Best Of 2014: Wilco - Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014

Sounds Like:  

The Band had a baby with Television; Midwestern Radiohead

Why You Should Care:

So, an important person in your life likes Wilco. Should you buy this person Alpha Mike Foxtrot, the recently released set of B-sides and live cuts? The answer depends only on your loved one's level of Wilco fandom. The hardcore completists will have chased down these tracks on 90s alt-country compilations, soundtracks, and hard-to-find releases, and may, as a consequence, be underwhelmed by the lack of never-before-heard material. But even the most hardcore fan will find value in the high sound quality of the release, the live cuts, and Jeff Tweedy's track-by-track liner notes, replete with his trademark self-deprecation.

The collection offers both a narrative and sonic reward. Witness as Jeff Tweedy's kitchen demos grow into alt-country classics and then morph into studio-noodling alternative rock. Marvel as you track the exact moments where Tweedy outgrows the original lineup. And savor the definitive Nels Cline guitar freakout on a live "Impossible Germany," the swinging cover of Ernest Tubbs' "The T.B. Is Whipping Me," and a positively sunny acoustic live version of "I Got You (At the End of the Century)," just to name a few.

Check out the embeds below for a taste of what you’re in for: "Blasting Fonda" is a bittersweet, Summerteeth-era B-side that demonstrates Tweedy's unique ability to sound like the loneliest person in the world. And a downright nostalgic live version of "California Stars" – a song that every Wilco fan knows and loves – shines a bright light on the magic and majesty of Woody Guthrie's lyrics.

WILCO  Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014

Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014