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Schmilco Impressions.


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Digging the vibe on Schmilco a lot more than on SW, which was a fun album but ultimately a bit of an empty and too straightforward rock show (with a couple of slower ones that weren't that good, Tweedy seems to have kept the better slower tracks for Schmilco) that didn't keep me coming back except for a couple of stand outs. Never understood why that one got so much love on this board.

I like that Schmilco goes for the good old album as a cohesive statement vibe which is the first time since SBS I think (though I'd still rank it below TWL which was a bit better than Shmilco on a song by song basis)?

I thought Star Wars held together well as a whole album and was more cohesive than the previous three. I feel the same way about Schmilco. There's not one song on either of those albums that breaks the spell for me.
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I guess the thing that is supposed to tie SW together is that it's a more fun and lighthearted but I dunno, I like my Wilco to make some more profound statements than just that. I like fun Wilco but SW was a bit too much meaningless nonsense across the board for me.

And a couple of weak tracks on what was already a short album dragged the whole thing down quite a bit for me as well. Schmilco on the other hand doesn't make me reach for the skip button maybe because even the weaker ones make me stay in a certain vibe so it's all good. 

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I guess the thing that is supposed to tie SW together is that it's a more fun and lighthearted but I dunno, I like my Wilco to make some more profound statements than just that. I like fun Wilco but SW was a bit too much meaningless nonsense across the board for me.

And a couple of weak tracks on what was already a short album dragged the whole thing down quite a bit for me as well. Schmilco on the other hand doesn't make me reach for the skip button maybe because even the weaker ones make me stay in a certain vibe so it's all good.

Just curious. What are the weak tracks on SW in your opinion? I know it's different for everyone.
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Just curious. What are the weak tracks on SW in your opinion? I know it's different for everyone.

 

Joke Explained, Cold Slope & King of You, Where do I Begin (despite a cool ending). Taste the Ceiling wasn't that great either. Even something like More... while certainly not being a weak song wore thin pretty quickly for me. 

Magnetized is alright but not really Reservations level either imo. The two that made me return were You Satellite & RNG, botyh are pretty "meaningless" fun tracks as well but they have good enough melodies to actually deliver on that promise. 

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After several listens to the whole album, I'd have to say that I'm definitely enjoying the album thoroughly.  There is a lot of subtle depth to the songs, both musically and lyrically.  On a whole, it reminds me a lot of the softer side of John Lennon's solo work, although it doesn't get quite as weird as Lennon did (which is a good thing in my opinion).  "Happiness" was a very pleasant surprise.  "Common Sense" definitely stands out as the strangest and most experimental track on the record, and it has a trippy catchiness to it similar to some of the cuts on AGIB.  

 

Honestly, as a whole, it almost sounds like a Wilco "B-Side" album, but I don't mean that in a derogatory way.  More like a B-Side album in that it's so different from other Wilco albums and it reminds me more of a lot of the songs that didn't make it onto Summerteeth, YHF, and AGIB.  

 

It definitely lives up to Tweedy's description of it being a "fucked up country record."  And that's a good thing.  

 

Enjoy, everyone! 

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I was sitting at home yesterday, Labor Day, and the doorbell rang.  I was angry at first, my dog is old, and he still feels inclined to bark, even at 14. The mood changed when I saw it was my vinyl copy of Schmilco.  I had purposely avoided the leaks, and was half hoping some were bogus, so I knew nothing of the album save for the three tracks the band had released.  I truly love this album.  It may be because I am 50, and out of nowhere over the past couple of years I have started to look back on occasion, rather than the full steam forward mode I had been in my entire life.  Not nostalgic, but more melancholy.  Then this arrives, and the melancholy comes close to trauma.  

 

Normal American Kids sums up a substantial part of my high school years.  Happiness tore me up, I don't think I ever really looked back on how I treated my mom, until she was gone anyway, and for the sake of my sanity I filed it away. Happiness ended being a mind/soul excavating nightmare producer.  Very well written, and the music is beautiful.  I had an uncle who ran a bar and Quarters put my fear of day drinkers into a two and a half minute song.  I really like this album, probably because it is the last thing I expected after Star Wars.  I don't mind at all not knowing what is coming next, thinking I may have an idea of what it could be, then being totally surprised.  

 

I have a lot more to listen to, but I absolutely will wear this copy out by mid September. 

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I’ll DEFINITELY be buying this record.

 
For me, at least half the record is pretty freaking great. 
 
If forced to pick a favorite, it’d be “Just Say Goodbye”. It’s my favorite vocal on the record.  And has my favorite line on the record, “…we try so hard…(wo-oh-wo)...as if I have answers”.
 
I also like “I stood there in a trance, listening to the jukebox play” on “Quarters” and “If I hold you tight, no one else will get to” on the very catchy “Someone To Lose”.
 
