Posts Tagged ‘Radiohead’

The new Radiohead

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

A couple days ago I finally downloaded the new Radiohead album, In Rainbows. I still haven’t quite figured out what I think about their distribution method (if you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, they are offering the album as a download and allowing fans to pay whatever they want for it; a CD release isn’t coming until next year). I decided to pay… nothing. I feel okay about that for a couple reasons: point one, these are 160kbps MP3s we’re talking about here, not lossless files or even VBR MP3s; and that ties into point two, that if I like this I’ll probably go ahead and pay for the CD when it comes out. Also, these guys make a shitload of money anyway and since I have the option, I’d rather invest my music budget into bands that lose money with every record and play in shitty holes in the wall for 5 fans at a time.

Kick over any given virtual rock on the Internet and you’ll find a debate about this innovation in music distribution, so I won’t get into that here. Regarding the music itself, well, it’s okay. I probably like it more than anything they’ve done since Kid A, so that’s great, but I’m not exactly blown away. As a tangent, I find it really amusing the way that Pitchfork likes to verbally fellate this band to a ridiculous extent, giving the album a 9.3 (I honestly thought they were going to give it a 10.0 even before they ever heard it) and running like five or six news articles and full-length features about the album, in addition to the review. Sometimes that website is just absurd. In any case, In Rainbows is definitely a solid effort, if a surprisingly chilled-out one, and I’m looking forward to listening to it some more. I don’t think it’ll ever rate the equivalent of a 9.3 on my scale, though. That’s what, a Gnosis 14? No, I expect this one’s more like a strong 10.

Maybe the most fun thing about this sucker is that there’s no cover art provided, so fans have taken it upon themselves to make their own. Here’s a place with a ton of covers, some of which are really, really great. But my choice for easily the best of the bunch is this one:

What’s spinning, individual songs edition

Tuesday, January 15th, 2002

Something a bit different: songs (as opposed to albums) that I’m digging.

  • Aksak Maboul, “Palmiers en Pots” (from Un Peu de l’Ame des Bandits)
  • Biota, “Reckoning Falls” (from Object Holder)
  • The Coup, “Hip 2 Tha Skeme” (from Genocide & Juice)
  • DJ Shadow, “Midnight in a Perfect World” (from Endtroducing…)
  • Explosions in the Sky, “Have You Passed Through This Night” (from Those Who Tell the Truth…)
  • 5uu’s, “Noah’s Flame” (from Abandonship)
  • The Gathering, “Morphia’s Waltz” (from if_then_else)
  • Mr. Bungle, “Desert Search for a Techno Allah” (from Disco Volante)
  • Mogwai, “Dial:Revenge” (from Rock Action)
  • Nathaniel Merriweather, “Book of the Month” (from Lovage)
  • NeBeLNeST, “Stimpy Bar” (from Nova Express)

I saw a bunch of movies over Christmas break. One of them was Vanilla Sky. I enjoyed it until the awfully hackneyed sci-fi plot twists during the latter part, which sort of reminded me of Brazil but with a cheesy pseudo-happy-ending. However, I thought the soundtrack was awesome. Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place” couldn’t have been used more effectively, and the three Sigur Rós songs were also very well-placed. I recognized a couple other pieces too, but couldn’t name them. Good stuff.

Procrastinating with music

Tuesday, December 18th, 2001

It is now 4:45 am. I’m currently sitting at a computer lab computer trying to bang out a 20-page paper in one day and one night. I’ve been listening to music on headphones using the computer’s CD-ROM drive. I have no idea what the sound card and audio hardware on this machine is, but something weird is going on with it. When I listen to my music, especially CDs with strong stereo separation, certain parts of the mix get highlighted whereas others go really quiet. I’m hearing percussion in some songs on Kid A that I’ve never heard before, for instance. On the one hand, this is sort of annoying, but on the other, it’s actually kind of enlightening. Either way, though, it’s distracting me from the work I should be doing. Hmm.

My primary form of procrastination has been the popmatters.com reviews archive - I’ve found some pretty interesting stuff in there. Like, for instance, the only really really negative review of Mogwai’s My Father My King that I’ve yet read. Or, a review of a Sigur Rós concert that I think captures the awe and wonder of a good live show by that band - yeah, it’s gushingly positive and over the top, but that’s appropriate, I think. Or maybe my opinion of Sigur Rós is just way overinflated (but I knew that already). There’s also weird stuff like the statement that Sunny Day Real Estate’s The Rising Tide “would have been right at home alongside classic albums by Rush, Marillion or Kansas.” Umm… maybe. But not really.

