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Archive for the ‘Thom Yorke’ Category

[POSTPONED: June 8, 2020] EOB [moved to June 11, 2021]

indexI used to be the kind of fan who would listen to anything that a band member released (blame Kiss for that four solo albums stunt back in the 70s).

But not every solo project is worthwhile.  And some of these solo shows are even more heavily attended than the main band.

So I didn’t really need to see Thom Yorke on his solo outings.  But the new EOB album sounds really good (from what I’ve heard of it).  I’d be curious to see what the third best known member of Radiohead was like live.  I’m not certain I was going to go to this, but it was certainly intriguing.

I do hope the tour gets rescheduled.

UPDATE: This is the first show that has been rescheduled to a new date on which I already have tickets to a rescheduled show.  Now, do I want to see EOB or King’s X?

 

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SOUNDTRACK: RADIOHEAD PUBLIC LIBRARY (2020).

Today, Radiohead changed their website to the Radiohead Public Library.  About which they state:

Radiohead.com has always been a) infuriatingly uninformative and b) surprising. The most surprising thing to do next, therefore, is to suddenly become incredibly informative. So that is what we have done. We present: the RADIOHEAD PUBLIC LIBRARY, an online resource containing videos, music, artwork, websites, merchandise, and assorted ephemera.

As a librarian, I love that this is what they are calling the site, and I love the idea that they will single handedly get the word library into many many search engines.

So what is it?

Well, really it’s kind of a tumbler page, meaning it is weird and chaotic and hard to find things (very much unlike a library).  But there is a vaguely chronological format (color coded).

But like at a library, you can find links to work that has been historically tough to find online.

You can also register for a library card.  The card is a downloadable image file where you can attach a photo of yourself (and then laminate it, of course).  I was kind of bummed that my number was so high (I’m in the 102,000 range), but I didn’t look at the site until late in the day. And actually I’m pretty thrilled that at least 100,000 people had visited the site before me.  Unless these numbers are randomized, of course.

The library contains he band’s albums, B-sides, non-LP tracks, behind-the-scenes photos, TV appearances, promotional performances, webcasts, full-length concerts (2006 and 2012 Bonnaroo) , a store with newly reissued T-shirts and lots of Stanley Donwood’s artwork.

I suppose most Radiohead die hard fans have all of this stuff already, but it sounds like they have updated the quality of a lot of the works.  Plus, it’s fun having it all in one place.

Also, Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Philip Selway, and Thom Yorke will each serve as a “librarian” for a day.

Get your library card now!

[READ: January 14, 2020] “Visitor”

The narrator explains that a visitor showed up in his doorstep about a month after his father’s funeral. He had flown in from Kingston, Jamaica.  He told the narrator that he was the narrator’s father’s lover.

The narrator said no way but agreed to let the man in.

The visitor was Asian (lots of Chinese in Jamaica, he said).  His boots were too big, his pants were too tight.  The visitor began to tell him things about his father that checked out.  He hated reggae, couldn’t cook and didn’t have a favoirte color.  Eventually he said “your father and I were just kids.  Lasted five years, on and off.” (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THOM YORKE-“Volk” (2018).

A lot of the music I listen to is weird and probably creepy to other people, but I don’t necessarily think of songs as appropriate for Halloween or not.  So for this year’s Ghost Box stories, I consulted an “expert”: The Esquire list of Halloween songs you’ll play all year long.  The list has 45 songs–most of which I do not like.  So I picked 11 of them to post about.

I knew that Thom Yorke had scored the soundtrack to the film Suspirira.  I didn’t know that the film was a remake, or that the band Goblin scored the original or even what the film is about.

Esquire said that Yorke’s “Suspirium” was the creepy Halloween song from the record, but I don’t find it any more creepy than any Radiohead song–his vocals are so unmistakable that it’s all Radiohead to me.  However, this instrumental later in the soundtrack is definitely a creepy piece of music.

It opens with synthy twinkling that sounds more like scraping metal. Then a thin echoing synth melody takes off.  The sound of that melody morphs and shifts, growing louder and quieter and changing shape before returning to that original sound again.  After two minutes splashes of discordant keyboard sounds pop in and turn into various other sounds.

The song continues to move forward with a slow bass and atmospheric sounds.  It starts to get more tense around the four minute mark as more jagged sounds stab the air.  At nearly five minutes, drums come out of nowhere.  They lend a beat to the sounds, but the beat is frenetic and as unsettling as anything else and it just adds to the cacophony.

