Posts Tagged ‘Golden Smog’

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Some amazing reissues this week and an awful lot. We have Guns ‘n’ Roses, Wire, Aphex Twin, Guru and that LOST Coltrane album, I would happily have any of them as my record of the week.

The reissues of the first three Wire albums on vinyl are upon us, and not before time. Wire emerged from the ghetto that is St. Albans in October 1976, inspired by the punk explosion. Harvest Records, a label which had up to that point had a roster comprised almost completely of acts punks would have spat on decided it needed to get in on the act and signed them, not realising they were not, despite an exquisite talent for melody and inventiveness, going to furnish them with hits, and so they parted company in 1979. As it happens, “Pink Flag”, “Chairs Missing” and “154”, spanning playful art punk, new wave and post punk in a seamless line between 1977 and 1979 are about as good as any of those genres get. The three are all indispensable artifacts of the era.

Let’s Eat Grandma follow up the much vaunted “I, Gemini” with the equally beguiling “I’m All Ears”, while the Gorillaz enthusiastic genre bending mission continues unabashed with the excellent “The Now Now”.

Record Of The Week goes to Numero Groups stunning compilation of the first 4 albums by Happy Rhodes. Pure dream pop, I instantly fell in love with this. Its like a more stripped back Kate Bush, which brings in some lovely synth as it progresses.
Its the kind of album that I wish I had received a promo for as I have massively under ordered! You can stream on Numero’s bandcamp page,

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Let’s Eat Grandma  –  “

Let’s Eat Grandma return with their newest edition, ‘I’m All Ears’ which an even greater revelation than Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth’s globally acclaimed debut, I, Gemini. The second act from the British teenage vocalists, multi-instrumentalists and songwriters, is the most startling, infectious, innovative and thrilling record you’ll hear this year. It is alive with furious pop, unapologetic grandeur, intimate ballads; with loops, Logic, outrageous 80s drum solos, as well as production from David Wrench (The XX/Frank Ocean/Caribou), Sophie (famed for her own material and work with Madonna, Charli XCX and Vince Staples) and Faris Badwan (The Horrors). Their sound has developed a stronger electronic tone while remaining their upbeat young vocals throughout. It’s an album that cements Let’s Eat Grandma as one of the most creative and exciting bands in the world right now.

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Florence + the Machine  – High As Hope

Florence + the Machine announces new album, ‘High As Hope’. For perhaps the first time, ‘High As Hope’ is a record that is as intimate as it is epic, with the more restrained sound relatively speaking; Florence knows herself well enough now to declare “I’m never going to be minimal” -mirroring this sense that happiness doesn’t always have to be big and dramatic:There’s a lot of love in this record, loneliness too, but a lot of love.”

An album that mixes high and low–from a tribute to Patti Smith one minute to being ghosted over text by a date the next –‘High As Hope’ is made up, says Florence, “of joy and fury”…

“Towering performer twirls back with power and poetry” – Evening Standard,
“A euphoric return by a singular talent” – Telegraph,
“an appealingly visceral force” – Guardian.

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Happy Rhodes – Ectotrophia

The first authoritative compilation of American dream pop artist Happy Rhodes, whose singular songwriting and four-octave vocal range emanated from the pastoral confines of upstate New York in the 1980s. Her melding of classical music influences with synthesizer and acoustic guitar, and her enchanting and idiosyncratic singing, are favorably compared to heralded English chanteuse Kate Bush. Fans of such artistic pop music would be remiss to overlook Rhodes’s similarly remarkable and otherworldly sonic transmissions, traversing tales of dreamers, outsiders, lovers and other lovely and terrifying creatures born of a wellspring of wild creativity and bold imagination. Affectionately remastered from the original tapes, Ectotrophia gathers essential songs from Rhodes’s mid-’80s salad days, many written when she was just a teenager – wildly ahead of her time and unafraid to bare her soul to regional audiences, the ectophiles who’d eventually coin an entire subgenre of pop music in her honor. Dive deep into ecto, with the woman who started it all.

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Dawes – Passwords

On the group’s sixth album, Passwords, inspiration pulls guitarist / singer Taylor Goldsmith, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, bassist Wylie Gelber, and keyboardist Lee Pardini into their most universal, topical territory to date. This is a record about the modern world: the relationships that fill it, the politics that divide it, the small victories and big losses that give it shape. Taylor’s writing is personal at points – the result of his recent engagement, which lends a sense of gravity and self-reflection to album highlights like Time Flies Either Way and I Can’t Love – but it also zooms out, focusing not on the director himself, but on everything within the lens.

