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View Full Version : Want to check out Wilco, where do I start?


bryguy
02-28-2005, 04:03 PM
Hey Hawks fans-
I'm wanting to check out Wilco. What's a good disc to start with? How would you describe their sound. I ask, cuz every time I order a cd online, the site tells me, "Other people who bought this album also like Wilco". So, I'm ready to dive in. Any hints?

Thanks for the help.

Bryan

wheelhousetunes
02-28-2005, 04:15 PM
Pretty much anywhere but the latest one (A Ghost Is Born).

Seriously, here's how I'd go:

Being There
A.M.
Mermaid Avenue
Summerteeth
Mermaid Avenue 2
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

This is assuming you have the Golden Smog records. If not, insert both of those in between A.M. and Summerteeth.

Enjoy!

Peace,
Jeff

dogsrunfree
02-28-2005, 04:19 PM
Mermaid Ave 1, and 2

Depending on your tastes, I would get Summerteath, Being there and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

You may like Ghost is Born. I am not too fond of it except in spots.

A.M is also good

bryguy
02-28-2005, 04:20 PM
Hey Jeff-
thanks for the lowdown. I do have 2 Golden Smog discs, all but the first, which I'm not really itching to get.

Out of curiosity, what don't you like about Wilco's latest cd? Thanks again for the help.

Mike in IA
02-28-2005, 04:26 PM
I would start with "Being There" followed by Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Mermaid Avenue (with Billy Bragg) is also a fantastic disc.

bloodshovel
02-28-2005, 04:30 PM
The band they are now (Yankee and Ghost) is a lot different than the band they were then (A.M. and Summerteeth). Start with Yankee and Ghost, but I am not too sure there is a lot of reason to go back (as much as I like A.M.) -- it doesn't sound like Tweedy reminisces too much about the good old days.

NY Fan
02-28-2005, 04:31 PM
If you lean toward country, check out a.m. & being there.

If you lean toward pop, check out summerteeth & yankee hotel foxtrot.

If you don't mind leaning on the fastforward button over bleeps bloops and static, check out a ghost is born.

elliegurl
02-28-2005, 04:35 PM
I think the best place to start is with uncle tupelo...but i think wheelhouseguy pretty much hit the mark...in my opinion!
i think being there is the best cd of the bunch but have them all and why does everybody dislike a ghost is born so much?
my fav tune is california stars from the mermaid cd! also... forget the flowers from being there...
i miss jay bennet being in the band a lot though!
:)
ellie

Blue Grass
02-28-2005, 04:38 PM
I love Mermaid Avenue vol. I, even though it's not purely Wilco, but together with Billy Bragg. I also recommend "Being There", but I think "Yankee..." is a little hard to swallow on a first approach.

fallen0047
02-28-2005, 04:42 PM
Here's my 2 cents:

1) Uncle Tupelo Anodyne
2) AM
3) Summerteeth
4) YHF

If you're still in love with after that, get all the UT albums and the rest of Wilco. Mermaid Ave 1 and 2 are not really Wilco CD's (but are still very fun to listen to).

Don't forget Golden Smog (Jeff T. with the best songwriter in all of Americana!!!)

muskytoes
02-28-2005, 04:50 PM
You have to follow them from the beginning to find out just how they ended up where they are today

AM = A Must
Being There = Just as good as being there
Mermaid Ave Vol 1 = Woody's words are the closest thing to modern gospel
SummerTeeth = Some are, some arnt this is where the Twain meet
Mermaid Vol 2. = The good book spawns more tales of woe
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot = Landmark piece, Bennett's swan song
A Ghost Is Born = Not for the weak of heart, this record speaks in volatility.

Then there is the Chelsa Walls soundtrack and the Loose Fur offical release

Haggischomper
02-28-2005, 05:17 PM
Originally posted by muskytoes
Then there is the Chelsa Walls soundtrack and the Loose Fur offical release

Chelsea Walls has the sublime When The Roses Bloom Again to save it from being used as a frisbee but Loose Fur...man, even the cover to that thing sucks.

Whichever way you go, though, there are plenty great Wilco tracks to get yer teeth into.

PretentiousWilco
02-28-2005, 05:18 PM
I would go with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. It's the best summation of their sound IMHO, including the early records. The flurries in the production save the listener from Tweedy's mumbles, making it a great record.

wheelhousetunes
02-28-2005, 05:20 PM
NY Fan describes the work well. Something about AGIB, ain't got no soul to me. The band is moving on to new stuff, fine. I just won't be along for the ride. YHF took me to the end.

