Cult-vault: Alt-rock legends, Wilco

Indie | Tuesday 10th October 2017 | Toms

Welcome to Cult-Vault, where we discuss classics that you've never ever heard of.

When anyone talks Wilco, they talk of their fourth studio release, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001). Rolling Stone put this album 3rd, in their Top 100 Albums of the Decade, as well as 493rd of Top 500 Albums of All Time; Pitchfork put it 4th on their Top 200 Albums of the 2000s. So who are Wilco, and why are they so great?

An American alternative-rock band, formed in 1994, with two Grammy Awards and one Wired Rave Award under their belt. Take a bit of rock, a ton of experimental, sprinkle on some existential lyrics, and label it 'American Radiohead', and you get Wilco.

Their critically acclaimed album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has got quite the story and a bit of controversy behind it. Originally to be released on the Time Warner record label, in between buyouts and changing leadership, the band ended up being dropped and given the rights to their album for free. Now, known as AOL Time Warner, didn't see the album as suitable for the current market. When Wilco began streaming the album on their website, it registered over 50,000 hits on the day.

'I Am Trying To Break Your Heart' - Wilco

What a beautiful way to open the album. An ambient rock love song, with borderline non-nonsensical, quite whimsical lyrics. The song echoes sounds that might, or might not be instruments, slowly escalating, and de-escalating noise to help you feel like you're in a dream.

"I am an American aquarium drinker
I assassin down the avenue
I'm hiding out in the big city blinking
What was I thinking when I let go of you?"

'Heavy Metal Drummer' - Wilco

Some will never forget their teenage years, jumping around to rock/metal/punk gigs, in some park or basement, drinking that smuggled-in, cheap White Lightning. While the song itself might not capture the energy and the noise of these gigs, the sweet melody does bring out the nostalgia for those formative years.

We'll see you around at the next Cult-Vault where we will talk about yet another unknown band and sub-culture, which has a unproportionally large following!

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