This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
I have a ridiculous theory: This, not Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, is actually the album that Wilco sent to their record label in order to get out of their contract.
No, I don’t have any evidence — but it sure would make sense. I can easily imagine record company suits turning up their top-40 noses at Chelsea Walls, an experimental soundtrack featuring solo music by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. They might not be alone: Tweedy’s hypnotic instrumental soundscapes — crash-’n’-bash drums, squealling guitars, post-rocky buzz and static — sure aren’t for the roots-rock crowd. Odds and ends like low-wattage Wilco leftovers and a soulful cover of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy by singer Jimmy Scott break up the weirdness. But not enough to change my impression that Chelsea Walls is Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s shy, artsier little brother.