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Thread: Radiohead!

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    Database Jedi MattR's Avatar
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    Radiohead!

    It is out today. All I can say, after listening to it is "Holy Mackeral!!"

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    Yeah, but is it better than Kid A?
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    I believe you have my stapler. scrubz's Avatar
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    Is it the same type of thing as Kid A, or their stuff before Kid A, or completely different?

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    Database Jedi MattR's Avatar
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    It is along the same lines of Kid A but I think it is better. A review I found:

    01. Packt Like Sardines In A Crushed Tin Box
    (3:57) Lyrics
    From Jam!: What sounds like tribal drumming alternates with vintage drum-machine blips, as they collide in cut-and-paste fashion. An austere start.

    Review from SXSW by Allstar: "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box" kicked off the session with a trippy, dance backbeat and a pounding kettle drum (or, perhaps, drummer Phil Selway was literally banging on a kitchen pot). Yorke's vocal was mostly distorted throughout the track, weaving in and out of indistinguishable (in this setting, at least) sampled vocals.

    There is a reference to this title here.

    02. Pyramid Song
    (4:49) Lyrics
    This song debuted at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in 1999 with Thom solo on the piano. The running name for it at the time was "Nothing to Fear." It has since been called "Egyptian Song" and finally "Pyramid Song."

    From Jam!: It begins with simple piano and singer Thom Yorke intoning non-verbal, falsetto noise, against what sounds like the buzz of conversation. An assortment of sounds plays out in the background as jazzy drumming joins the mix and the track builds to a more conventional, full arrangement. "There was nothing left to fear/Nothing dark," Yorke (apparently) sings.

    Review from SXSW by Allstar: "Pyramid Song" creeped up next, as a piano-laden intro quickly gave way to a minor howl from Yorke. A lush and stormy backing track persevered throughout, giving off the impression that the band is symbolically lost at sea. When the drums kicked in, the song almost became a big band-era jam (more on that later). As the crowd at Plush became lost in the track (many folks were seen with their eyes shut, as if in some sort of trance), a large, overpowering orchestral crescendo rose and fell, bolting those lost in the music back to reality that this is Austin, Texas, not a Pentecostal sermon.

    03. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors
    (4:07) Lyrics
    From Jam!: Stop-start, bass-heavy sounds (perhaps a lingering manifestation of Yorke's collaborations with DJ Shadow?) and elevator pings form the backdrop as an electronically distorted, sped-up voice free-associates on the topic of doors. Video-game sound effects rise and descend throughout. More sonic experiment than song, this is perhaps the strangest track on either "Amnesiac" or "Kid A." Certainly it bears the strangest title -- that isn't a typo.

    04. You and Whose Army?
    (3:10) Lyrics
    This song premiered during the Kid A tour 2000 and was a crowd favorite. It featured Thom sitting at piano and Colin playing an upright bass. Towards the end of the song, the full band comes in and the song really takes off. The version that was played at the Sundance Festival is indeed the studio version that will appear on Amnesiac.

    From Jam!: Here's a novelty: guitars! Yorke's voice is pushed way up front, and the track begins with him loudly inhaling. The full band gradually joins the mix, and it all ends with an almost gospelly, piano-led denouement. The lyrics, which seem to taunt authority into cracking down on the rabble, could have been given a completely different meaning had they been set to more triumphant music. (You can practically hear Bono delivering a song like this without a shred of irony). But here, Yorke sounds defeated, as if even he's not confident that an insurgency would succeed.

    Review from SXSW by Allstar: "You and Whose Army?" slightly recalled OK Computer in that Yorke's yearning vocal cry of "Come on, Come on, Come on…" repeated over and over somehow felt a tad like "Karma Police." A crunching organ and string section drives the track, which falls under lilting and poetic.

    05. I Might Be Wrong
    (4:51) Lyrics
    One word: Rawk!

    From Jam!: The song is set to a satisfying, snarling guitar figure and a driving, skipping beat, but the vocals are smeared in echo and difficult to detect. Superficially, the message is optimistic, but the music is so sinister, you can't help but wonder if we're not supposed to trust the hedonism advocated in the lyrics -- hence, the song's title.
    There's an interlude in the record here -- a complex drum-machine pattern, a rumbling bass-line and Yorke's falsetto voice floating over top -- but it's not clear whether it is part of "I Might Be Wrong" or the next track. Either way, it is completely parenthetical to both songs.