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The Alarm  –  Equals

Equalsis The Alarm’s first album since 2010’s Direct Action. It is a barnstorming collection of 11 songs that act as a retrenchment of old values and a poignant reflection of the tough times Mike Peters and his wife Jules have been through in recent years. Produced by George Williams (who previously worked on 2005’s Under Attack), Equals opens with a torrent of epic rock numbers such as Two Riversand Beautiful, which see Peters singing about coming to terms with the past before moving to enjoy life to the full. With Mike and Jules joined by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros drummer Smiley and guitarist James Stevenson, who cut his teeth with Chelsea, Gen X and The Cult, the album encompasses twin harmony guitars, pounding drums and electronic layering, while guest guitarist Billy Duffy (The Cult) helps Peters and Stevenson blend acoustic and electric sounds on Coming Backwards.

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Ryan Adams –  Baby I love You

A ONE TIME pressing on PINK COLOURED vinyl with backed on the B-Side by “Was I Wrong”.
No, it isn’t a cover of the Ronettes classic of the same name, but it’s “A song to one’s baby, whom they love – a unique twist on Ryan Adams’ classic recipe, with key ingredient ‘sad’ replaced by ‘happy,’” according to the press release.

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Graham Nash – Over the Years

Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Graham Nash burst on to the scene during the British Invasion with The Hollies before he formed the legendary supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1968 with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. As Nash prepares to launch a European tour in July, he looks back at some of his best-known recordings from the past 50 years in a new anthology featuring more than a dozen unreleased demos and mixes. Over The Years… features 30 tracks has been painstakingly curated by Nash and longtime associate Joel Bernstein and includes extensive credits and liner notes. The anthology highlights songs from the iconic CSN debut album (Marrakesh Express) and its successor album Déjà Vu, for which Neil Young joined forces with CSN (Our House and Teach Your Children) as well as songs from subsequent CSN albums (Just A Song Before I GoandWasted On The Way). In addition, the collection highlights songs that Nash recorded for his 1971 solo debut, Songs For Beginners, including Military Madness and Simple Man, and includes unreleased mixes for two other songs from that album: Better Daysand I Used To Be King. The most recent recording on the compilation is Myself At Last from Nash’s 2016 solo album This Path Tonight. Two tracks from his enduring albums with David Crosby (Immigration Man and Wind On The Water) are also included in the collection.

2CD – The CD version includes 15 demo recordings, 12 of which have never been released. Standouts include the 1968 London demo of Marrakesh Express, rejected by the Hollies and setting the stage for Nash’s relocation to Los Angeles and the next chapter of his life. The set contains early versions of CSN classics like Our House, Wasted On The Way, Pre-Road Downs, andTeach Your Children. Other unreleased gems include: I Miss You and You’ll Never Be The Same — both from Nash’s 1974 solo album Wild Tales — and Horses Through A Rainstorm, originally intended for Déjà Vu.

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Buffalo Springfield  – What’s That Sound? Complete Albums Collection

Before playing its final show on May 5th, 1968, Buffalo Springfield released three studio albums on ATCO during an intense, two-year creative burst. Those albums – Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, and Last Time Around – have been newly remastered from the original analog tapes under the auspices of Neil Young for the new boxed set: What’s That Sound? The Complete Albums Collection. Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin played their first show together as Buffalo Springfield in 1966. The same year, the band recorded and released its self-titled debut, which included the iconic protest song, For What It’s Worth, featuring lyrics as poignant now as they were then, in addition to standouts like Burned, Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, and the band’s first single, Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing. The group spent the first half of 1967 making Buffalo Springfield Again, which was the first album to feature songs written by Furay (A Child’s Claim To Fame.) Stills and Young both contributed some all-time classics with Bluebird and Rock And Roll Woman from Stills, and Mr. Soul and Expecting To Fly from Young. When Last Time Around came out in July 1968, the band members were in the midst of transitioning to new projects: Stills famously joined David Crosby and Graham Nash in CSN; Young went solo; and Furay started Poco with Jim Messina, who produced Last Time Around and played bass on two of the songs. Highlights abound on the album with Young’s I Am A Child, Furay’s Kind Woman and Stills’ Uno Mundo.

5CD – Five CD Box Set, Clamshell with Five Wallets. The 5-CD set includes Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again in mono and stereo, as well as the stereo version of Last Time Around.

5LP – Five LP Box Set. The 5-LP set includes Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again in mono and stereo, as well as the stereo version of Last Time Around.