PretentiousWilco
02-28-2005, 05:57 PM
I have to agree. There are a few nice songs on AGIB, enough to put it in my top 20 for 04. But overall it's a very dissapointing work after YHF.

Wilco to me is in the same place as Radiohead is right now - very good bands whose sound is becoming boring. They really lack that balance, light/dark, ying/yang thing that The Beatles, Pink Floyd or the Olson era Jayhawks had.

KU97
02-28-2005, 06:11 PM
Originally posted by Blue Grass
I love Mermaid Avenue vol. I, even though it's not purely Wilco, but together with Billy Bragg. I also recommend "Being There", but I think "Yankee..." is a little hard to swallow on a first approach.

I second all of that! I love YHF, but I don't think that it is the best introduction to Wilco. For what it's worth, I started with Mermaid Avenue I.

dogsrunfree
02-28-2005, 07:32 PM
Also, Try The Palace at 4 AM - Jay Bennett- Ed Burch-

It is a great record - very fun - has two very good Woody Guthrie songs.

I agree - Chelsea Walls has the roses bloom again (a 100 year old song) and Promises but it sucks otherwise.

A good one is the Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music Concert from 1996 with three Tweedy - Bennett- Roger McGuinn Songs.

Plus lots of mostly good music. You can probably buy it for 2 bucks somewhere online.

Bryn
02-28-2005, 08:10 PM
I got into Wilco via this board as well. I had heard of them but not heard them. I bought A.M. first and was floored by it after a number of listens. It is now one of my all time faves. I then bought YHF and can say that this has not got under my skin the same way but it has some redeeming qualities. I recently bought AGIB and so far all I think is I made a bad investment, but things change with music as you get to know an album. Sounds to me that I need to chase up some older Wilco myself. Regardless of anything else Wilcos music has been a journey.
Bryn

Emmylou
02-28-2005, 08:13 PM
Bryn you should trade in AGIB for Being There....you will be much happier:D

Bryn
02-28-2005, 08:21 PM
I can tell that I"m gonnahafta git down ta me record storean git me Being There ordered in. Whats about SummerTeef Emmylou, does its gots what it takes or is Musky on the money.;)

Haggischomper
02-28-2005, 08:24 PM
Summerteeth is my least favourite (taking AGIB out of the equation) but it is still a good fun album. Being There is great fun though. Nice and loosey-goosey too.

dogsrunfree
02-28-2005, 08:27 PM
I think they are all good - depends on the mood. AGIB has two great songs - The Late Greats- Company in My Back-

The rest takes getting used to....

nevadacalifornia
02-28-2005, 08:57 PM
I dont know if this will help , but if you haven't listened to Son Volt or Jay Farrar's solo stuff , I would start with them. You can't go wrong with the first 2 Son Volt albums. Jay Farrar's 2 live C.D 's- "Stone, Steel , and Bright Lights" and "Live in Seattle" are very good also. If you already know this , forgive me. I just am much more of a Farrar fan than Tweedy.I think " A.M." and "Being There" are pretty good , but they lost me after that.

elliegurl
02-28-2005, 09:19 PM
i really like all of uncle tupelo's cds... even more than son volt or wilco.
i am just kinda bummed (cuz i have all the old cd's!!! i think we should be able to trade them in or something i mean really!!!) because they have reissued all of them and they sound much better than the old recordings i have, even have added tracks.

i was just listening to son volt today on my way home and have picking up the signal on my mind!

:)

ellie ps if i could only have one wilco cd it would be being there!
pss i think summer teeth is jeff tweedy's attempt at beach boys brian wilson pop music! shes a jar is very cool!

kegs
02-28-2005, 09:29 PM
'AM' is a fun recording; underrated IMO

'Being There' is a great recording. It gets better as time goes on.

I have to agree with PretentiousWilco; I believe Radiohead & Wilco are in a similiar position musically.

KU97
02-28-2005, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by nevadacalifornia
I dont know if this will help , but if you haven't listened to Son Volt or Jay Farrar's solo stuff , I would start with them. You can't go wrong with the first 2 Son Volt albums. Jay Farrar's 2 live C.D 's- "Stone, Steel , and Bright Lights" and "Live in Seattle" are very good also. If you already know this , forgive me. I just am much more of a Farrar fan than Tweedy.I think " A.M." and "Being There" are pretty good , but they lost me after that.

I agree. My whole crazy Wilco then Jayhawks fascinations can be ultimately traced to my joint purchase of Uncle Tupelo's Anodyne and Son Volt's Trace. Got 'em used for $10.00!

ChiefCrowe
02-28-2005, 11:04 PM
Being There for sure!!!!

Truscott
02-28-2005, 11:15 PM
A song from Being There, Say You Miss Me, was my first exposure to Wilco and I then bought the album.

