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Schmilco Impressions.


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I've had Schmilco basically on repeat since picking it up Friday morning - and I'm completely in love with it. Perhaps some of the most intimate, personal work Tweedy has put forth in a long, long time. Still struggling to find my way with Common Sense and Shrug and Destroy, but the rest of the cuts are stellar. 

 

Hate to create a false dichotomy here, but, since both Schmilco and Star Wars were recorded during the same period, I'm way more pleased, excited, passionate about Schmilco than Star Wars. Don't get me wrong, SW has some killer songs on it, but I rarely listen to it from start to finish. With Schmilco, at least thus far, I've only listened to it from beginning to end. Just a much stronger overall listening experience, at least for me. 

 

Alright, back to tending to my newborn daughter - just five days old and already she's cracked a smile or two when Cry All Day comes on. Cheers!

 

Sleep whenever you can, Wilconut. And congratulations on that newest Wilco fan!

 

I so agree with you about schmilco...my husband & i were agreeing last night about how well it hangs together as an album, and how it wants to be heard as a whole. Everything fits, and the sequencing is perfect!

 

Ha! My daughter is just 2 weeks old. I keep saying "Cry All Day" is her theme.I find sitting around at home with a newborn to be perfect for listening to records all day. Congratulations!

 

New little Wilco fans everywhere! Congratulations!!! You get some sleep too. I remember how tempting it can be to want to watch the adorable new baby sleep, but seriously, that's your chance to sneak in a catnap! Do it!

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I just read the Vulture review and the reviewer mentions Graham Coxon in this quote "Nope” crams stuttering bits of riffs into the margins, the lead guitar coughing and spitting over the tune like Blur ax-man Graham Coxon did on “Coffee & TV." On my first full listen to Schmilco I mentioned to Via member Linclink that it reminded me in many ways of Blur's 13 album which has always been a favorite of mine. I would love to know if anyone else hears similarities in the sonic balance between these two albums. Hope all you West Coasters are enjoying this wonderful run.

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@Ikapon: I spotted that too in the review. I'd agree that the guitar work is very like 13 in places. Much more textural in style. Nels seems to blend really well with Mikael and they work together in a different and interesting way than previous albums.

 

Listened to it another two times this evening and it just pulls me in more and more each time. It's quickly becoming my fav album since SBS.

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I've had it on nonstop for the past week, and it's kinda hard to for it to "sink in" for me.  I may have to put it away for a week or so then get it back out again.  It has a lot of depth and beautiful sounds inside its rather sparse overall feel.  I agree with the comments about the strong lyrics, which also makes it a little harder to absorb right away.

 

I like my Wilco albums to be growers. YHF, AGIB, SW and BT took some time to settle in for me and they are among my favorite Wilco albums now. I remember hearing TWL the first time and I remember telling a friend when I was 5 songs in that this is the best Wilco album I've ever heard. Now it's probably my least favorite. I think Schmilco is a grower. I don't understand it quite yet and that's a good thing. Songs that seemed weak upon the first listen (Quarters, Just Say Goodbye, Shrug and Destroy) are becoming my favorites. Only time will tell, but I have a feeling that Schmilco will be up in the ranking once the dust settles.

SW was very immediate for me  Maybe the surprise "blast" of the record helped that - no hype, no 1 or 2 songs dribbled out early, no preconceptions based on media, etc.  This one is certainly a record that takes a little more time to absorb for me, and I'd call it a grower for sure. 

Quarters is quickly becoming a favorite.  What a great little vignette and picture that one is.  The outro seems a little bit "forced"? Kinda like a mini-drone a la Less Than You Think or the outro of Reservations.  It's pretty, but the connection to the song is not obvious to me.  Yet.

 

Is it just me or is this a Tweedy album? I love Sukierae, and I really like this album after a half a dozen listens but this sounds like the second disc to Sukierae much more than a follow up to Star Wars.

It's just you.  There's not a single waltz on this record.  :cheers

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After hearing some people call it an album of filler songs I was pleasantly surprised to hear how amazing this album actually is. But ever since listening to it, Bruce Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark has been obsessively playing in my head. I don't dislike Bruce, but never been a real fan. There's no reason for that song to be in my head. Then today I realized it's because somehow parts of the song Cry All Day remind selfconciously of DitD. Still, I love that song and think the whole album is great!

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Today's Schmilco thought - I'm really liking "Normal American Kids".  I like that it's just a couple of instruments (Jeff and Nels based on the live reports).  Glad that they didn't feel obligated to cram all 6 people into the song and just let it be sparse.  It sets the tone for the whole record that way.

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It's kind of what I expected when I heard years ago that Jeff was doing a solo album.  In fact I think over the years people on the board have dreamed of a solo acoustic record, which I imagine to be more like "Solitaire" and "Normal American Kids" than most of the stuff on Sukierae, which seems universally loved, but more as a one-man-band plus son affair as opposed to a stripped down songwriter plus guitar/harmonica situation.

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Finally got the CD today. (I'm old school.) 3 spins.

 

1st spin very underwhelmed but track 4 (I don't have a grip on all the song names yet) came across as something that is just as weird as the weirdest things they did on YHF and AGIB, and track 11 came across as bouncy and playful, with fantastic organ. 

 

2nd spin was very "hmmm". Things began to seep into my brain.

 

3rd spin I knew this thing was fucking magnificent. Tweedy is genius. The band is fantastic, and this does sound like a band record to me, not Tweedy solo with some accompaniment.

 

I love how it starts very quietly and ends midtempo....the opposite of Star Wars.

 

My impressions are very foggy after 3 spins, but in very broad brush strokes, this starts quietly, then a couple of midtempo beauties follow, then the middle stretch contains the weirdest songs, then it ends very strongly in the fourth quarter.

 

Track 4 sounds like a song that fell onto the floor and broke into pieces, then it got stitched back together all wrong.....which is so right. It's from another planet, but it fits into the album nicely.

 

Sorry this is slightly incoherent. I'm giddy with excitement, and I will do many more spins over the next few days.

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