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Wire  –  Chairs Missing

Wire’s first three albums need no introduction. They are the three classic albums on which Wire’s reputation is based. Moreover, they are the recordings that minted the post-punk form. This was adopted by other bands, but Wire were there first. These are the definitive re-releases. Each album is presented as an 80-page hardback book – the size of a 7-inch, but obviously much thicker. After a special introduction by Jon Savage, Graham Duff provides insight into each track. These texts include recording details, brand-new interviews with band members, and lyrics.

This stunning set of presentations also includes a range of images from the archive of Annette Green. Wire’s official photographer during this period, Green also shot the covers for Pink Flag and Chairs Missing. Promotional and informal imagery – in colour and black and white – is featured throughout the books. Most of the photographs have not been seen for 40 years – and many have never been published anywhere before.

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With “Pink Flag” Wire tapped happily into punk’s energy and iconoclastic tendencies, “Chairs Missing” is, perhaps, a little truer to their own instincts. They didnt completely shed the past completely; the joyful “Sand In My Joints” and grinding “Mercy” have more than a hint of “Pink Flag” about them, but their 1978 offering is moodier and much more textured than its predecessor, the addition of swathes of electronic sounds moving them firmly into post punk territory, a genre they helped to spawn. There is pure pop beauty on here too, of which “Outdoor Miner”  and “French Film Blurred” being the most gorgeous examples.

Pink Flag was very much Wire’s punk rock album, and while they fully embraced it’s revolutionary spirit, they came at it from their own obtuse angle. unhindered by talent (any kind of prior musical schooling) they gleefully took a baseball bat to Rock’s overblown torso with humour and irreverence, producing classic, unsurpassed razor pop brilliance and a joyful antidote to the pomposity of their forerunners.

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“154”, released in 1979, is perhaps the most overlooked of the first trio of classic Wire L.P.s, before a ten year haitus interrupted only by esoteric solo releases. It develops further on the electronic and experimental direction of “Chairs Missing”, and while guitars are not entirely done away with, keyboards and often unsettling vocal harmonies are the dominant mode of expression here. That’s not to say they abandoned their talent for an exquisite harmony, it is very much still there; just bent a bit. That said it is given undiluted free rein during “Map Ref…”, and elevates the sublime “The 15th” into the realm of the gods.

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Golden Smog – Down By The Old Mainstream

Golden Smog, the alternative-country super group from Minneapolis, released this debut album on Rykodisc in 1995 and this is the first time it will be repressed on vinyl since the original release in 2010. The loosely connected, interchangeable group has comprised members from the Jayhawks, Wilco, Soul Asylum, Run Westy Run and Big Star. This new deluxe ROG package will come in a gatefold, old school tip-on Stoughton jacket with printed inner sleeves.

‘Down by the old mainstream’, was recorded in 1994 in only five days. it was made up mostly of original songs written specifically for the project. the songs on the album revealed a fun, spirited sensibility …allowing the band members to let loose from their day jobs. Golden Smog first appeared in 1992 with the release of their ep, On Golden Smog. a side project for members of whose true identities of the band members were veiled by the use of pseudonyms david spear, michael macklyn, raymond virginia, scott summitt, jarret decatur-lane and leonardson saratoga. each name was a deliberate clue that included an actual middle name and part of the address of each band member.

All This Weeks important Releases….

John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once – The Lost Album – Impulse
Guru – Jazzmatazz – UMC (3LP Box set)
Happy Rhodes – Ectorophia – Numero Group
Arp – Zebra – Mexican Summer
Guns ‘N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction – UMC (2LP)
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92 – Apollo
Wire – Pink Flag – Pink Flag
Wire – Chairs Missing – Pink Flag
Wire – 154 – Pink Flag
Florence & The Machine – High Hopes – Virgin (Indie Exclusive)
Lena Platonos – Lepidoptera – Dark Entries
The Orb – No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds – Cooking Vinyl (Indie Exclusive)
Eddie Harris – Plug Me In – Get On Down
Various Artists – Disques Debs International – Strut
Ryan Adams – Baby I Love You 7″ – Paxam (Indie Exclusive)

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Run Out Groove Vinyl is a new vinyl-only label that that caters specifically to music fanatics, pressing limited edition titles made by music fans for music fans. Each month 3 prospective projects are put up for a vote. The project with the most votes then is made available for pre-order for 30 days. The finished products are individually numbered, high quality pressings with beautiful packaging.Production is a one time deal with quantities strictly limited to the number of pre-orders.