Being There has been described by a few people as being quite likely alt.country's one true masterpiece. I believe I must agree especially after having just listened to it yet again on vinyl.

Also, A.M. is quite good. One never tires of Casino Queen.

I'm not a big fan of Wilco's post-Being There work, but YHF is a pretty solid album, too.

Additionally, the Mermaid Avenue albums are exceptional in their own right and certainly worth plenty of listens.

riflesport
03-01-2005, 12:25 AM
Musky's words ring so true on this one..also toss in a little Minus 5 "Down With Wilco" which is an interesting listen "Dear Employer" has the YHF, AGIB, noodle vibe to it.

Chaosdan
03-01-2005, 04:41 AM
As a big fan of bleeps, bloops and weird-ass noises, I really like AGIB... a lot more than Summerteeth. or A.M. in fact. I also dig the Loose Fur record!

But for a first purchase, I would say that Being There or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot are probably the best places to start.

JayB
03-01-2005, 04:58 AM
I started with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and became addicted to it!! Actually I lie, I started with the bootleg demos disc, Ashes of an American Band, and then got myself YHF.

I would suggest starting with YHF... then Being There... then AM and Summerteeth... and when you're hooked on Wilco, get A Ghost Is Born...

Calexico
03-01-2005, 06:33 AM
I suppose,like NY Fan,says...maybe it depends on if you are a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll(maybe I should copyright that..use it in a song!).

I got Being There first myself and then went thru the albums as they were released...I actually only got AM finally about a year ago...damn lists of albums!!

If you do lean towards the countryish type of song then definitely AM and Being There is a great jumping off point.Also if you are of that persuasion I would highly recommend Uncle Tupelo's March 16-20 album...all acoustic and all fantastic!

All in all I think they are one of the finest American bands going at the moment and long may they continue.AGIB is folkin' brilliant!!How can you fail to break out the air guitar during THAT break in Spiders??:D

JayB
03-01-2005, 06:40 AM
Yer, A Ghost Is Born is superb by any standard, however imho it's the least of the Wilco albums and I would therefore recommend getting it last, although it is definitely a must.

BoogieMan
03-01-2005, 07:45 AM
I think you can start with any one of their discs. I started with Summerteeth and I fucking hated. Seriously, it's the worst cd I've bought in my life. However, it sat and collected some dust for a year when I decided to give it another listen before I gave it away, and then I realised that it is brilliant.

The thing is, I expected them to be a rock band and Summerteeth is a poppy record. But all their records are different so it's hard to start with Being There and then expect to find more of the same on some other record. And now these days, all those "pop" songs off Summerteeth are really rocking when performed live.

Haggischomper
03-01-2005, 09:03 AM
Originally posted by Calexico
it depends on if you are a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll(maybe I should copyright that..use it in a song!).


Already used by the Kevin Montgomery fella I mentioned in a different thread!

Calexico
03-01-2005, 09:06 AM
Damn your perfect Scottish vision!!:(

Haggischomper
03-01-2005, 09:09 AM
Well,I have seen him live, like, 9 or 10 times and he has never failed to play the song it is on! Started to sink in, so it has...

Calexico
03-01-2005, 09:25 AM
Seriously?


Like he plays the same song that Donny and Marie did on their groundbreaking 70's TV show?



By groundbreaking I mean shit.

dflyer
03-01-2005, 10:43 AM
AS with anything, start at the beginning-- A.M.

Then work your way thru the catalog
and see the growth in the songwriting
and the production.

Wilco is a great band. Enjoy!!

dflyer

muskytoes
03-01-2005, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by riflesport
Musky's words ring so true on this one..
he's one sharp tack that Musky
Gotta love the Musky
Smell the Musky
Live for the Toe


Oh I just like to see my name in other folks postings

Plus I am right you know

Uncle Tupelo and post Farrar work is all REQUIRED LISTENING
So is Doug Sahm, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Buddy Miller and Bottle Rockets, Alejandro Escaveto, Jon Langford Sally Timms and Mekons, Kelly Willis, Lucinda Williams, Dar Williams

Do I have to go on???

Blue Grass
03-01-2005, 02:04 PM
Originally posted by muskytoes




Alejandro Escaveto...


You mean Alejandro Escovedo, don't you?
You came very close dear Musky :D :D :D

dogsrunfree
03-01-2005, 02:51 PM
Anyone seen Escovedo with string band. I am going this week and was curious .

