Monday, May 17, 2010

John Adamian on Wilco

"Wilco is a bit like America’s answer to Radiohead. The band is hugely popular, inspiring major-league fan adoration, loads of Internet documentation and speculation, and ample critical acclaim. Like Radiohead, the Chicago-based group has experimented extensively in the studio, most notably with their 2002 record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which was co-produced by avant-garde musician Jim O’Rourke and which features layers of whirring noise and radio-fuzz effects that seem to both mask and accentuate parts of the tracks.
 And perhaps it’s a measure of the band’s success — hitting the sweet-spot for a wide swath of 30-something hipsters — that Wilco, which has been at it for 16 years now, has also inspired its own specific kind of critical dismissal, the smart-ass uber-hip putdown. The band’s 2007 record Sky Blue Sky was famously dissed as 'dad-rock' by the taste-makers at Pitchfork. In that respect Wilco may be more like Coldplay; their success and genre- and generation-spanning appeal is something that irks some critics as well as that special subset of hipster who likes to make fun of hipsters" ("Deep Balance: Wilco Continues to Manage the Extremes," New Haven Advocate, 4/8/10).


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