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Music, Buzz-Worthy or Banal?

Buzz-Worthy or Banal?

Wilco's latest album, Sky Blue Sky (due out May 15), so far appears to be polarizing fans and critics alike. They either love or loathe the group's meandering, rootsy direction. In the spirit of open critical dialogue, here are two…
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Music, Reviewed Andrew Hill/Nels Cline

Andrew Hill/Nels Cline

Pianist-composer Andrew Hill has been actively extending the jazz tradition on nearly three dozen recordings since 1960. It may be Wilco guitarist Nels Cline's latest disc that invigorates Hill's cachet among younger-generation fans of adventurous music, though. Cline's New Monastery…
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Music, Hear This Centro-matic|The Leather Uppers|Husky Rescue|Wayne Hancock

Centro-matic|The Leather Uppers|Husky Rescue|Wayne Hancock

God damn the humorless alt. country zealots for casting Centro-Matic as a blue-collar indie hero; it takes a hot second in the audience of the Denton, Texas, band to realize that it doesn't fit the knee-jerk definitions that find it…
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Music, Reviewed Wilco

Wilco

From the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Wilco has become one of America's finest rock bands, its constantly evolving sound a seamless mix of country, folk, and jolting blues that retains its urgency even during the quieter moments. Not surprisingly, the…
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Music, Reviewed El Capitan

El Capitan

Where El Capitan's debut, Atwater KNC, presented the band as an amiable, if inoffensive, local country-rock upstart, the quintet's follow-up, What Ails You, makes a substantial leap, skipping the picked-over scraps of Wilco influences for heavy helpings of sunny melodies…
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Music, Keep on Truckin'

Keep on Truckin'

"Sadly, eight years of hard work and critical acclaim but little return in terms of commercial success inevitably takes its toll, and a group decision was made to finally lay the band to rest ...." That was the grim message…
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Music, Reviewed Loose Fur

Loose Fur

Loose Fur is not a Jim O'Rourke album -- but that's only true in the sense that Magritte's famous painting The Treason of Images (which features the line "This is not a pipe" written in French below an obvious pipe)…
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Music, Reviewed Wilco

Wilco

If there really were such a thing as altcountry radio, it would be difficult to imagine Wilco's new album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, getting played there. By all accounts, the band's fourth disc is a big, flying, techno-tinged "Fuck you!" to…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Swag's founding sounds like an especially good riddle: What do you get when you cross members of the Mavericks, Cheap Trick, Wilco, and Sixpence None the Richer? The answer -- and the band -- originally came together back in 1996…
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Music, Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons pioneered the country-rock scene back in the swinging '60s, at a time when rednecks battled with longhairs for the soul of the nation and most hippies thought "Nashville" was synonymous with "Nazi." Appearing as a cross-pollinating apostle, Parsons…
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Music, The Catherine Wheel

The Catherine Wheel

The Catherine Wheel makes über-English music -- though the title of its new album, Wishville, sounds like it might have wandered over from the Wilco rack, the eerie blend of wistfulness and barely bridled anger in the band's music could…
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Music,

Racket

I can't help feeling like I might be invading Carol Van Dijk's privacy. The Bettie Serveert singer -- swaddled in a gargantuan sweater, face curtained by heavy, blond hair, holding a Coke in one hand and a hand-rolled cigarette in…
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Music,

Samples

Silence! Yeah, but weren't they asking for it? I mean, however noble the intentions of the many West Coast just-add-a-cause charity organizations like H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers), a question remains: Does lack of common sense entitle certain…
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Music,

Suspicious Minds

Emily Shore, a young daughter of the last century, had been "coughing up blood since the dogwoods bloomed." Right before she died, she hacked off her hair with a pocketknife and braided her father a watch chain out of the…
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Music,

Recordings

Wilco "A.M." (Sire/Reprise) For years, St. Louis' Uncle Tupelo was the rootsiest of alternative bands. The group treated songs the way heartland farmers treat crops -- mowin' 'em down with a thresher one week, carefully planting seeds the next. From…
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