Cautious Cool
03-01-2005, 02:51 PM
buy Trace and AM at the same time. listen to each 10 times or randomly over a week, whichever comes first.

buy No Depression, listen to periodically for a week

buy Still Feel Gone, listen to periodically for a week

buy March 16-20, listen to periodically for a week

buy Anodyne, listen to periodically for a week

.....if you like everything you heard, please continue reading!



buy Staightaways and Being There, listen to periodically for a week

buy Wide Swing Tremolo and Summerteeth, listen to periodically for a week

.....if you like everything you heard, please continue reading!



buy all the Jay Farrar solo releases, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, listen to periodically for a week

.....if you like everything you heard, please continue reading!



buy the Slaughter Rule soundtrack and the two Mermaid Ave discs, listen to periodically for a week

.....if you like everything you heard, please continue reading!



have a happy healthy goodtuned life!

dflyer
03-01-2005, 03:42 PM
Actually Cautious Cool's plan of action is a damn good one!

You can't miss.

Jay Farrar's solo stuff is too hit or miss for me,
but the rest is right on the money.

dflyer
03-02-2005, 10:44 AM
Jay Bennett was a HUGE part of the Wilco sound.
Though I still love the band, since Bennett's departure
it is a totally different animal.

Jeff Tweedy seems to actually enjoy change a great deal.

axeeugene
03-02-2005, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by dogsrunfree
Anyone seen Escovedo with string band. I am going this week and was curious .

I have two words for you: HOLY CRAP!

I saw Alejandro a few years ago at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, and it is now in my Top Twenty Concerts Ever Attended pantheon. He did a set of mellow acoustic stuff with his band on stage, then did a few electrified songs (including a racous version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog"...what's the real title of that song, by the way? I can't remember). Then they came off stage and did an unmic-ed acoustic trio bit right from the middle of the audience. You literally could have heard a pin drop while they played. It was a moment of true beauty.

Calexico
03-02-2005, 10:54 AM
You have a pantheon?

Wow very impressive....I only have a portfolio.:(

axeeugene
03-02-2005, 02:39 PM
Originally posted by Calexico
You have a pantheon?

Wow very impressive....I only have a portfolio.:(

Actually I do have a pantheon. Just the other day I finally got around to buying myself a nice little photo album to store all my ticket stubs and setlists and other concert mementos, to replace the pathetic little ZipLock bag I'd been holding them in for years. It's a 200 sleeve album, and right now it's about 2/3 full.

That is not an accurate measure of how many shows I've seen, though, as I can't even begin to count the concerts I've been to that had no tickets or that I got into via guest lists, & etc. I would venture to say I've seen over 225 shows in my time. Of course, that may sound impressive, but remember I'm in my thirties (dear GOD...), and I'm more than sure several members of our tidy little community have more than double (triple?) that under their belts.

I can't properly order my favorite shows, but a few that really stand out are:

Pink Floyd at Camp Randall 1994
Neil Young Solo Acoustic Orpheum Theater 1992
Jayhawks Mankato People's Fair 1997
Bob Dylan Lake Coumpounce Hartford, CT 1988
ZZ Top Bradley Center Milwaukee, Halloween 1990
Jeff Tweedy Harper College 1999
Jayhawks Acoustic Trio Guthrie Theater 2002?

Damn. Now I'm going to have to go through every show and make a definitive list... 'cause I know I'm forgetting some serious winners...like nearly every Buddy Guy show I've witnessed.

As an aside, here are some of my fave mementos from years gone by:

* A Son Volt setlist with Jim Boquist's signature on it
* A goofy Mad Magazine collector's card I got from The Gin Blossoms
* A First Avenue "VIP Pass" from 2003's Jayhawks shows (thanks to Sandy)
* A Full-Color Promo Poster of Richard Buckner, signed by the man and featuring an advertisement for Day of Show...My 30th birthday!

Calexico
03-03-2005, 05:43 AM
So it's not a pantheon...just a photo album.A very impressive photo album no doubt but you were misleading us about the pantheon thing weren't you?

It's ok...we're not mad or anything....just disappointed in you.:(

axeeugene
03-03-2005, 08:41 AM
The photo album is just where I keep the stubs. Out back, I built a 100' diameter granite brick dome into which I have placed wax replicas of all my favorite stars in action.

It's got some impressively unique acoustics. Maybe I could be the one to host that fanpage celebration show people have been talking about...



"And you try and tell the young people of today that...and they won't believe you..."

Calexico
03-03-2005, 08:44 AM
Well why didn't you say so...modelled on the generic Home Pantheon 5000 with a few personal touches I imagine...very nice.

You sir are top of the newly formed pantheon league.

axeeugene
03-03-2005, 10:14 AM
Joined together in the struggle for Myth, Jurisprudence, and the Roman Way.



