Wilco Treat Fans with a Surprise Gift Track: “Locator”

Wilco Treat Fans with a Surprise Gift Track: “Locator”

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Wilco are an American alternative rock band that hail from Chicago, Illinois. They formed in 1994 and have released nine studio albums since then. Wilco are known for their creative musical sound and style. They have explored not only alternative rock and indie rock, but also experimental rock, art rock, and alternative country.  Thus, any new music from them is bound to pique the interest of fans and critics alike.

On July 16th, 2015, Wilco released their ninth studio album, Star Wars, for free through www.wilcoworld.net. The distribution of this record came as a surprise for many fans and critics, as little to no fanfare surrounded its release. To celebrate the release of Star Wars almost one year ago, Wilco treated us with a new track, titled “Locator”, yesterday on July 15th. It’s available as a free download on www.wilcoworld.net. The band haven’t announced plans for a tenth studio album recently, so this new tune comes out of the blue.

“Locator” is a musically minimalistic track. It clocks in at just over two minutes, so it’s a short tune, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. This track features loose and gangly guitar strums, simple percussive beats, and an eccentric synthesizer paired with some dissonant guitar chords. The vocal harmonies in the verses add a nice touch, as they introduce the buildup of musical intensity as the track continues. Undoubtedly, the best part of “Locator” is undoubtedly the “high, high, high, high…” in the chorus, chanted with paradoxical exigency and relaxation in the same vein. By the first chorus, the ominous tone of “Locator” isn’t nearly as prominent, but by the second chorus, you can almost feel the peril. The instrumentation is at its highest peak of complexity, and the vocals sound more urgent than ever. However, the track closes in a rather laid-back fashion, as it returns to the stripped-down instrumentation that’s present at the start. As the tune fades to an end, you can hear the discordant musical arrangement just beneath the surface, a possible sign of the truly dark temper that “Locator” emphasizes.

Overall, I really like “Locator”. As a surprise track to celebrate Star Wars’ one year anniversary, I think it’s a great gift to the fans. I’m impressed with Wilco’s ability to balance two different moods in the same track—in this case, tranquility and despair. The instrumentation here solidly achieves this musical equilibrium.

If you’d like to hear “Locator” for yourself, check it out on YouTube below, or stream it through Spotify.

Tiny Desk Concert with Wilco.

~ Nastassia

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