Mudhoney & Opinions on Wilco

Mudhoney

Mudhoney was at the forefront of Seattle’s exploding music scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s, paving the way for grunge with its distorted, chaotic sound. Though the group never received the world-wide attention of its peers Nirvana, Mudhoney has achieved a cult-like longevity. Mudhoney talks with Jim and Greg and performs in front of a hometown Seattle audience. Plus, the new album from Chicago band Wilco, and the psychedelicsample driving a key Beyoncé track.

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Mudhoney

For almost 30 years, rock band Mudhoney has been a staple in the Seattle music scene. While contemporaries like Nirvana and Soundgarden earned more commercial success, Mudhoney always stayed true to themselves and Jim notes they’re one of the few bands that never sucked. The group first garnered attention for the EP Superfuzz Bigmuff that pioneered the distorted sound big labels would later market as grunge. Jim and Greg talked with the members of the Mudhoney: vocalist Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, drummer Dan Peters and bassist Guy Maddison, at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle in front of a live audience. The hosts chatted with Mudhoney about their signature sound, musical collaborations and they also performed several songs from the span of their critically-loved career.

Sample Platter: Beyoncé’s Freedom

This week we debut a new segment called Sample Platter, where Jim and Greg highlight a fascinating use of sampling in a pop song. They kick things off with Freedom from Beyoncé’s album Lemonade, one of the most compelling records of the year so far. The centerpiece of the song is an organ sample from Let Me Try, an obscure 1969 recording by the Latin American psychedelic band Kaleidoscope. The band formed in Puerto Rico, signed to a Mexican label, and recorded its only album in the Dominican Republic, which sold only a few hundred copies. Beyoncé resurrected it, transforming its trippy vibe into a stomping, raging march. While Kaleidoscope’s hippie-ish song came in the wake of the riots of 1968, Beyoncé brilliantly recontextualizes it as a modern protest anthem in the era of Black Lives Matter, featuring a notable guest appearance from Kendrick Lamar.

Schmilco Wilco

Schmilco

Veteran Chicago band (and Greg Kot biography subject Wilco returns with its 10th album, Schmilco. On this record, leader Jeff Tweedy explores the alienated feelings of his childhood spent as a misfit in downstate Illinois. Schmilco is drawn from the same sessions as the band’s previous album, Star Wars, which Greg says was a jarring but welcome departure for the band. Schmilco swaps the noise of Star Wars for an unsettlingly weird folkie vibe à la early Tyrannosaurus Rex. No record in their discography sounds like this one, and Greg feels it’s deserving of a Buy It. Jim agrees, noting that for a while it was beginning to sound like Wilco had a formula. These last two records have tossed that up, featuring a rawness and realness you wouldn’t expect from a band this far into its career.

Greg

Inspiration for a DIJ pick can come from anywhere. Even a TV commercial. Greg recently heard a track used for an ad and it jogged his memory of a song he heard on an old mixtape. Sure enough he found the tape, and the song Born to Wander from the singer Jack Wood. In the mid-1960s, Jack Wood recorded two songs in small town Michigan. The songs borrowed sounds from soul, garage-rock and Morricone film scores. Greg says the tracks got a few spins on local radio before the music essentially disappeared. Fast forward to 2015 when Jack White and Third Man Records re-released the single. Greg says it is a great, one off moment in rock history that is worthy of the Desert Island Jukebox.

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