    Review from SXSW by Allstar: "I Might Be Wrong" then seemingly came out of left field, with its bouncing, blues guitar intro and almost country-western feel. Heads were bobbing and feet tapping at Plush for the first time during the session, and had it not been so crowded, some interpretative dancing may have broken out as well. The tune, an interesting and expertly executed clash of creaky, American roots rock and U.K.-based indie dance, ended before the dust had even cleared.

    06. Knives Out
    (4:15) Lyrics
    We first heard this song at the band's first webcast in 1999. Thom has introduced the song live as being about cannibalism.

    From Jam!: The most conventional performance on either "Kid A" or "Amnesiac." Graceful guitar arpeggios and, by Radiohead standards, a straightforward, full-group performance. Expect this one to be the U.S. label's choice for first single.

    07. Amnesiac/Morning Bell
    (3:14) Lyrics
    Why is "Morning Bell" on Amnesiac when it was on Kid A? Thom says that the song is "barely recognisable" and that it "sounds like 'Tales Of The Unexpected.'"

    Phil hinted on XFM recently that it is indeed the same "Morning Bell" from Kid A but "not as groovy" and very "atmospheric."

    From Jam!: A radically reconsidered version of one of "Kid A's" stand-out songs. Gone is the piano-driven shuffle, replaced by a dirgey, slow strum, although Yorke's lyrics and melody remain essentially the same.

    08. Dollars & Cents
    (4:52) Lyrics
    The band played this one a lot while on tour last year.

    From Jam!: One of the tracks premiered on the band's brief touring duties behind "Kid A," the recorded version seems less lurchy than the live rendition. A string section rises and falls behind Yorke's vocals, occasionally overpowering his singing, while the rhythm section hammers out a tricky time-signature. It peaks with Yorke's most impassioned vocal and then breaks down to guitar, cymbals and synth squelches.

    Review from SXSW by Allstar: A busy, cymbal-driven intro spilled out next as "Dollars and Cents" rode a wave of outlandish instrumentation in the same vein as Kid A, if not harsher. Standing out above the sonic mess, however, was Yorke's bird-like call, which wailed throughout.

    09. Hunting Bears
    (2:00)
    Search parts of radiohead.com and you'll find references to hunting bears and pictures of the infamous "test bear" that has now become the band's unofficial logo.

    From Jam!: No vocals. A harsh, distorted guitar plucks out a few tentative notes, which turns into what sounds like a tape-loop of the same sound in repetition. Whooshing sounds -- like ocean waves or distant passing traffic -- and the amplified sound of fingers scraping down guitar strings, joined by subtle electric piano. Weird.

    10. Like Spinning Plates
    (3:57) Lyrics
    There are various references to this song at radiohead.com.

    From Jam!: Machine-gun quick, turntable-scratch-like noises, and what sounds like backwards guitar notes define the rhythm, while Yorke's voice sounds distorted, like the creepy dwarf from "Twin Peaks." Is it about the hubbub of a musician's lifestyle finally starting to wind down to a more manageable pace? Or is the spinning plate Yorke sings about actually the fragile balance of the world about to come crashing down?

    11. Life In A Glass House
    (4:35) Lyrics
    Ah, the closing song... "Life in a Glass House" is an old song that the band has used to soundcheck with. It even appears on Meeting People Is Easy. As mentioned above in the Introduction, Veteran jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton makes an appearance on this song. Here's a snip from a recent Q interview with Lyttleton:



    "They went through a few nervous breakdowns during the course of it all, just through trying to explain to us what they wanted." While thoroughly exhausted by the seven-hour session, Lyttleton was full of praise for the band and their enigmatic singer and lyricist. "The words were very surreal, rather like Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade Of Pale," he says. "I think Thom's are slightly better, but they're coming from the same sort of area."

    From Jam!: Radiohead takes on traditional New Orleans jazz, complete with unfocused horns, boozy rhythm, and Yorke wailing the modern blues. At once the most conventional song on the album and the damnedest thing on it.

    Review from SXSW by Allstar: Last but certainly not least was "Life in a Glass House," another surprise from a band from which nothing seems surprising anymore. Beginning with an atmospheric loop and clanging church-like bells, the song quickly morphed into a New Orleans-style, big-band rumpshaker. Fueled by a horn section that included a clarinet, a trumpet, a trombone, and who knows what else, "Glass House" would have served well as a time-travelers glimpse into the Third Millennium during a 1930s Mardi Gras ball.


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