Then at around 5:45 everything abruptly gets turned off and sharply fades out except for some echoing sounds.

It seems over but for the last 30 seconds a pulsing wall of loud grunting seems to slowly creep out of the silence.

Shudder.

[READ: October 18, 2019] “Bayou de la Mère”

Just in time for Halloween, from the people who brought me The Short Story Advent Calendar and The Ghost Box. and Ghost Box II. comes Ghost Box III.

This is once again a nifty little box (with a magnetic opening and a ribbon) which contains 11 stories for Halloween.  It is lovingly described thusly:

Oh god, it’s right behind me, isn’t it? There’s no use trying to run from Ghost Box III, the terrifying conclusion to our series of limited-edition horror box sets edited and introduced by Patton Oswalt.

There is no explicit “order” to these books; however, I’m going to read in the order they were stacked.

I am familiar with Poppy Z. Brite, although I’m not sure exactly how.  Perhaps I am just familiar with the name because it is so unusual.  (It’s a pseudonym of course).

I always assumed Poppy was a woman, but indeed, Poppy is a man.

This story is also not particularly scary.  It is more of a story about the relentless hands of religion–which can indeed be scary. (more…)

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92000SOUNDTRACK: U.N.K.L.E.-“Ar.Mour” (2019).

armourHaving learned that U.N.K.L.E. had not only been making music all of these years but even put out a new album this year, I thought I’d listen to something new and see what it was like.

I chose “Ar.Mour” because James Lavelle described it as a sci-fi beat jam.  It features vocals from Elliott Power and Miink.

A pulsing beat opens this five minute song.  Some deep echoing drums come in and slowly add tension and then after about a minute the slow trip-hop drum beat begins. Then a simple guitar line comes in and around two minutes voices swirl up from underneath.  There is definite sci-fi feel to the song.

The song seems to fade out around 2 and half minutes before picking up again and just when you think the whole song is an instrumental the vocals come in.  There’s a deep voice followed by a repeating higher voice.  Then there’s a rap.  All of the voices are enveloped in a soft echo, making the words hard to hear.

The end of the song has a catchy vocal melody as the whole song builds with all of the parts melding together.

[READ: September 1, 2019] “Nelson and Annabelle” (Part 2)

I’m still not sure if this is a two-part, long short story or if it is an excerpt from a novel.

What was kind of strange was that this whole story was utterly chock full of details as if it were a novel, and yet the ending just sped through and finished up with a kind of epilogue tacked on.

This part starts at Thanksgiving dinner.  Nelson has invited Annabelle to his mother’s house for dinner with the family.  The family includes his mother’s new(ish) husband Ronnie and a bunch of Ronnie’s closest relations.

The conversation is cordial until they start talking politics.  Everybody hates Clinton and they are angry that Hillary might run for office in New York.  It was not enjoyable rehashing the political arguments from twenty years ago, but I was fascinated at how much the things they said about him could easily be applied to trump and I wondered if these fictional people were now pro- or anti- trump.

…he lied to us, the American people.  He said it right out on television….

…he’s a draft dodger.  If I were a soldier I’d tell him to stuff his orders….

He makes me ashamed of being an American he makes America look ridiculous.  Drowning us in sleaze and then flying around all over the world as if nothing whatsoever has happened. Its so brazen.

He makes Nixon look like a saint.  At least Nixon had the decency to get out of our faces.  He could feel shame.

Its the sleaze. What are children supposed to think.  What do you tell the Boy Scouts?

As people get drunker, Ronnie, who has been against Annabelle since she showed up tells her to her face that “You’re your mother’s daughter alright… She’d fuck anybody…  It must feel funny being the illegitimate daughter of hooer and a bum.”

Nelson takes Annabelle and leaves the house and swears he will never set foot in it again.

Next we met one of Nelson’s oldest friends, Billy.  Billy is now an oral surgeon and very rich.  He calls up Nelson and invites him out for dinner to catch up. They have a nice time so when New Year’s Eve comes around–the Y2K New Years–Nelson invites Billy out with him and Annabelle.

Also in town are Nelson’s ex-wife, Pru, and their son.  Their daughter, who is 20, decided to go somewhere else with her boyfriend.  Nelson is bummed about the visit.  He wanted to see his daughter and he imagined that they would all stay with him.

