs, but Pretty Lights seems like a more fun way to enjoy the end of the first day to me as I’ve heard good things about their live shows.

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