Looks like the dream team of Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy will continue their collaboration on Staples new album entitled, One True Vine. The album will be released on June 25th and feature Funkadelic and Low cover songs, as well as original tunes written specifically for the legendary soul singer by Tweedy and Nick Lowe. Get a taste of the album with Staples’ cover of Funkadelic’s “Can You Get To That” below.
Despite being a full blown self proclaimed Wilco apologist, arguably their most popular tune “Jesus, Etc.” has started to wear on me over the years. I’ve carried this to the point of being openly excited about the tune’s omission from a recent Wilco show I attended, and actually removing it from my iPod (Purists can relax, I still have the vinyl).
That said, It’s more the arrangement then the tune itself that has worn on me, and thus hearing another take on the tune is quite the breath of fresh air. The purveyor of the aforementioned new arrangement is Bill Fay – under appreciated 70s rocker and the latest of Jeff Tweedy’s collaborators. Fay breaks a 40 year radio silence and turns in a stark and downright moving take on Jesus etc in the player below. After the break you will find a really good new tune from Faye featuring Jeff Tweedy himself on vocals after the break.
Despite having the opportunity to catch Wilco touring their last three releases, it wasn’t until last night that it hit me – these guys have really made it. Granted, it has been a while since the experimental band from Chicago took on the big record company (and won), but to me Wilco has always been the underdog – the band that I couldn’t believe more people weren’t listening to. In the ten years since the release of their magnum opus Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the band has slowly and steadily moved along – seemingly always trending in the right direction. Tonight as I looked around the damn near sold out Pavilion (which kind of felt like an arena), the word underdog didn’t seem to quite fit.
Some bands reach their peak early, dropping an album that makes a string of best of the year rock lists, or garnering some buzz off of one catchy single. More times than not these in-the-moment bands are gone before they have a chance to make it to your town the second time around. Wilco is not one of those bands. Their growth, albeit substantial, comes from doing it the hard way; the right way as far as I am concerned. Album after album, tour after tour these guys have given validation to the fan boys singing their praises.
Slowly but surely with each new record and each supporting tour the band has grown little by little into the one owning the stage in Charlottesville last night. Years on the road have created a ridiculously tight unit with a damn near unrivaled catalogue ready to light up the room – whether it be a smaller theater, or in this case a big pavilion. As much as it felt like this was a setlist tailored for me, Wilco is sitting on such a deep stack o’ tunes that it’d be pretty hard for them to go wrong. Special or not, last nights show was something else with a setlist comprised of pretty much everything I wanted to hear. All the big solo numbers where present with Nels Cline monsters Art of Almost, Impossible Germany, Handshake Drugs and At Least That’s What You Said coming early in the set. Other favorite moments included an acoustic Spiders (Kidsmoke), the rarity Laminated Cat, and Woodie Guthrie by the way of Mermaid Avenue tunes California Stars and Hesitating Beauty. Not to mention the new tracks, which fit in just fine, bolstering the embarrassment of riches that is the Wilco catalogue.
Regular readers of this site have probably gotten the point by now that we are pretty big fans of Wilco. The band, fresh off of their finest record in years take their new material along with some old faves to the Lone Star state for the latest episode of Austin City Limits. And thanks to a great new development from our friends at PBS – you can stream the whole show right here. Check it out below.
Despite being ten years removed from their magic run of albums (has it really been ten years since Yoshimi?), the Flaming Lips never seem to be far from the indie rock news feeds. Whether it is songs that last for days, innovative album packaging, or exciting collaboration announcements the Lips remain a staple in the 2012 music scene.
As far as awesome collaborations go, this pro-shot take of the Lips joined on stage by Wilco Axe-man Nels Cline at the band’s New Year’s Oklahoma homecoming set is right up there. The Lips and Nels (or is it Nels and the Lips?) take on John Lennon’s angst ridden Abbey Road opus “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” much to the liking of seemingly sedated hometown crowd. The tune clocks in at a full ten minutes longer than the 7+-minute original, so there is plenty of time for Nels to do what Nels does with his Jazzmaster.
If you like repetitive ominous tones topped with shredding guitars, this one’s for you. Otherwise, it is worth checking out a minute or two of the video below.
What can I say, I love it when these guys do covers! Enjoy.
After a great rundown of Wilco’s Amazing Shrinking Concert from The Steam Engine a few weeks ago, I noticed an encore performance of The Weigh featuring Mavis Staples and Nick Lowe. After listening to this take upwards of 10 times, a video of the gang rehearsing the performance popped up online. The result is a full on joy, as it kept a smile on my face throughout.
It’s funny – it seems like every time Jeff Tweedy jokingly recites a rap song on stage, or has his children make a juvenile one off video the indie music press is all over it. Yet when a really cool backstage video featuring some all out legends singing one of the best songs of all time, it goes relatively unnoticed by the ever so hip indie press. We’ll pass on the anecdotes and opt for the classic content. Enjoy!
We’re back with another version of your favorite Merchants of Rock New Tunes Playlist series. We even have a fresh red graphic this go round, so how can you go wrong?
This go round, the “once prolific” Ryan Adams becomes the first artist to appear on two of our esteemed playlists, old favorites Wilco, Centro-matic, and Feist make an appearance, newcomers Phantogram, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., and Cults keep things fresh while Bon Iver, Artic Monkeys, Black Lips, Dawes, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Blitzen Trapper, and Noel Gallagher round out the latest playlist.
We think it is some of our best yet, but we’ll let you be the judge of that. Enjoy!
