Wilco leapt from the grave of Uncle Tupelo, the Illinois roots outfit that almost single-handedly wrote the New Testament of alt-country. Like his former Uncle Tupelo partner Jay Farrar, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy was smitten with Gram Parsons, Doug Sahm, Roger McGuinn, and other icons of hippie twang. But unlike Farrar, Tweedy had a yen to broaden his music’s stylistic reach, and with Wilco, he’s incorporated everything from Beach Boys harmonies to kraut rock rhythms to postpunk distortion flares.
The band’s great leap forward came with 2002’s Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, a gorgeous and haunting album full of keyboard drones and other arty, well-deployed atmospherics. Since then, Wilco have sustained the seductive ache of Tweedy’s voice (Wilco’s true signature) even as they’ve incorporated more and more spacey guitars, frenzied jams, and stark reveries into their progressive pop, all the while earning a reputation as one of America’s most adored bands.
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