Pru is pleased that he finally moved out of his parents house (the two of them lived in his parents’ house when they were married), but she doesn’t want to stay in his new cramped place.

For New Years Eve, Nelson Pru and Billy plan to go out.  Nelson invites Annabelle to come with them–what else is she doing?

They go for dinner (Billy uses his pull as a n oral surgeon to get them a seat at a crowded restaurant) and a movie.  They see American Beauty and have lots to say about it–it’s fascinating how racist and homophobic these men are.

Annabelle and Billy hit it off.  Nelson didn’t intend for that to happen, but it did.  In fact, in the car, it sounds like maybe he can hear the zipper of her dress being undone a little.

They decide to spend the last minutes of 1999 at a club.  But as they head downtown, the streetlights go out.  Is it a terrorist attack (in central Pennsylvania?)

With the traffic lights out, Nelson thinks people will take turns through the intersection.  But when a jerk in an SUV tries to cut him off, Nelson guns it, making the SUV screech to a halt.

For the first time all night Pru is really nice to him, “Oh honey, that was great, the way you made that asshole chicken out.  I think I wet my pants.”  As they drive further Pru whispers that she might stay at his place tonight after all.

The epilogue is satisfying, if you care about these characters.  Which I kind of do.  I definitely wonder if there’s more to their story or if this was just Updike’s way of capping off the full Rabbit saga

 

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10222000SOUNDTRACK: U.N.K.L.E.–“Rabbit in Your Headlights” (1998).

unkleI was looking for a “rabbit” song to include with this story and I remembered this one from U.N.K.L.E., an album I had completely forgotten about.

In fact, I had forgotten all about U.N.K.L.E. and was surprised to read that not only was the album Psyence Fiction not a one off, but that he (James Lavelle) has been releasing music up until now.

A slow, mournful piano plays a two chord melody as Thom Yorke sings his best Thom Yorke.  Thumping electronic drums slowly build from nothing and then a spare bass line which seems to circle the piano is added.

After two minutes, the music drops out leaving just a piano and a spoken middle section.  The drums slowly build back and then Yorke begins singing again. As Yorke’s voice soars and soars the song feels like it’s going to end (at five minutes)  but it hits a crescendo moment and then drifts back in to a chill trip-hop beat as the noirish piano fades out.

This song came out after O.K. Computer but before Kid A, and the trip-hop beats sure nod to where Radiohead would be going.

I’m glad to know that trip- hop is still hanging in there and I’ll have to check out some of the other U.N.K.L.E. albums.

[READ: September 1, 2019] “Nelson and Annabelle” (Part 1)

I have never read any of John Updike’s “Rabbit” novels.  I always meant to.  In fact, I owned a copy of the Updike Rabbit book that was always remaindered.  But I wanted to start with the first one and just never got around to it.

I feel like now it’s too late to read them.  I imagine that the stories are retrograde and old -fashioned and that I won’t appreciate the protagonists or the attitudes.  In fact, this story, which I enjoyed parts of, has some pretty unpleasant attitudes about women.

I initially felt I would have enjoyed this story more had I read the Rabbit books since the subtitle here is “the two children of Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom meet at last.”  There’s a lot of character introduction in the beginning–ex-husbands, ex-wives, lovers, children.  But once it settled in, I found it interesting and then re-read the first two pages to get everything straightened out.

So, in brief, Harry (Rabbit) was married to Janice.  They had a son, Nelson.  Harry died and Janice married Ronnie. Ronnie knew Harry for most of his life, but they seem to be somewhat antagonistic.

This story opens with the new that Harry slept with a woman, Ruth, and maybe have been the father of Ruth’s daughter, Annabelle.  Turns out Ronnie also slept with Ruth (before Harry did) and Ronnie describes her as the Brewer town whore.  Harry had also slept with Ronnie’s first wife (there’s a lot of convoluted infidelity going on). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 11, 2018] Radiohead

I remember hearing “Creep” when it first came out and really liking it.  And I remember thinking that Radiohead would be a fun grunge band to follow.  Well, that changed pretty quickly and soon enough Radiohead released “Paranoid Android,” and I couldn’t stop listening to the song and the album.

Then, by making deliberately quirky and somewhat hard to fathom albums, Radiohead became the biggest band in the world.

Their live shows were supposed to be spectacular.  But I had never managed to go.  They played Madison Square Garden in 2016 and the tickets sold out so fast it was a trending topic.   Previously, they had played NY and Philly back in 2012, but I wasn’t as fully cognizant of concerts then like I am now.