Back on topic...

A couple of years ago I culled the best tracks from AM and removed the least-best tracks off Trace (because there are no flawed songs on that record) and made the Fifth Uncle Tupelo Album. I called it (so wittily) TRAM.

I forget the tracklist, but I can say it was a joy to listen to. You could almost believe it really WAS a UT record.

I dunno where to start with Wilco, but I know that I got into them just after Being There came out, and I thought, "My GOD, how could a band be this good?" The funny thing was, I bought both Being There and Trace in the same month, both used, and Being There was a constant companion for about a year. Trace, meanwhile, spent one spin in my CD player and then languished on the shelf for a full six months. I didn't really like it at all at first. Then when I gave it a second spin I nearly punched myself. "You IDIOT," I thought, "how could you have let this masterpiece sit here unlistened to for so long?"

I think Being There is as good a place as any to start. There are elements of what was to come with ST and YHF in there, but the songs are all still grounded in the old UT style, so it's a nice bridge record. But really, anyone who's on this list and doesn't own the whole Wilco/SV/UT catalog has some serious CD shopping to do (Yes, Ed, this means YOU!)

Calexico
03-03-2005, 10:40 AM
I must admit to being one of these reprobates you speak of.I don't own everything Son Volt have done...only Trace and Wide Swing Tremelo.Some various Farrar tracks laying about too.

BoogieMan
03-03-2005, 10:46 AM
Calexico, you should check out both Sebastopol and Terroir Blues. Fantastic albums!

Janne
03-03-2005, 03:16 PM
Since Wilco has developed a lot, starting with A.M. almost ten years ago, there are 'different Wilcos'.
The best way to start is with Summerteeth. If you like the pop-oriented tunes best, go backwards - Being There & A.M.
If you prefer the more experimental songs, go further to their latest album A Ghost is Born. And if you like that, buy YHF. (And if that one doesn't seem weird enough for you, try to find the outtakes album which has only been released together with the photobook The Wilco Book (expensive as hell but may be found on Kazaa, I've heard...).
So what do I prefer? It's a photo finish between Summerteeth and A Ghost is Born.
I know this is the wrong place to say this (how do you diminish the type?) but I've started to prefer Wilco to The Jayhawks.

(And oh, could anyone please tell a distant foreigner what Wilco means, that is: the word. And yes, the live Terroir Blues is a terrific first album for the Jay Farrar newbie.)

Janne

PretentiousWilco
03-03-2005, 03:23 PM
" must admit to being one of these reprobates you speak of.I don't own everything Son Volt have done...only Trace and Wide Swing Tremelo.Some various Farrar tracks laying about too."


Aw man. You have to get Straightaways. That's my favorite Son volt record. It's more consistent than Trace IMHO. You also should get Sebastol and Terroir Blues. Al lvery good records.

Haggischomper
03-03-2005, 03:27 PM
Straightaways was the first SV I owned. Some great stuff on there and very underrated. Creosote, Caryatid Easy and the immense Left A Slide.

muskytoes
03-03-2005, 03:27 PM
Originally posted by PretentiousWilco who must have some medical condition that prevents him from from previewing his own posts otherwise he wouldn't look like such an idiot every minute of every day


Al lvery good records.


I like Al lvery's records
but he was better before his brother quit the band

PretentiousWilco
03-03-2005, 03:42 PM
go back on , Musky.

Always angry, all the time.

muskytoes
03-03-2005, 03:45 PM
That's right

I'm angry that you're an idiot

Man that's gonna mean extra therapy sessions

PretentiousWilco
03-03-2005, 03:48 PM
lol. It's like you are some angry paranoid, making up quotes.

shoo, little gnome. Shoo.

dogsrunfree
03-03-2005, 04:06 PM
Will Comply. Tweedy is into military radio stuff- that is the whole thing with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot..

facedown
03-03-2005, 04:12 PM
AGIB and Van Lear Rose are my two favorites of 2004. Wilco's delving into the unknown. It makes me think of Dark Side of the Moon in terms of its epic proportion. There's stuff on AGIB that hasn't been done before. Even the unlistenable static is worth enduring. It's like trying to explain a Jackson Pollack painting.
But it takes time and context. Off topic, isn't Portland Oregon
off Van Lear Rose unbelievably cool. Meatloaf must love this song.
Extra cool that both these records won Grammys, not that that means shit, but still.

PretentiousWilco
03-03-2005, 04:15 PM
Just curious but what specifically on AGIB hasn't been done before? Thx.

facedown
03-03-2005, 04:30 PM
Those big unexpected slams. I don't think I've heard that kind of thing done so explicitely.