Down by the Old Mainstream was American Alternative country band Golden Smog’s first full-length album, released in 1995. Its title is from a line in both the Wilco song, “Someday Soon” from the album, Being There, and from “Radio King,” the last track on this album. Golden Smog was a loosely connected group of musicians comprising, at various times, members of Soul Asylum, The Replacements, Wilco, The Jayhawks, Run Westy Run, The Honeydogs and Big Star. Golden Smog’s lineup has often changed, but relative constants who appear on all the recordings are guitarists Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run), Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum) and Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), along with bassist Marc Perlman (The Jayhawks).

This month, the classic 1995 Golden Smog album Down By The Old Mainstream is up for voting. Long revered by Americana enthusiasts, this album was only previously available on vinyl in a limited reissue in 2010, copies of which now command very high prices in the collector’s market. This is the first time the alt-country super group’s debut album will be reissued on vinyl since 2010. The deluxe package will be limited and numbered

Weird Tales is a bit of a misnomer for a collection of songs about the triumphs and tragedies of everyday life. The title, however, does lend itself to some great packaging and artwork. On this second full-length outing from Golden Smog, the band (featuring members of the Jayhawks, Wilco, Soul Asylum and Run Westy Run) is joined by former Big Star drummer Jody StephensWeird Tales is American band Golden Smog’s second album, released in 1998. The title comes from the pulp magazine Weird Tales, the cover art being from the October 1933 issue, by Margaret Brundage.

With members from three of the best little big bands of the last 30 years of rock music. Members of these bands, plus other,equally worthy musicians, came together to form Golden Smog, a loose, brilliant alt-country supergroup comprising of like minded individuals. Weird Tales, was their third album, it is their masterpiece, and a finer album of Americana I’ve yet to hear this side of Stranger’s Almanac.
The music ebbs and flows with a gentle purpose- angst ridden and meloncholic in places,peaceful and accepting in others. Particular highlights include Gary Louris’ Until You Came Along, Tweedy’s Please Tell My Brother and the wonderful Jennifer Save Me.

Featuring songwriters (Gary Louris of the Jayhawks and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy) both contribute Weird Tales’ most solid tracks. A pet project aimed more toward fans of the genre than the casual listener, Golden Smog nonetheless deliver the goods with a good deal of twangy heart and soul.” It’s  a first-rate collaboration among differing band members that’s unified in both vision and spirit.

the band ;

  • Kraig Johnson
  • Dan Murphy
  • Gary Louris
  • Marc Perlman
  • Chris Mars
  • Noah Levy
  • Jeff Tweedy
  • Jody Stephens

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Few bands have managed to stake out a career as creatively compelling, long-running, and vital as Wilco. Where in their catalog do you start? . For 23 years, Chicago’s Wilco have explored the intricacies and contradictions of American rock’n’roll . Wilco has released ten studio albums, a live double album, and four collaborations: three with Billy Bragg and one with The Minus 5. with a once-in-a-generation songwriter, and a killer live show. It’s not too late to hear what you’ve been missing out on.

While you might have trouble naming some songs, you’ve probably heard of Wilco. It might be because your best friend put them on a mix CD or your guitarist friend can’t stop raving about Nels Cline or maybe you saw some smug comment on Twitter refer to them as “dad-rock” and you wrote them off. If you dismissed them for any one of those reasons or just haven’t gotten to it yet, you’ve been missing out, because few bands have managed to stake out a career as creatively compelling, long-running, and vital as the band Wilco.

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Now in their 23rd year, the Chicago mainstays have amassed ten albums that constantly tweaked and sometimes reinvented their distinctly Midwestern brand of rock’n’roll. Sometimes they took from roots and Americana (1994’s A.M. and 1996’s Being There), other times they drew inspiration from Jim O’Rourke and Chicago’s vast late ’90s-early aughts experimental scene (2002’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and 2004’s A Ghost Is Born) while elsewhere, they found a solid palate in golden ’70s rock (2007’s Sky Blue Sky). Despite all the dabbling in other sounds, whims, and moods, Wilco have always been consistently themselves thanks to bandleader and frontman Jeff Tweedy’s affecting, humane, and sometimes cryptic songwriting.

