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For the past few years, avant-jazz legend Nels Cline (Wilco, Thurston Moore, The Geraldine Fibbers) and omnipresent beat freak Zach Hill (Hella, The Ladies, Team Sleep) have been waiting for an opportunity to spend a few hours making noise. When Cline joined Wilco full-time and Hill started The Ladies with Pinback’s Rob Crow, the dream seemed increasingly unlikely. And by the time Hill’s full-time gig as half of Hella saw him touring arenas with modern rock staples like System of a Down, the dream seemed dead. But through a bit of careful planning and a whole lot of serendipity, Wilco had a day off in Chicago the same day that Hill was in town. Recorded and mixed in one day at Semaphore Studios in Chicago, IL, the four pieces on ‘Distressed’ are entirely improvised, with a little post-production editing courtesy of Cline’s former Geraldine Fibbers partner, Carla Bozulich. Sitting somewhere between the most abstract freak-outs of Wilco’s more recent material and the looser, more minimalist moments of Hella, Damsel exhibits a surprising amount of control over its chaos.

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