Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Radiohead: In Rainbows

A two-part post...

The Experiment: Radiohead, the band commonly considered to be the greatest to ever grace the sweet grass of planet earth (according to most music junkies I know anyways), made a landmark move today within the music business. They decided to take their new record and release it themselves (since they are free of label contracts) and make it available for download via their website only, and allow you to pay as much or a little as you want for it. Free? Sure, if you want to. I doubt they're the first band to come up with this idea, but they're the first on their level of popularity and artistry to do it. I heard on the radio this morning that their last few records sold upwards of 200K copies during the first week. Who knows how this record will fare in comparison without the push of a major label, but I must admit that the marketing appeals to me deeply, and is a demonstration of real faith in their fans, some of whom may pay 50 dollars but many of whom will take it for free I'd imagine. I love it. I hope that the band decides to release the sales revenue data, because this is an experiment that could really change how music is bought and sold for big artists at the end of their contracts.

The Music: A few of you who know my taste in music know that Radiohead completely lost me after OK Computer. That was a great album, without a doubt, certainly one of that decade's finest, but I was left to just raise my eyebrows and mutter, "I just don't get it" during all of the Kid A and Amnesiac hoopla. I still follow what they do with mild curiosity, but am not one of their devout disciples who feels they can do no wrong. So when I downloaded In Rainbows today (for 2.5 pounds = $6.00 USD including debit card fee) I wasn't sure what I was in for. Maybe I'm just having a good day, but I've listened to it twice, and I actually really like the album. Some songs I would even say I love (Nude, Reckoner, House of Cards). Sheesh. What's a proud indifferent-to-Radiohead guy to do? There's a track or two I don't care for (Bodysnatchers), and I still wish I could tell what Thom was singing, but other that this is an extremely strong record.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Playlist IV: Octoburn

1. Peter and the Wolf - The Highway: This is from one of my favorite albums of 2006. I think I may have a weakness for songs about roads.

2. Johnny Cash - I See a Darkness: Cash's rendition of this Bonnie "Prince" Billy masterpeice is better than the original. Probably the greatest "buddy" song ever written. "...and light it up forever, and never go to sleep. My best unbeaten brother, this isn't all I see."

3. Beach House - Apple Orchard: Lots of indie praise for this one. Minimal and beautiful. I nice way to slip into our Fall clothing.

4. Randy Newman - Sail Away: From Newman's album of the same name, which becomes more relevent as time goes by. Gus likes to bop his head to Randy's music.

5. Jens Lekman - At the Dept. of Forgotten Songs: What is really going on up there in Sweden, can anybody tell me? All these crazy amazing musicians coming down from the north. Ya' suspect.

6. Ron Sexsmith - These Days: Love him. I bought "Blue Boy" the day it came out not knowing anything about him, just because I loved the cover art and saw it was produced by Steve Earle. I heard NPR describe him as the musician all other musicians admire, but who no one wants to be (due to lack of comercial success).

7. Low - Breaker: I wasn't coverted to Low until this year when I saw Alan Sparhawk's Take Away Show. He is the real deal.

8. Jaymay - What Happened: Not John Mayer, btw. I came across her about 5 years ago I think. Still haven't heard much from her, but her stuff is nice.

9. Elvis Perkins - While You Were Sleeping: I'm gonna be mad if this was inspired by the movie. His album Ash Wednesday has been a real slow grower on me this year. This is one of the better tracks.

10. Patty Griffin - Moon River: Petite redhead with sharp features and a voice that breaks the earth. She is capable of anything. Love this cover.