Wilco’s The Whole Love. The poisoning of the critical well against Wilco has been a fascinating process to watch. As with any band of Wilco’s stature, there’s always been a vocal minority of dissenters to whom the lively alt-country and pop of their 90s work never made much of an impression, and the widespread praise for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s combination of skeletal folk and pop with finely-detailed arrangements proved baffling*. But “minority” is the key word here; if the oft-used phrase “the American Radiohead” never exactly rang true in terms of sound, the two bands were similarly lauded, similarly bulletproof. Some reviews even granted instant classic status to A Ghost is Born, a collection of decent songs with major deficiencies in execution (made apparent after a retooled lineup breathed some life into that material on the road).
Mind Science of the Mind - “To the Tender (Beauty Marks/Blisters)” (s/t)
As underappreciated as Shudder to Think may be, guitarist Nathan Larson’s side project, Mind Science of the Mind, is all but forgotten. It’s a great, bizarre mix of soul, pop, and vaguely prog impulses that situates the Pony Express Record-era Shudder to Think sound in a substantially looser framework. It’s also a supergroup of sorts, with Joan Wasser (now Joan as Policewoman, then a member of the Dambuilders), Mary Timony (Helium, Wild Flag), and Kevin March (the Dambuilders, Shudder to Think, Guided by Voices) pitching in.
As mentioned here, Jeff Buckley played bass for the band on tour, but never recorded with them.
Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss, Mary Timony, and Rebecca Cole unleashed our first taste of their forthcoming self-titled debut LP as Wild Flag over the weekend on WFMU, but now we have an official stream of “Romance” — by far the most promising material I’ve heard from the punk supergroup so far — via their label, Merge Records. Rock out to the Sleater-Kinney-style tune above.