A few weeks ago, we reported on new developments with dad-rock heroes Wilco in the classic TMT Style™ (Yes, it’s so classic, we trademarked it). Jeff Tweedy responded in bombast to us, the short-yet-terse message you may have seen at the bottom of this very page’s random quote generator. Yet he did so not because he was hurt, but because he realized that deep down in the cockles of his heart, he might not be cool anymore. And placating the Schreibster and his droogs can only get a man so far before he just looks ridiculous.
But Mr. Tweedy realized that merely lashing out at a music website that does not accept bribes (except from Nigerian generals and Chinese counterfeit manufacturers) would not be enough to ease his worried heart. As I have stated to Less… err, Ms. Feist at one point, output matters. And when it comes to maintaining the good graces of the critical echo chamber that this website bounces off of while wearing an unbound straitjacket, making something interesting counts. So Mr. Tweedy mumbled and grumbled around the backyard of his suburban Chicagoland home with his pet duck, trying to figure out some way to keep things interesting, disregarding his upcoming album with Wilco, The Whole Love, completely in the process.
He sought out inspiration from his favorite band, Deerhoof, which he squees over every time they go on tour. Then he saw his sons Spencer and Sam jamming along to Deerhoof’s new album, Deerhoof vs. Evil (TMT Review), an advance copy he got personally from Greg Saunier. And just as he was about to raise his voice to remind them not to steal his “special” records, it dawned on him.
“Why don’t I just create an experimental band with my boys? They’re good, I think…”
Thus, The Raccoonists were born. Inspired by the very album that his sons stole from him, Mr. Tweedy gave Mr. Saunier a call to collaborate. Mr. Saunier, too nervous/scared to ask Mr. Tweedy how he got his number the third time, accepted the invite. Consequently, Deerhoof sans Satomi Matsuzaki (sending her to see her folks after talking to Jay Ferrar one too many times) joined The Raccoonists in the studio for a session or two, mostly filled with Mr. Tweedy gushing about their style for absolutely no reason and Saunier. The result was Behold a Raccoon in the Darkness, a split 7-inch now available for preorder for an October 11 release on Polyvinyl. On one side, Mr. Tweedy takes over Matsuzaki on vox for his take of “Behold a Marvel in the Darkness” from the aforementioned Deerhoof album, which the band begrudgingly admits was inspired by the man himself. On the other, he and his sons perform a new song, “Own It.”
Of course, this being Jeff Tweedy, he saw the great potential in expanding the Wilco Empire with The Raccoonists, perhaps as a vehicle to still look cool to the music critics after two decades in the music business, perhaps as a means for his sons to become the late greats that his father once tried to be. Probably both in a fusion resembling a metastatic tumor.