Friday, January 19, 2007

Wilco's new release and Noise Pop

Just found out that according to a tip from a Pitchfork reader and later confirmed by Wilco's publicist, last night at a solo show in Nashville, Jeff Tweedy announced that his band's forthcoming record is called "Sky Blue Sky" and will be out May 15 on Nonesuch. It will be the band's first studio release since 2004's "A Ghost Is Born."
Wilco is one of those bands thats continues to amaze me from record to record. For some reason people seemed to hate "Ghost is Born." But I completely loved it. It's my favorite record they ever put out. I'm amazed that people still want Wilco to keep holding that tired "alt-country" torch. Alt-country indie rock has become boring. It's essentially a stagnant form of music, like singing standards. Wilco took it where it needed to go and there's not much more you can do with it. Twang only goes so far. Standard song structure only goes so far. "Ghost" seemed like a natural progression from all their other albums. The album also (in my opinion) expanded on a newer form of music - noise pop. I know most people think noise pop has been around for a long time - and it has. But let's face it, other than Sonic Youth at its most conventional and maybe a few others, noise pop was on the fringes. After "Ghost is Born" came out I have been hearing many more bands becoming interested in taking standard pop/rock songs and "weirding" them up a bit with noise or more creative song structure. But the main change seems focused on keeping the songs listenable and poppy - which Sonic Youth often snubbed its nose at, until it's most recent release. Give a listen to Sirius radio's "Left of Center" and virtually every song owes a nod to the "new" noise pop that Wilco expanded upon. I absolutely love where this is going. Only musicians can appreciate music that is so obscure it becomes unlistenable. It's time songwriters started keeping people in mind. Music is supposed to create emotions in us - something much deeper than anger or paranoia. Although I'm a bit worried Wilco is heading back to alt-country. I base this on the tune "The thanks I get" they've been playing live. That song seems like a step backwards again. Oh - and I know "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" was essentially filled with more "noise" than "Ghost" but you have to admit "YHF" was pretty pretentious (even if it is a great album), whereas "Ghost" comes across in a much more minimal and straightforward way. All of this is based on ignoring the migraine inspired track on "Ghost." I suppose I skip throught that song like everyone else...

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