“Reckoner” – Radiohead – “In Rainbows” (2007)

Jan 7
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands, UK

Thom sounds like he is on the edge of the world – maybe between worlds. That’s part of the allure of Radiohead, I guess, that ability to make music that is lyrically rich yet enigmatic wrapped around transcendent beats and instrumentation. I admit that I have under appreciated this album over the years. I usually get my Radiohead fix thanks to “The Bends” or “OK Computer” but when I looked at my weekly dance card and saw that I had penciled these guys in, I listened to “In Rainbows” first. That was a terrific decision on my part. The real sweet spot of this album exists between tracks 7-9 (“Reckoner,” “House of Cards,” “Jigsaw Falling Into Place”).

This is the first Tuesday of the year, and so this is my opportunity to announce the format going forward. I HATE TUESDAYS. Wait, that’s too strong. I strongly dislike Tuesdays. If Monday is the day of new beginnings for something that will last for seven days, Tuesday is kind of a come down. It doesn’t feel fresh. It’s dishearteningly far from the weekend. And, there’s nothing good on TV (There’s really nothing on TV any day, or like days and their relationship to TV really matters anymore). I still don’t like Tuesday though so I’ve decided to have this be the day that I play something on Play On Daily that makes me feel good.

Comfort Food or the musical version of it. That’s what I’m using Tuesdays for. Tuesdays are reserved for the stuff that is the spine of my library. Something to tide me over and get me through to hump day.

– DAVE

“There, There” – Radiohead – “Hail to the Thief” (2003)

Nov 29
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands, UK

I’m still not totally diggin’ “The King of Limbs.” Maybe I’m not as tried and true a Radiohead fan as I thought I was… can I take a cue from Thom Yorke himself who was asked by Stephen Colbert something along the lines of “how is that you’ve created such a devoted fan base?” Thom’s answer, “we have no idea.” And then to create a little more distance for me personally, I have checked the band’s website at least weekly, and when I’ve really had too much time on my hands I’ve checked daily, only to find no upcoming tour dates. So, now I’m not totally enamored with their new stuff, and I feel jilted at the fact that they haven’t turned their tour bus in my direction.

Today, upon further googling, there it is a truncated set of dates early next year throughout the southern states from Florida to Arizona. I got really excited for a second and almost (and still might) buy a ticket for the March 15th show in Glendale, Arizona. But, I’m still not totally in love with the new stuff so maybe I should just stay home and rent “Meeting People is Easy.”

– DAVE

“The Tourist” – Sarah Jarosz – “Follow Me Down” (2011)

Aug 30
Posted by admin Filed in Bluegrass

Last spring, I made a comment in a post about a cover of a Radiohead song that I heard by a young and talented, Grammy nominated performer. About a month later, Sarah Jarosz’s sophomore album was released, and there it was, track # 8 “The Tourist” which was originally part of Radiohead’s “OK Computer.” I guess it’s kind of shifting too much attention to the cover as the rest of Jarosz’s album lives up to the expectations that I’m sure many people had, but apparently I’ve got a soft spot for Radiohead covers. First, it was Duncan Sheik, then Gillian Welch, and now this.

The songs are vintage, cloudy, unsettled, unfit for mass consumption Radiohead songs. Each of the performers can genuinely play from the same murky, human places that most Radiohead songs come from which gives everything a good mesh. It’s not too late to play the two Sarah Jarosz albums front to back and engrave them into your memory, catch a show or two and say you’ve been there from the beginning. If you like your twang a little more pointed towards alt-bluegrass, give Ms. Jarosz a shot. Those Radiohead guys aren’t too bad either.

– DAVE

“Black Star” – Gillian Welch

Jul 12
Posted by admin Filed in Girls Rule

Gillian Welch covering Radiohead. Sometime we do get our cake, and we get to eat it too.

One of my top ten favorite songs ever, is “Fake Plastic Trees” by, of course, none other that Radiohead. But, for as emotionally exhausting, and perfectly crafted – pure art – as the original is, there’s a cover version that I like almost as much. It’s the Duncan Sheik version that I posted on this here blog back on December 18th of last year. Sheik doesn’t really even do anything with it. He just lays it down in a form very similar to the original. But Sheik is a pretty phenomenal dude in his own right, and he can pull off great musical feats such as this.

Ms. Welch, on the other hand, takes “Black Star” strips off a few layers, adds a skosh of twang, and stellar accompaniment from her trusty sidekick David Rawlings, and there you have it another sublime Radiohead cover.

Blame it on the black star
Blame it on the falling sky
Blame it on the satellite that beams me home

Gillian Welch will be in Seattle tomorrow, Vancouver, BC on Friday, and Olympia on Saturday giving the lucky attendees a first live listen of her brand new album’s (“The Harrow and the Harvest”) contents.