Because there’s decades of material packed into ten proper studio albums, not to mention a wealth of live material (2005’s Kicking Television is one of the better live albums since the start of the millennium), a handful of full-length collaborations with UK folk troubadour Billy Bragg, and a treasure’s trove of B-sides, outtakes, and unreleased material in 2014’s box set Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014, it’s a probably intimidating to ask to dive right into Wilco’s catalog without any help. So in honor of Jeff Tweedy’s first solo album Together At Last, a cheekily-titled collection of re-recorded acoustic Wilco cuts as well as selections from his other projects Golden Smog and Loose Fur that’s out now via Anti- Records. 

One thing’s for certain and it’s that most fans will probably have a different answer on which Wilco album to start with: some will argue to just go from the beginning with A.M. and Being There, others will recommend Sam Jones’ revealing 2002 film I Am Trying To Break Your Heart which documents the laborious and obstacle-filled making of breakthrough 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, while certain people will just tell you to listen to the guitar solos on “Impossible Germany.” Wilco’s a very accessible band so all these answers would get you on the right track (on albums alone, I’d say start with Summerteeth or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot).

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But, breaking their discography into distinct sides of the band shows how multi-faceted Wilco have been over almost a quarter of a century. Because they’re a group that still plays their entire discography live (no, seriously, they play near every song at their yearly Chicago “Winterlude” residencies), this obviously isn’t a complete list your favorite song might not be on here. Also, even if you’re not going to figure out what Tweedy meant when he sang “take off your Band-Aid ’cause I don’t believe in touchdowns” on “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” you’ll hopefully consider yourself an “American aquarium drinker” by the end of it.

The earliest Wilco albums— A.M.,Being There and Summerteeth—contain songs that still rank among their most energetic and undeniably infectious.

Wilco formed in 1994 out of the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, the still-influential but long-defunct Belleville, Illinois alt-country band Tweedy started with songwriter Jay Farrar (who went on to front Son Volt) and drummer Mike Heidorn. Other Tupelo members like bassist John Stirratt, latter-day drummer Ken Coomer, and guitarist Max Johnston joined Wilco while Heidorn reunited with Farrar for Son Volt’s first album Trace. Wilco’s A.M. rollicked with a countryfied stomp, songs like “I Must Be High,” “Casino Queen,” and “Box Full of Letters” standing out. But it wasn’t until Wilco’s sophomore double album Being There that the twangy rockers they were churning out really began to pop: “Monday,” “I Got You (At The End of the Century,” and “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” are still fierce and fantastic.

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While Wilco would trade much of gritty, rough-hewn twang for synths and Beatles-indebted pop exuberance on their third album Summerteeth, the energy from their earlier oeuvre never left. Where the bubblegum melodies of “I’m Always In Love” and “Candyfloss” anchored Summerteeth, Tweedy’s ear for a good hook kept going: few things are catchier than “Kamera” off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or the underrated “The Late Greats” off A Ghost Is Born. We could keep going on and on to Star Wars and Schmilco too.

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Wilco can do the overdriven as well as any American rock band, often times the highest points of the band’s catalog are found in the quieter moments. “Misunderstood,” the first song off Being There, is probably one of the best encapsulations of the inclusive and relatable nature of Wilco’s songs. Tweedy’s opening lines, “When you’re back in your old neighborhood/The cigarettes taste so good/But you’re so misunderstood” couldn’t be a better outcast calling card. Elsewhere, on another Being There highlight like the cathartic “Sunken Treasure” he earnestly sings, “Music is my savior, and I was maimed by rock and roll” and it undeniably works.

Throughout Wilco’s albums, the softer songs have always been the emotional centerpieces from “Via Chicago” or “How To Fight Loneliness” on Summerteeth and “Ashes of American Flags” on Yankee Hotel Foxtrotto just name a couple. Live, no Wilco set would feel complete to certain fans without the the Billy Bragg collaboration “California Stars” to close the set or the inclusion of one of the two most subtle stunners on A Ghost Is Born: “Company In My Back” or “Muzzle of Bees.”

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The tumultuous recording process surrounding Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has long been Wilco mythology: the label drama, the conflict between then-member Jay Bennett and Jeff Tweedy, how the band pioneered streaming culture by putting the album on their website months-in-advance, etc. But perhaps the most important factor into the album was largely not focused on in Sam Jones’ excellent documentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart and that’s Chicago experimental mainstay and Loose Fur cofounder Jim O’Rourke, who ended up mixing and changing the whole direction of the project. Thanks to O’Rourke as well as Wilco’s new drummer Glenn Kotche (also a member of Loose Fur and an local experimental music veteran), the songs became deconstructed, a little weirder, and a little wonkier. O’Rourke would go on to co-produce Wilco’s next album “A Ghost Is Born,” which darkly expands and deconstructs even more the studio experiments and successes from Foxtrot. It’s the most brooding Wilco album and a lot of Wilco fans will say it’s their best.