So, when they announced a brief tour of the States, I tried, once again, to get tickets through the proper channels (with the understanding that they were trying to control bots and scalpers).

Tickets for Philly went on sale first and I couldn’t believe that I got one!  The seat was close but on the side of the stage.  But who cared?  It was Radiohead.

When MSG tickets went on sale I wanted to see if I could do better.  And I scored a floor seat, general admission!  I nearly passed out. (more…)

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fragile SOUNDTRACK: ATOMS FOR PEACE-“What the Eyeballs Did” (2013)

afpThis is a secret track that you can download from the Atoms for Peace website (well some people can, I don’t seem to be able to) or you can listen to it on NPR.

Atoms for Peace is Thom York’s band (with Flea from RHCP on bass). This song sounds a lot like Radiohead.  So much so that it could easily be a Radiohead song (one of those newer more electronic ones).  The bass is cool and while Flea does a great job playing it, it sees like it should be a little dull for him to play a rather repetitive bit over and over.

And yet the song works very well in the electronic, claustrophobic way that Yorke has.

I love just about anything that Yorke and Co do, and I like this as well, it just doesn’t seem all that much different–why not use Flea for all of his manic intensity?

[READ: April 1, 2013] Fragile Acts

After yesterday’s poetry book, I wasn’t quite prepared for this one.  Zubair Ahmed is a young writer (a wunderkind as he is described).  Allan Peterson is a much older writer.  He is retired and has clearly had a lot more experiences from which to draw.  I also found his poems to be much more profound and lyrical, much more beautiful and evocative.

Yes, it could be because his poems are longer (that’s a terrible quality to judge a poem by, and it’s certainly not always true, but those shorty ones do tend to lack a bit of substance).  Of course, the poems that were really long (he had three that were multi-part and multi-page) didn’t hold together all that well for me.  So length doesn’t have much to do with it.

Many of these poems were amazing and they really reminded me of what good poetry can do.  Poetry that is not just a sentence with line breaks, poetry that doesn’t call out to be read in a sing-song voice.  To the point: poetry that sings on its own. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: New Moon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2010).

Back in the 90s, it seemed like every week there was a new soundtrack featuring an unreleased song from some great alt rock band.  This meant huge sales for soundtracks, even if for the most part they weren’t solid start to finish.  In fact, mostly you got three great new songs, three pieces of rubbish, one great song by a band you’d never heard before and two or three okay tracks.

The inclusion of a new Death Cab for Cutie song was the big news about this soundtrack.  And overall, the reviews were positive.  And I’m pleased to say there aren’t really any horrible songs here.  (I have no idea how the soundtrack fits in with the movie as I haven’t seen it and probably never will).

But as with that old soundtrack formula: we get a few good songs by reasonably well-known bands: Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Bon Iver & St, Vincent, Muse, Grizzly Bear.  And then there’s a whole bunch of good rock songs.  The disc plays as something of a sampler of downcast, mellow alt rock. In fact, the back half of the disc sounds like a pretty decent alt rock radio station from the last decade or so.

Some of the tracks even sound like 90s alt tracks (Hurricane Bells, that song is 16 years old right?  And Sea Wolf, you’re channeling Peter Murphy, I know.)  The final two tracks are okay.  The Editors is kind of a Nick Cave via Joy Division sorta spoken word ballad.  And I admit I’m a little disappointed in the Lykke Li track–they got hyped beyond their ability.  The final track is a piano score, which is fine.

The biggest surprise to me is how much that Death Cab for Cutie songs sounds like a Rush song.  I’ve never considered that the bands sound anything alike before, and yet from the moment the song opens, that could be Geddy Lee singing, and that whole guitar structure is very Rush-like.  Maybe they should do a cover of it.

[READ: April 20, 2010] Maps and Legends

This is a collection of 17 non-fiction pieces by Michael Chabon.  The pieces cover everything from book reviews, essays about reading and writing, comic book and comic book artists and golems.

The opening essay is about the modern short story and it sets the tone for the entire book.  Interestingly, this essay talks about the state of entertainment and how “Entertainment has a bad name.  Serious people learn to mistrust and revile it.  The word wears spandex, pasties, a leisure suit studded with blinking lights. (13).  This very topic is at the heart of the David Lipsky/David Foster Wallace book (and in fact Chabon is mentioned in that book as well.)  Ah, serendipity. (more…)

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