dBpm Records

Much like subversive Spanish artist Joan Cornellà, whose illustration adorns the cover of Wilco’s 10th album, the alternative rockers from Chicago have always coloured their work with a blackest-of-black humour. Schmilco was born out of the same recording sessions as last year’s surprise self-released Star Wars , a playful psych-indie album that Wilco gave away for free, but sees songwriter Jeff Tweedy & Co return to his music-for-misfits folk roots. Described by the band as “joyously negative”, the album revels in sweet melancholy, from the opening track, Normal American Kids (“I always hated those normal American kids”), Tweedy’s wry look at the worries of his younger self, to the glorious Common Sense, which rattles along with a hypnotic gentleness. Happiness is perfectly ironic in its title (“Happiness depends on who you blame”), the vocalist’s weary delivery adding to the mellowness of the acoustic melodies. “I just had a lot of fun being sour about the things that upset me,” says Tweedy, and Schmilco certainly makes for a fun listen.