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1999: Summerteeth & The Soft Bulletin


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Wilco_Summer_Teeth_large.jpg soft_bulletin.jpg

 

Released respectively in March and May 1999, these two albums share important sonic landscapes, especially with a big use of keyboards.

 

The Flaming Lips were more arty and experimental at it, though - and I know Wilco was listening to the Flaming Lips after that, and they made the more experimental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - an influence?

 

Also, to me, The Flaming Lips and Wilco may have been influenced by Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs from 1998. What do you think?

 

Anyway, I liked that 1999 year a lot. I discovered then four of my favorite records ever: Summerteeth, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Ron Sexsmith's Whereabouts, and John Cunningham's Homeless House. He added on a side note.

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Wilco_Summer_Teeth_large.jpg soft_bulletin.jpg

 

Released respectively in March and May 1999, these two albums share important sonic landscapes, especially with a big use of keyboards.

 

The Flaming Lips were more arty and experimental at it, though - and I know Wilco was listening to the Flaming Lips after that, and they made the more experimental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - an influence?

 

Also, to me, The Flaming Lips and Wilco may have been influenced by Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs from 1998. What do you think?

 

Anyway, I liked that 1999 year a lot. I discovered then four of my favorite records ever: Summerteeth, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Ron Sexsmith's Whereabouts, and John Cunningham's Homeless House. He added on a side note.

 

I always thought Summerteeth had better songwriting, but The Soft Bulletin was as you said, an artier production. They're similar in some aspects, definitely. The Soft Bulletin has a Pink Floyd element that Summerteeth doesn't, and Summerteeth has a folk element that The Lips didn't have.

 

And yes, Deserter's Songs seems to have influenced both records; digging further back you can also see influence from XTC's Skylarking, Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything?, Psychedelic era Beatles, and yes, Pet Sounds.

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I never quite got the SummerTeeth cover. Is it a body with a moon head? Or is it a person blowing a huge bubble? I like the cover and it is unlike any other simplisitic style Wilco album cover, but I never quite understood.

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I never quite got the SummerTeeth cover. Is it a body with a moon head? Or is it a person blowing a huge bubble? I like the cover and it is unlike any other simplisitic style Wilco album cover, but I never quite understood.

 

it's a person blowing a huge bubble

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I listened to both of these records a lot when I was an undergrad. These days I haven't really been that compelled to listen to the post-Ronald Jones Flaming Lips very often, but Summerteeth still gets a monthly spin. I got both it and YHF within a few weeks of each other in 2002, and it was the first Wilco album I ever heard. It pretty much blew my mind and rendered half of my CD collection irrelevant so I am quite fond of that record.

 

--Mike

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Curiously, both bands went on to release, what I consider to be, their best albums in the same year: 2002.

 

51jaJ3ZbJ8L._SL500_AA240_.jpg 41P87BKVZXL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

 

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot & Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

 

(yes, I know YHF was finished and available online in 2001 – but that’s a technicality as far as I’m concerned.)

 

2002 was a bit of a watershed year for me for music. I really had my ears open by this time. Beck’s best record, “Sea Change” was also released that same year. I also discovered UK indie singer-songwriter, Badly Drawn Boy, that year (thanks to his soundtrack work on “About a Boy”), which set me off down the path to discovering his brilliant debut “The Hour of the Bewilderbeast” from 2000.

 

All of these records have been with me pretty solidly since, and are almost always in my Top 10 lists. It was a pretty encouraging start to the new millennium.

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