Monday, August 23, 2004

Wilco on The Wire Cover


Over on The Wire, Edwin Pouncey hears how Chicago's alt.Country stars cracked the cocoon of success to release the free spirits within.

"I often think of Neil Young's career--for obvious reasons--when I think of Tweedy, what with Young putting out albums that alienate fans...rock-a-billy, computerized vocals etc...

But with each Wilco album they seem to be tracing a deliberate trajectory toward what might be called, and has been called here, the avant guarde, but I can tell you from my experience, most of my friends who are heavily in to avant guarde art whether John Cage, Duchamp, Cecil Taylor, or whomever, do not find Wilco's forays to be avant guard at all, I don't know, maybe they think a few noise tracks are a half-hearted commitment to breaking the mold of acceptable(ed) culture. I do not agree with them, I have loved each album.

I just wonder if Wilco will take a similar path to Young's, making acoustic/folkish albums as well as sound experiments, or if they are indeed on a developmental arc toward challenging weirdness which could also be cool. I'm open, but if the latter is the case, there might be a time when they're too avant for their fan base and not avant enough to catch the real cultural rebels, just a thought.

Or it could also make for a weird mix in the crowd--the last time I saw Steve Earle, there were a bunch of leftist college types (where I might fall) mingling with drunken rednecks (into whom I might fall when drunken), maybe that's how music changes the world....

Anyways, whatever direction they take, I feel certain it will come from an honest assessment of what they think is beautiful, and not--as has been suggested--deliberately trying to be weird/different etc. I think when that is the goal, the work usually fails, of course my avant friends would say a work never fails, just works to different ends, but then again I probably sound like a Wire-reading-chin-scratcher to some of you, so I'll stop....


More on Wilco and Neil Young.


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