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Dairy State's take on Wilco's Summerteeth
is anything but cheese

Various Artists - Wisco: A Tribute To Wilco's Summerteeth
(Muzzle of Bees music blog)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 17, 2010

Review by Tony Bonyata

Now here's a true homegrown Wisconsin music project if there was one. Madison-based Ryan Matteson who runs the popular music blog Muzzle of Bees, has assembled a talented cast of Badger State musicians and bands to recreate a song-for-song compilation of Wilco's 1999 Summerteeth album, aptly titled Wisco: A Tribute To Wilco's Summerteeth. Never mind that Wilco are from Chicago and not Wisconsin, they've got a long and loyal fanbase throughout the state, and, heck, even the cover of their self-titled album from last year was shot outside of Milwaukee's renowned German restaurant Mader's, so that's gotta count for something.

While Summerteeth may not have been Wilco's most popular album, with its more direct pop-leanings and downplay of their alt-country roots, it, nonetheless, remains the favorite for many fans (myself included). Apparently Matteson felt as strongly about the record as well, deciding to bring together 15 of his favorite Dairy State music acts to pay homage.

The digital album opens with a fantastic cover of "Can't Stand It" by Milwaukee's Invade Rome, followed by other upbeat takes of "A Shot In The Arm" (Madison's The Selfish Gene), "Summerteeth" (Surgeons In Heat) and the poppier numbers "I'm Always In Love" (Milwaukee's The Celebrated Workingman) and "Candyfloss" (Chris DeMay with Edward Burch). But it's some of the album's more subdued tracks that make this effort soar. Milwaukee's Decibully turns in a passionate and lovely take on "We're Just Friends," and one of the few acts not from Milwaukee or Madison, Eau Claire's The Daredevil Christopher Wright deliver a hauntingly beautiful acapella version of "In A Future Age." The band Juniper Tar also turns in a great version of Wilco's dark murder ballad "Via Chicago," and while it's a faithful cover they manage to add just enough of their own unique signature to the track.

Muzzle of Bees is offering this 15-song digital album as a free download on their website, but are also encouraging donations in any amount to go to the Wisconson Humane Society.

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