In these modern times, albums have a tendency to suddenly rain down from the heavens without warning. Wilco have just joined the growing pack of surprise releasers, dropping a free 11-track LP on the world completely unannounced. As Jeff Tweedy said via Instagram, “Why release an album this way and why make it free? Well, the biggest reason, and I’m not sure we even need any others, is that it felt like it would be fun. What’s more fun than a surprise?” The follow-up to 2011’s The Whole Love is called Star Wars, its cover is an awesomely kitschy cat painting, and you can download it on Wilco’s website here in exchange for your email address; it’s apparently only going to be free for “a limited time,” so hurry up. You can also stream the entire thing and check out the full tracklist below.
03 “Random Name Generator”
04 “The Joke Explained”
05 “You Satellite”
06 “Taste The Ceiling”
07 “Pickled Ginger”
08 “Where Do I Begin”
09 “Cold Slope”
10 “King of You”
Star Wars is expected to see a full physical release sometime soon via Wilco’s own dBpm Records.
UPDATE: Star Wars will remain a free download until 8/13. It’ll be out on CD 8/21 and vinyl on 11/27. You can pre-order here along with a t-shirt or a trippy, commemorative Deep Dream print of the album cover. Beginning 7/30, pre-orders will be entered to win weekly drawings of handwritten lyrics Jeff Tweedy, tickets to any 2015 Wilco headlining show, an undeveloped disposable camera from the band, or a signed Star Wars test pressing.
Here are some more words from Tweedy via press release:
“We’ve been feeling very fortunate lately being reminded of how long we’ve been able to do this. We believe one of the primary reasons for our good fortune has been our audiences reaction to our impulse to be heard and our habit of erring on the side of that desire to override financial ambition. Not that we don’t enjoy getting paid. We do. But this is a recommitment to the idea that music is more important to our lives. Art is more worthy of our striving. And fun is more sustaining than cash. It’s not intended to be a comment on the music business, just one band’s wish to give our fans a jolt of joy: a fun surprise. In that spirit we hope you will accept this gift and if not, well, maybe next time.”
Star Wars was recorded at the Loft in Chicago and produced by Jeff Tweedy with Tom Schick. All the songs were written by Tweedy except “Taste The Ceiling” (by Jeff Tweedy and Scott McCaughey), “You Satellite” (by Jeff Tweedy, Glenn Kotche, and Nels Cline), and “Magnetized” (by Jeff Tweedy and Mikael Jorgensen). “Taste The Ceiling” features Scott McCaughey on mellotron and piano. Spencer Tweedy contributes additional percussion.