What to make of Wilco with an established lineup? The Whole Love marks three straight albums on which original members Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt and 10-year veteran drummer Glenn Kotche have teamed with multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, guitarist Nels Cline and keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen — an unprecedented run of stability for the band. Personnel evolution has been intertwined with Wilco’s ever-shifting sonic identity since its 1995 debut; now the challenge is to change from within. And there are new horizons here: The seven-minute leadoff track “Art of Almost” is a cacophonous diversion from the more conventional approach of the band’s last two albums, affirming Wilco’s continuing desire to challenge their listeners and themselves. Cline seems increasingly comfortable cutting loose within Tweedy’s song structures, blazing caustic vapor trails in “Dawned on Me” and “Born Alone,” while Sansone arranges swells of strings to deepen darkness of “Black Moon.” Everything is a prelude to the 12-minute closer “One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend),” an epic, elegiac tale about a father and son set to a recurring melodic phrase that ebbs and flows via graceful acoustic instrumentation as the story gradually unwinds. It may be the apex of Wilco’s career, a shining moment when the band’s artistic ambition becomes one with its instinctive musicality.
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