Album review: Wilco’s ‘Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014’

Matt Wardlaw

Four stars

Wilco Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014

Celebrating 20 years as a band this year, Wilco recently dropped a pair of legacy releases, one compiling fan favorites and the other a box set of rarities. Of the two, Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 will be of prime interest for hardcore followers, bringing together 67 tracks that account for nearly every song released on radio promo releases, import singles, soundtracks, bonus tracks and tribute albums.

Track by track details from Jeff Tweedy—longtime leader, vocalist and creative mastermind for the group—tell tales of the artistic struggles that kept some of the songs off of the albums. “Don’t You Honey Me” was one of those troubled tracks, banished to a mid-’90s promo-only EP because “everyone in the band had voiced some serious disdain about the track,” according to Tweedy, which was disappointing to him, because he really loved it. Alpha reveals that Wilco has certainly evolved, from the barroom country sounds heard in the demo of “Passenger Side” to the more polished and refined version that eventually emerged as the years progressed. If you’ve got all of the albums, this set is an essential addition that completes the storyline.

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