“We Aren’t The World Safety Girl” and “Cry All Day” are 2 other standouts for me. Lots of fresh sounds on both songs…in fact, I think the band do a good job on the whole record of trying to present something fresh. Only a few times I feel it's forced and/or doesn't work.
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I was thinking about it... these guys really made a "fucked up country record". This morning I was showering, my wife has Pandora set up in the bathroom so I sometimes listen to the Wilco "station". Someone Else's Song came on and it struck me both how classic and conventional it sounds. They really used to be an Americana band, as in mastering conventions in order to employ them for making new songs (never mind the somewhat meta lyrics). Schmilco would not have been possible in those days. Now they've mastered conventions and often transcend them.

 

Ryan Adams came on the station second. He's great. I thought in a parallel universe he might have even written Someone Else's Song. He could never have made Schmilco.

 

It's kind of like how Leon Bridges and the Night Sweats could trade some songs, but Alabama Shakes and Michael Kiwanuka have some next level stuff going on that breaks the mold.

 

Am I making sense? Loving Schmilco btw.

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I was thinking about it... these guys really made a "fucked up country record". This morning I was showering, my wife has Pandora set up in the bathroom so I sometimes listen to the Wilco "station". Someone Else's Song came on and it struck me both how classic and conventional it sounds. They really used to be an Americana band, as in mastering conventions in order to employ them for making new songs (never mind the somewhat meta lyrics). Schmilco would not have been possible in those days. Now they've mastered conventions and often transcend them.

 

Exactly. I mentioned this earlier in the thread, but I never understood why people considered Being There as weird. It's fairly straightforward.

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Ok it's growing on me, but I still feel it's a little too slight for my tastes. It just kinda begins and ends, and I don't think it leaves much of impression compared to their other records. It doesn't feel like a Wilco record to me. Which is usually an "experience" in it self. Jeff is awfully negative/pessimistic on this record, which I think everyone can relate too, but I think it's a little too on the nose.

 

I think if Tweedy -Sukirae hadn't come out just two years ago, I'd feel more appreciative of this smaller / more subtle sound. Instead it just feels similar. I can hear Low Key, world away, And Summer Moon coming out of these sessions more than anything off Star Wars. In not only the production, but also Jeff's overall vocal sound.

 

Not to mention Tweedy had an epic tracklisting compared. Some of these tracks could have been Tweedy B-sides and I wouldn't have noticed the difference, besides a few touches here and their of the supporting band mates.

 

I'm actually starting to think I may just create a play list of Star Wars / Schmilco together to give both albums much needed depth and resonance. How much more amazed would we have been if this released as a double album instead?

 

Would have almost liked an entire album of stuff like Common Sense and Locater. These songs feel the most progressive of the set, even if they aren't my favorite songs on the album.

 

I do hope that these songs grow and come alive throughout the years at their shows, which I'm sure will happen.

 

If I were to rate it today...B-

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carleiu, on 06 Sept 2016 - 02:39 AM, said:

It definitely lives up to Tweedy's description of it being a "fucked up country record."  And that's a good thing.  

I agree.  First listen in the record store really made me think of that comment.  Common Sense was the standout track for me today. That's bound to change, but I thought it was the most interesting track musically.

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It's more than a fucked-up country record. And that's a good thing. I'm only spinning it for the first time since I Heard Schmilco so I'll need more time to digest it.

Common Sense is going to be great live, I'm sure. I wish I had a chance to see them on this tour!

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carleiu, on 06 Sept 2016 - 02:39 AM, said:

I agree.  First listen in the record store really made me think of that comment.  Common Sense was the standout track for me today. That's bound to change, but I thought it was the most interesting track musically.

 

I agree that Common Sense is an awesome song....after another day of listening to the album, I feel even stronger about how these tunes have quickly caught my ear despite their complexity and lyrical tone.  Common Sense has a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Demo feel to it, with all the chaos/noise and perhaps a (seemingly) out of tune instrument or two, that only Wilco can pull off in making it come across as chaotically-unified.  It honestly reminds me a lot of the early demo for I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.

 

@Grasshopper Greensnake--I hope they play it live a lot too, but Jeff said in a recent interview that he thinks it'll be the so-called fans' (my words) least favorite song on the record and that it will be very difficult to play live because it's so intricate and would require a very "quiet" theater to allow the nuance of that song to sound good in live form.  Hopefully, someone from the band sees this thread and knows that there is LOTS OF LOVE FOR "COMMON SENSE!"  As well as for the entire album.  I, for one, would love to hear it in its entirety live.  

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I don't love every song but there are so, so many beautiful moments on this record. Glenn's use of brush instead of sticks in many places is just magical. Lyrically, I think it's Tweedy's strongest effort yet. And while some of it seems to wax nostalgic, I'm alright with that - I'm old enough to wax nostalgic myself.

 

I always like to look to the start and finish of an album - Outside of Wilco, not much is stronger than Normal American Kid / Just say goodbye.

 

This album is an ear worm.  Every time I listen I want to give it a closer investigation.  It's not for cheap headphones and 128KB download.

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