Hehe: the new Pitchfork review of Radiohead’s I Might Be Wrong makes a point - over and over again - of calling the album an EP. A little bitter?

What’s spinning, May 18 edition

Friday, May 18th, 2001

Okay, my impatient readers: here’s an update.

In case my mysterious and virtually total absence from various music-related boards wasn’t enough of a clue, I’ve been away from the music scene for a bit. Oh, I’ve been listening to tons and tons of good music, but I haven’t been buying much, and I haven’t been writing about it much. This is mostly because I’ve finally immersed myself in photography, as I have wanted to do for some time. While it hasn’t replaced music as my consuming passion, it has left a bit less time and far less money for music.

In any case, a list of stuff I’ve been listening to a lot for the past month or so:

  • Arise From Thorns - Before an Audience of Stars
    Acoustic gothic-styled rock with pleasant female vox. Pretty nice stuff; lots of acoustic guitar, which I like, and a dark, moody atmosphere, which I also like. The whole thing is sort of on the level, with few peaks and troughs, but there are a few gorgeous acoustic guitar solos and some cool lyrics.
  • Einstürzende Neubauten - Silence is Sexy
    Still spinning a lot. What a great album, man. See below for comments. I find myself singing the ridiculously catchy “Dingsaller” refrain to myself a lot.
  • Garmarna - God’s Musicians
    Rockified Scandinavian folk music - pretty nifty stuff. I will now demonstrate my utter lack of knowledge about European world/folk music by saying that when I first heard these guys, they reminded me of Capercaillie, the band that plays rockified Celtic music. I was introduced to them by a friend at Yale, who played me a couple tracks from Vengeance, which is next on my list.
  • Karnataka - The Storm
    Sort of like a modern adult contemporary band with good female vox and lots of guitar solos. At their best, they write stuff that’s on par with the most beautiful pieces by, say, October Project. Unfortunately the album is quite uneven, with the best stuff at the beginning and end. Nevertheless, I like it.
  • Colin Masson - Isle of Eight
    Three really long compositions, almost completely instrumental and almost all of it played by multi-instrumentalist Masson. A lot like Mike Oldfield, but with more of an emphasis on the guitar work (mostly electric, with some nice acoustic parts). The textures are cool, with good variation in the thematic material. When the female vox kick in things get much simpler, but at least those parts are quite catchy. A pleasant surprise.
  • Radiohead - Kid A
    I listened to it a bit when I first got it and liked what I heard; now, listening more closely, I still like what I hear. “Idioteque” reminds me strongly of Squarepusher, but then that’s about all the experience I have with that sort of beat-driven music. The opening track couldn’t be more perfect.
  • A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone…
    This took much longer to grow on me than Godspeed You Black Emperor! albums, but it’s now one of my favorites. Wistfully beautiful stuff, and perfect for road trips or train rides.
  • Spaced Out - Spaced Out
    Fusion. Not my cup of tea, in general - the stuff tends too much towards soloing without much melody. But there’s definitely some good music on this album, particularly the bass playing which is showy and fun. Fusion fans should definitely get a kick out of this one.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of various MP3s. A few Outkast tracks that have convinced me that I need an Outkast album, now. More Garmarna, most of which I actually like better than the stuff on the album of theirs I have. Some tracks from the album of remixed Sigur Rós songs, some of which are really cool and some of which suck a fat one. Univers Zero “Central Belgium in the Dark”, from the Crawling Wind EP - ah, classic stuff from one of my all-time favorite bands.

Stumbled across Brendon Rapp’s music blog. Some interesting reading there. Hi *Legion*.

They say money’s the root of all evil but I can’t tell
You know what I mean - pesos, francs, yens, cowrie shells, dollar bills
Or is it the mind state that’s ill
Creating crime rates to fill the new prisons they build
Over money and religion there’s more blood to spill
The wounds of slaves in cotton fields that never heal
What’s the deal?
Black Star, “Thieves in the Night”

Mos Def, whatever I might think of his solo album, writes some damn fine lyrics. The Black Star album - his collaboration with Talib Kweli - is masterful.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer is dominating the list of “top ten most visited reviews” on the stats page, with no other band having more than one album on the list. Blah. I hate those guys. They’re just so bad. Arr.