Wilco: ‘Cruel Country’ Double Album Coming 5/27; Stream “Falling Apart (Right Now)”


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On May 27, Jeff Tweedy and his revered indie band Wilco will return with a new record titled Cruel Country, a double album billed in a news release as a “substantial two-disc exploratory work.”

Announced officially on Thursday, the news came with the premiere of a song called “Falling Apart (Right Now),” which can be heard below:

There’s a bit of a country inspiration behind this “exploratory work,” which Tweedy explained in a statement:

“there have been elements of Country music in everything we’ve ever done. We’ve never been particularly comfortable with accepting that definition, the idea that I was making Country music. But now, having been around the block a few times, we’re finding it exhilarating to free ourselves within the form, and embrace the simple limitation of calling the music we’re making Country.”

The “exploratory” nature of the new material’s conception was the result of some particularly loose recording sessions, as you may suspect. Per the release:

Cruel Country is almost entirely composed of live takes, with just a few overdubs. Everyone – Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Mikael Jorgensen, Pat Sansone and Nels Cline – was in the room, playing together at The Loft in Chicago, unseparated by baffles. It’s a totally different way of making records that Wilco hasn’t used in years—maybe not since Sky Blue Sky. “It’s a style of recording that forces a band to surrender control and learn to trust each other, along with each others’ imperfections, musical and otherwise.” says Tweedy. “But when it’s working the way it’s supposed to, it feels like gathering around some wild collective instrument, one that requires six sets of hands to play.”

Across the record, there’s a loose conceptual narrative on the history of the United States. There’s almost a chronologically accurate portrait of America that comes out of the way that the record moves. “It isn’t always direct and easy to spot, but there are flashes of clarity,” says Tweedy. “It’s all mixed up and mixed in, the way my personal feelings about America are often woven with all of our deep collective myths. Simply put, people come and problems emerge. Worlds collide. It’s beautiful. And cruel.” Tweedy continues: “The specifics of an American identity begin to blur for me as the record moves toward the light and opens itself up to more cosmic solutions—coping with fear, without belonging to any nation or group other than humanity itself.”

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The track listing:

1. I Am My Mother
2. Cruel Country
3. Hints
4. Ambulance
5. The Empty Condor
6. Tonight’s The Day
7. All Across The World
8. Darkness Is Cheap
9. Bird Without A Tail / Base Of My Skull
10. Tired Of Taking It Out On You
11. The Universe
12. Many Worlds
13. Hearts Hard To Find
14. Falling Apart (Right Now)
15. Please Be Wrong
16. Story To Tell
17. A Lifetime To Find
18. Country Song Upside-down
19. Mystery Binds
20. Sad Kind Of Way
21. The Plains

Stay tuned for more from Cruel Country, and catch Wilco on the road:

Fri. May 27 – Sun. May 29 – North Adams, MA @ Solid Sound Festival
Sat. Jun. 11 – Oslo, NE @ Loaded Festival
Mon. Jun. 13 – Copenhagen, DK @ Amager Bio
Fri. Jun. 17 – Zeebrugge, BE @ Zeebrugge Beach Festival
Sat. Jun. 18 – Kent, UK @ Black Deer Festival
Wed. Jun. 22 – Barcelona, ES @ Poble Espanyol
Sat. Jun. 25 – Murcia, ES @ Plaza De Toros Murcia
Mon. Jun. 27 – Madrid, ES @ Noches Del Botanico
Mon. Aug. 28 – Martha’s Vineyard, MA @ Beach Road Weekend

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