Wilco Releases Surprise Free Album and Calls It ‘Star Wars’

Brand grab at its finest

Wilco surprised fans last night by releasing its ninth studio album as a free download, but what's more interesting is what they called it: Star Wars.

The 11-track album marks the band's first effort since 2011's The Whole Love. Star Wars will be free for the next 30 days through the band's site as well as iTunes, Amazon and Google. The album will also be offered up for streaming on Apple Music, Rdio and Spotify.

"Why release an album this way, and why make it free?" asked Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy on the band's Instagram account. "Well, the biggest reason, and I'm not sure we even need any others, is that it felt like it would be fun. What's more fun than a surprise?"

The album cover depicts a blinking white cat in front of a vase of flowers, and the font used for the words "Star Wars" is starkly different from the typography of the George Lucas space saga. Beyond a brand grab, which is leading to stellar search results today, there is no apparent connection to the highly anticipated science-fiction reboot set for this winter.

A Disney rep did not respond when asked for comment.

Earlier this week, GQ unveiled its August cover with comedian Amy Schumer dressed as Princess Leia in suggestive poses with C3PO and R2D2. "Lucasfilm and Disney didn't approve, participate in or condone the inappropriate use of our characters in this manner," wrote the official Star Wars Twitter account in response to some angry tweets.