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Artist: Wilco
Label: Reprise / Wea
Genre: Reprise
Release: Jan 1999   My Rating: 0
Duration: 60:18
Summary: Wilco's de facto frontman, Jeff Tweedy, sports a colorful past, one where he wrote paint-peelers dedicated to late Minutemen founder D. Boon as a member of the feted (and maybe fated) Uncle Tupelo and where he dolefully crooned Woody Guthrie lyrics on 1998's "Mermaid Avenue". But Wilco's "Summer Teeth" shows hardly a tatter of Tweedy's herky-jerky postpunk intensity or the agrarian rootsiness that so often came in the past from him. Instead this layered album spreads its digits far into guitar-heavy Britpop, with full-group backing vocals carrying bouncy choruses and synths whistling over the melodies. The tunes sound like a crosshatch of orchestral plans and an execution drawing on Alex Chilton and Big Star, the Kinks, and, only distantly, Wilco's debut, "A.M." "We're Just Friends" and "Via Chicago" stand as harmonized twists on ballad formulas, the latter recalling "Mermaid Avenue"'s "California Stars" with the opening line, "I dreamed about killing you again last night / And it felt all right to me." So it's not always uplifting or cheery, but it's got dozens of surprises in a mere 15 songs. "--Andrew Bartlett"


Artist: Wilco
Label: Nonesuch
Genre: Rock
Release: Jan 2002   My Rating: 0
Duration: 51:46
Summary: Named in honor of the three-word codes used by short-wave radio operators, Wilco's fourth album sounds like a late-night broadcast of some weirdly wonderful pop station punctuated by static and the sonic bleed of competing signals. Songs that begin with simple, elegiac grace--"Ashes of American Flags" and "Poor Places"--end in a cathartic squall of distortion. The results can be initially jarring, but it's these tracks more than the sturdy jangle pop of "Kamera" or "Heavy Metal Drummer" that demand, and reward, repeated listens. Mixed by studio experimentalist Jim O'Rourke and produced by the band, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" harkens back to a time when the words "pop" and "sonic adventurism" weren't mutually exclusive. The Beatles and Kurt Cobain knew this, and clearly so do Jeff Tweedy and company. "--Keith Moerer"