Daily Distraction: Listen to Lambchop cover Wilco

Joel Oliphint

Wilco closes its 2002 masterpiece, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, with the album's longest and arguably prettiest song, "Reservations." On a forthcoming covers EP, TRIP (Merge Records), Lambchop puts its own spin on the tune, nearly doubling the 7-and-a-half-minute runtime of the original version in a loose, spacious sendup.

For more than half of the song, Lampchop's members linger on single piano notes, decaying synths and atmospheric drones, all interspersed with shuffling drums and muffled cymbals. It's a freeform take on Jeff Tweedy's idea, but there's a warm continuity to it. Read what Lambchop drummer and "electronics guru" Matthew McCaughan had to say about picking the song, then give it a listen below.

I’d like to say that Wilco’s “Reservations” is a song I’ve always wanted to cover. But honestly, after a friend had mentioned it in a story, I had to go back and give it another listen. Picking out a cover is stressful for me. It’s kind of a dumb thing to stress about, but so many songs have memories tied to them, and I don’t want to cloud those memories. I usually pick one of those songs that I feel would fit the band, but then I go back and forth, wondering the best way to approach the arrangement. Should we honor the original and try to faithfully re-create all the sounds and performances that make the song special to me, or should we take it apart and start over? Then, add in the fact that the cover would be recorded and preserved forever. I could not think of one song that I couldn’t make an argument for both approaches, so it always ends in a one-person stalemate. So I decided I would pick a song that, while I love it, and know it, it wasn’t one that had been on repeat for months at some point in my life, nor was it one that is permanently tied to some memory of my own. Instead, I used my family’s and friends’ collections and recollections with and without their permission. That way I’d just ruin it for them. But it’s the thought that counts.