Don’t have Spotify? Do yourself a favor and download it, it’s free and quite wonderful. Why don’t you follow us while you’re at it?
It’s no secret that the Merchants of Rock are big fans of Wilco. We have also made it pretty clear that we are pretty big fans of a good live performance. A better kept secret is that we are in fact pretty big fans of small desks. Well, we’ve hit the trifecta with this video, the latest in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Check out this tight little set of the boys burning through a few new tunes and an old favorite.
Let’s be honest here, the last two releases from Wilco haven’t exactly been fan favorites. I’m not calling Sky Blue Sky or Wilco (The Album) total duds, but the consensus seems to be the latest albums failed to provide anything special – and let’s face it, fan’s of Wilco have come to expect something special.
These same expectations seem to come along with every new release from the band, bolstered by murmurs of returns to experimental roots and the routinely killer lead single. This album is no exception. Early previews heralded The Whole Love as a return to form (gotta love the rock album preview cliche), and the first glimpses of the new tunes were extremely promising – “I Might” is killer and the “Art of Almost” seemed to be just what the Dr. ordered in terms of experimentation. Things were lining up good, and before I knew it was time to give the full disc it’s due.
I have been a fan of the band long enough to know that a Wilco album can’t be judged with 1, 2 or even 10 listens. To fully understand and appreciate a Wilco LP is to immerse yourself in the music, and give it time to reveal more and more with each listen. To do this with the band’s latest effort was anything but a chore. The new album is rich, smart, and at times moving. From the art house dissonance of “The Art of Almost” to the Dylanesque “One Sunday Morning”, the album is an absolute joy to listen to, solidifying Wilco’s spot in the upper echelon of 21st century rock and roll bands.
While I am completely comfortable heralding The Whole Love as one of the best albums of the year, I am not so quick to throw the new album to the top of Wilco’s stellar catalogue. As great as the new album may be, it doesn’t quite hit the high benchmark set by albums past. By my estimation, the strongest points of the new album come in the more upbeat, imaginative tracks like “Dawned on Me”, “Standing O”, and the absolutely wonderful title track “Whole Love” . Where the album falls a little short is in the more tender slower moments that just seem to make the album drag at times. Tracks like “Sunloathe”, “Black Moon” and “Capital City” throw off the album’s pacing at times, and frankly come across as unremarkable. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the slower moments in Rock and Roll, especially on a Wilco album – I am just having a hard time connecting with these slower moments.
Admittedly, my critiques are verging on the line of being picky. If my harshest critique is that some of the songs are not exceptional, I think the band is doing pretty well for themselves. In the end, The Whole Love is an excellent effort from a band who’s most difficult benchmark is their own back catalogue. If this band (who seems to be in a really great place) continues to make music at this caliber we should all consider ourselves lucky to be along for the ride.
This past weekend Wilco briefly streamed their new album The Whole Love and we here at MOR were not mad at them. Now we have a video for one of the stand outs off said album, “Born Alone” that reminds me of why I started listening to Wilco in the first place. The video is a cool compilation of old fashioned images of all things Wilco, but beware if you have a history of headaches or seizures you might need to look away. Enjoy the video below and go here for the whole story behind the making of the song.
I am gonna admit it. I have been scouring the web for leaks of the new Wilco album The Whole Love for the last few weeks to no avail. Considering that I have the vinyl on preorder, and have yet to receive a press copy, I wouldn’t feel all that bad if I found it. Lucky for me, word on the street is that the band plans on beating the leak (their first such effort) with an “on the low” stream of the album on the band’s website at 1PM ET tomorrow. The band has a lot riding on this new album, and I for one can’t wait to hear one of my personal all time faves’ latest opus. Check out Wilcoworld.net tomorrow at 1 PM ET. Check out the alleged message from the band announcing the stream below. “We’re gonna do a special under-the-radar stream of the new record tomorrow for Wilcoworld only. Here’s the deal — as a reward for your labors, ours, and those of our forefathers/mothers — starting at 12 Noon Central time tomorrow (Saturday) and for 24 hours straight we’re gonna stream The Whole Love in its entirety, at wilcoworld.net. That’s right. Your first chance to hear the whole thing is tomorrow. Trust us, you’ll be glad you made time to check it out.” Get on it!
Up until last week, we didn’t know much about the new Wilco Album other than a) it was coming out this fall, b) it was tenatively titled Get Well Soon Everybody, and c) we were crazy excited about it. As we come into another week, all kinds of new details have emerged, including a totally different album title complete with artwork, the full track listing, and a new single from the album
The Whole Love will be released September 27th via their new label, dBpm Records – and features 12 tracks that promise to run the gamut of what we love about Wilco, from “snot-nosed obnoxious pop songs” to “more languid, atmospheric-country music.” Below is a track listing complete with the first batch of fall tour dates
01. “Art of Almost”
02. “I Might
04. “Dawned On Me”
05. “Black Moon”
06. “Born Alone”
07. “Open Mind”
08. “Capitol City
09. “Standing O”
10. “Rising Red Lung “
11. “Whole Love”
12. “One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)”
09-13 Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre
09-16-17 Toronto, Ontario – Massey Hall
09-18 Montreal, Quebec – Metropolis
09-20 Boston, MA – Wang Theatre
09-22 New York, NY – Central Park Summerstage
09-25 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
09-27 Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Amphitheater
09-28-29 Atlanta, GA – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center
10-01-02 Nashville, TN – The Ryman
10-04 St. Louis, MO – Peabody Opera House
10-05 Madison, WI – Overture Hall