– DAVE

“Nude” – Radiohead – “In Rainbows” (2007)

Apr 17
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands, UK

I heard a sort of unplugged, whole grain version of a an old Radiohead song today by an up and coming American artist. I’m not going to give it away (do you know who it is?) because I’m saving it for a future post. I’ll give you a couple hints. She was Grammy nominated for a song off of her debut album. I’m ready to be impressed for whoever gets the answer.

In the mean time, I’m listening to a bunch of Radiohead tonight and have managed to divert myself from posting yet another song by The Kills. I keep looking for tour dates from Thom and the boys. I saw them the last time around, and will do my level best to show up again this year. Speaking of concerts, I decided today that I need to do a better job of reviewing concerts and giving more feedback about bands and venues. I think that a five star rating system, based on some landmark shows that I’ve seen, would suffice which would go a little something like this:

5 Stars – Earth, Wind & Fire when I was in 8th grade. Heart when I was in 8th grade. Van Halen with Diamond Dave when I was a junior in high school. Radiohead when I was 43 years old.
4 Stars – Elvis Costello & The Attractions last show ever in the US with the Attractions which was in the Mercer Arena, and up and comers who aren’t burned out yet (The Head and the Heart, The Heavy, Snow Patrol seven years ago)
3 Stars – Big budget shows where you get what you expected (Green Day, Muse, Foo Fighters), and fave bands that didn’t quite live up to expectations (The Dears, Metric)
2 Stars – Do you think that you guys could take less than five minutes to tune your guitars and stand around doing nothing between songs, I mean I love your music but you’ve got about as much stage presence as Clarence Thomas. Yes, I’m talking to you Modest Mouse.
1 Star – I’m glad that there were other bands that I wanted to see that night because 30 Seconds to Mars could have sucked a golf ball through a garden hose with all of their suckness.

The three shows that I’m going to in the near future and will be in need of a review are: Bomba Estereo, The Head and the Heart, and The Kills.

Back to Radiohead. Like I said about a month ago when The King of Limbs came out, don’t forget about the rest of the catalog.

– DAVE

“Backdrifts” – Radiohead – “Hail to the Thief” (2003)

Feb 19
Posted by admin Filed in UK

The new Radiohead album, “The King of Limbs” was released a day early and has been in circulation for almost two full days now. I have only heard snippets so far and no full songs but I like what I hear. That being said, I’m quite reluctant to set aside the rest of my Radiohead collection. It’s kind of like when the new baby comes home from the hospital and everyone forgets that the other two kids, and the long forgotten canine still exist as oxygen consuming organisms. Friends of Radiohead’s previously spawned work, I implore you to not neglect those songs that have been here for you and have lullabied you to sleep for all of these years.

I’m on my second full listen of “Hail to the Thief” for the day, and it’s keeping me quite content in the interim as I wait for the baby to come home from the hospital…. I admit it, I’m excited for the new edition. HTTT really is a strong record though. To the casual listener, there aren’t many Radiohead songs that you’ve heard before on this album, meaning that the serious Radiohead fan who digs the album, has a good chance of hearing an HTTT song in concert.

It was mid-February three years ago that I sat with an itchy trigger finger at 9:55 AM on a Saturday waiting for Radiohead tickets for the August White River show to go on sale (Like a lot of places in mid-February and like this song, Seattle’s atmosphere is thick, gray, unsettled, and sort of neurotic). I was quick enough on the draw and immensely enjoyed the show on a rainy late-summer night. I’ve been looking on a daily basis for tour news in support of “The King of Limbs.” How about it guys? The Pacific Northwest is lovely in late summer / early fall.

– DAVE

“Fake Plastic Trees” – Duncan Sheik – “At The Reservoir” (1997)

Dec 18
Posted by admin Filed in Rock Bands, UK

Long ago, I subconsciously applied a rule for posting Radiohead songs that matches the band’s setlists. Radiohead is known to almost never play its singles in concert. I suppose that’s kind of a dumb rule to apply to my playlist since “Fake Plastic Trees” is one of my favorite songs of all time and I should be playing what I like, right?

Anyways, I found a loop hole around my flimsy attempt at a rule, and I’ve only posted one other Radiohead song in a year and a half so it’s about time to add a little more coverage to one of my favorite bands. I’ve decided to post Duncan Sheik’s stellar rendition of the song. I figure that by posting a cover version, I’m not breaking my rulle. Sheik’s re-work captures all of the sorrow and regret of the original albeit slightly less electric.

The unfulfilled promise of a lifetime wasted is richly conveyed through every note of this song. These aren’t old folks though. Young lives settling for easily attainable horizons and subordinating personal desires to the tastes of the masses are essentially lives lost in the telling of this song. The last phrase of the verses tells the tale of this song.

it wears me out

The statement is uttered four times. It is delivered as a statement almost as if read from a fortune cookie. Then again in submission. Then tried on for size to see if it fits. And finally accepted as reality.

– DAVE