Wilco have announced that they’ll be releasing a new double-disc album next month called ‘Cruel Country’.
The band’s 12th studio album is set to arrive on May 27 via dBpm Records. This is the same weekend as their Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, MA, where the band will perform the new record for the first time.
The title was inspired by the idea that Wilco were a country band when they first started out. “There have been elements of country music in everything we’ve ever done,” frontman Jeff Tweedy said in a press release. “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.”
Comprising of 21 tracks total, ‘Cruel Country’ was created with all six members together in The Loft in Chicago for the first time since the 2011’s ‘The Whole Love’, and it’s made up of almost entirely live takes.
“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,” Tweedy said. “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.”
You can check out the album’s lead single, ‘Falling Apart’, below:
As for subject matters on the new album, Tweedy explained that there’s a loose conceptual narrative on the history of the United States.
“It isn’t always direct and easy to spot, but there are flashes of clarity,” Tweedy said. “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.”
He continued: “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.”
Due out May 27, you can pre-order ‘Cruel Country’ here – see the album’s tracklist below.
1. ‘I Am My Mother’
2. ‘Cruel Country’
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’
Meanwhile, Wilco are set to perform at Black Deer Festival in the UK this summer.
Tha band will headline the Saturday line-up of the Kent event on June 18. Other headliners across the weekend include James and Van Morrison.