On the new Wilco album, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” frontman Jeff Tweedy muses that his mind is filled with “radio cures.” Looks like his old label didn’t think so. Citing a lack of commercially viable tracks on “YHF” and the band’s refusal to rework them, Warner/Reprise Music showed Tweedy and company the door. But not before allowing them to buy the finished studio tapes for $50,000. For Wilco (which, ironically, is shortwave-radio lingo for “will comply”), it was 50 grand well-spent. “YHF” is easily one of the best albums of the year and confirms Wilco’s membership in the pantheon of great American bands.
Over the past seven years the band has journeyed from country-punk to dramatic pop, and the band’s new label, Nonesuch, is a much better fit for their new sound. Home to Phillip Glass and Laurie Anderson, Nonesuch will surely encourage what Reprise shunned — notably the production work of sound experimentalist Jim O’Rourke. Bubbling beneath the surface, O’Rourke’s squeaks, creaks and low-key rumblings add texture and weight to the airy strings and piano. With the success of Radiohead’s “Kid-A,” one would think labels like Reprise would be gagging for this kind of material.
Read the full review at The Japan Times Online.