While that album’s “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious songs Wilco have drawn up, with its 10 plus-minutes of a cathartic, Krautrock-freakout, the band continued to keep that adventurous spirit alive in their later albums. “Bull Black Nova” off Wilco (The Album) accomplishes this with smoldering guitars but perhaps the best encapsulation comes from “Art of Almost,” the bonkers opener from 2011’s The Whole Love. Jeff Tweedy explained that song last year, “‘Art of Almost’ is this strange combination of all the different members putting their mark on something and having it still somehow hold up and be a thing. Live, it just gets kind of more and more intense.”

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On the 2007 press cycle for Sky Blue Sky, Wilco’s sixth album, Jeff Tweedy talked with the Wall Street Journal about his favorite albums from the ’70s citing Wings, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, and the Clash. In previous interviews, he’s also mentioned his love for Television’s Marquee Moon, T. Rex’s Beard of Stars, and Talking Heads’ Fear of Music. You can find traces of each throughout Wilco’s discography but it was on Sky Blue Sky, the first studio album with the current Wilco lineup (adding guitarist Nels Cline and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone), that was their sunniest, most ’70s-inspired effort yet. While not as frenetic as the twang rockers from their early catalog, these tracks like “Handshake Drugs” and “Impossible Germany” are just as compelling even though they unfold in a much more relaxed way. These kind of Wilco songs with warm guitars and lush arrangements are found throughout their 10 albums, with songs like “The Whole Love,” “Hummingbird,” and “Dawned On Me” rounding it out.

Wilco’s latest offerings, 2015’s Star Wars and 2016’s Schmilco, not just in their goofball titles alone were as close a sonic equivalent to Jeff Tweedy’s stage banter as you can get: irreverent and to-the-point. They dropped Stars Wars without warning releasing it for free on their website and its album cover was a painting of a cat that hangs in the kitchen of the band’s Northwest Chicago studio The Loft. 

Compared to the rest of Wilco’s discography, these two albums are slightly off-kilter (a curveball blast of dissonant noise called “EKG” kicks off Star Wars), but there’s an energy that channels the reckless nature of their beginnings. Star Wars highlight “Random Name Generator” exudes some T. Rex-indebted swagger while the wonky “Common Sense” boasts perhaps the most subtly challenging arrangement of Wilco’s catalog, showing a band still able to change it up. But most importantly, the current iteration of the band has been locked in for a over a decade. There’s an effortlessness and fun to these new songs that were hinted at during some of the band’s highlights like Foxtrot cut “Heavy Metal Drummer” and the suburban sad-sack rocker “Hate It Here” off Sky Blue Sky.While the band’s come a long way from the cigarette-tinged twang that coloured A.M., the Wilco of 2017 shows no signs of letting things get stale.

 

Watch Jeff Tweedy Play a Gorgeous Solo Version of "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart"

On Monday night, Jeff Tweedy visited “Late Night With Seth Meyers” to play a beautiful, solitary rendition of an all-time great Wilco song, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,”

Tweedy is scheduled to return to Late Night on Tuesday with another song from “Together at Last”, which is slated for release on Friday.

The Wilco band leader has gathered up a bunch of songs from his career (including past favorites “Via Chicago,” “Muzzle of Bees” and “I’m Trying to Break Your Heart”) to build an acoustic solo album behind that warm hug of a voice. The first taste of new solo album, features 11 acoustic “reinterpretations”  “Together At Last”  songs stretching back through his long recording career, including stripped-down versions of Wilco staples like “I’m Always in Love” and “Hummingbird,” plus some selections from side projects Loose Fur and Golden Smog. Plus Loose Fur crawler “Laminated Cat” (from 2003),

Together At Last: Loft Acoustic Session 1 — eleven new solo acoustic recordings of classic Wilco tunes plus Loose Fur and Golden Smog rarities. The deluxe vinyl boxset, limited to 1000, includes a clear vinyl pressing (exclusive to this set) and a 210-piece 16×16 jigsaw puzzle featuring the album artwork.

Produced by Jeff Tweedy and Tom Schick. Recorded in January 2016 at The Loft (Chicago, IL).

Friday also marks the start of Solid Sound, Wilco’s very own three-day music festival in North Adams, Mass. On the first night, the band will play an entire Wilco album from front to back, and fans were given the opportunity to vote on which album it would be.