In the wake of their popular and artistic breakthrough on 2002′s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco headed even further into uncharted territory on A Ghost Is Born, largely eschewing conventional songcraft in favor of conceptual expressionism. By this point, only leader Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt remained from the early days; the rest of the band consisted of drummer Glenn Kotche, multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach and keyboardist Mikael Jorgenson, but an even larger presence on A Ghost Is Born was experimental musician Jim O’Rourke, who co-produced the album with the band and steered the proceedings toward his free-noise background. At the extreme end of the spectrum are “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” and “Less Than You Think,” which clock in at 10 and 15 minutes, respectively; the former is difficult to follow despite intriguing lyrics, while the latter devolves into an impenetrable barrage of synthesized squalls. Not everything is so far out: “I’m A Wheel” is two and a half minutes of tight, clean, straight-up rock ‘n’ roll, and the piano-based pop gem “Theologians” harks back to the band’s Summerteeth heyday. If the result is an uneven collection, that didn’t seem to matter to music industry voters who gave Wilco their first-ever Grammy, for Best Alternative Music Album.
By Peter Blackstock on 09.26.11 in Icons
It's a tribute to leader Jeff Tweedy's enduring commitment to artistic rebirth and reinvention that one could listen to Wilco's 1995 debut A.M. and its Grammy-winning 2004 album A Ghost Is Born back to back and have no i...
By Marc Hogan on 01.13.15 in News
Time to double-check those "Most Anticipated Albums of 2015" lists. The year began on an ambitious note led by PJ Harvey, and this week brought chances to stream a couple of the most eagerly awaited albums along with new...
By Marc Hogan on 12.19.14 in News
Well, Nation, that's it. Stephen Colbert has moved on from The Colbert Report, after nine brilliant years. He sent it off in his own singular style, though, and — despite Kendrick Lamar's appearance earlier this week as...
By Laura Leebove on 12.17.14 in Features
On crying at shows, impossibly high expectations and making songs Mean Something