Originally formed in 1994, Wilco is a veteran in the indie rock scene. While a lot of things have changed over the years, two things really haven’t: their alt-country vibes and their notoriously bad album names. Their new album released September 9th, Schmilco, is no exception.
Although Schmilco still has their iconic country feel, there’s a clear progression in their sound. Compared to the last couple albums, it feels refreshingly stripped down. The instrumental seems simplified but still skillfully organized while Jeff Tweedy sings simply melodies with a slightly gravelly but chill and restrained voice. Without the clear maturity in it, it would be hard to tell whether it was their first album or their tenth. Starting with “Normal American Kids”, the album feels noticeably blue-grassy and straight from an indie road trip playlist. The rest of the album has much of the same idea with songs like “Common Sense” whose discordant guitars and inconsistent vocals feel either like a nice break (or misplaced depending on your outlook).
Schmilco altogether feels very complete and wholesome with introspective lyrics and their iconic stoner-country sound. Honestly, Wilco is amazing at managing to stay relevant and fresh even when your dad probably wants to listen to their album with you.