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Thom Yorke's solo project "The Eraser"
June 2, 2006 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Thom Yorke's solo project "The Eraser." Listen to three tracks, hear from Stanley Donwood on the artwork, read the Rolling Stone interview, check out the early reviews.
posted by JPowers (74 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The links Attoms For Peace, Harrowdown Hill, and Cymbal Rush are not currently working. You tease.
posted by sequential at 12:16 PM on June 2, 2006


It seems York is relying on an underground music craze tha was popular four or five years ago. People have moved on from glitch. It's so 2002.
posted by vansly at 12:20 PM on June 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Damn! Damn! Damn! They worked for me just a few hours ago -- I've even got them going on my iPod. Oh well, I guess there's always this option (only until the album is actually released, of course).
posted by JPowers at 12:21 PM on June 2, 2006


Here's something else to play around with: "The Eraser's" official site.
posted by JPowers at 12:27 PM on June 2, 2006


It seems York is relying on an underground music craze tha was popular four or five years ago. People have moved on from glitch. It's so 2002.

Fortunately, good music is timeless, whereas snarky comments age like anchovies in the sun.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:35 PM on June 2, 2006


Sheesh, it only leaked on Tuesday.
posted by jokeefe at 12:38 PM on June 2, 2006


Shame they have disappeared, but the entry sounds promising nonetheless. The album has leaked, but at a low quality, so I guess I'll wait until July 10th to pass my judgement.
posted by Acey at 12:39 PM on June 2, 2006


Clearly you have never tried sun-dried anchovies.
posted by sequential at 12:42 PM on June 2, 2006


The artwork for the album is amazing, btw. It's currently in exhibit at the Lazarides Gallery in Soho.
posted by jokeefe at 12:43 PM on June 2, 2006


People with more discerning ears than I say that wtr to the leak that you can hear how the watermark was ripped out of the files, so it's not a bad idea to wait for the official release, I suppose.
posted by jokeefe at 12:44 PM on June 2, 2006


Pepsi's solo project, the "Pepsi Blue"
posted by cellphone at 12:45 PM on June 2, 2006




Yeah, the full album leaked a few days ago. You can probably find it on the message board at At Ease. I really like the album; like Greenwood's Bodysong, it's a beautiful distillation of what Yorke brings to the band, but both albums make it obvious that Radiohead is a compound of multiple geniuses and that any one of them alone can't possibly pioneer new landscapes (and build kingdoms on them) the way Radiohead did in Kid A and Amnesiac.

It seems York is relying on an underground music craze tha was popular four or five years ago. People have moved on from glitch. It's so 2002.

"For it stands written in Fame's lexicon, that he who lets himself be whored by fashion will himself be whored by time." Thomas Wolfe
posted by bukharin at 12:45 PM on June 2, 2006


It's Bittorrented on, for instance, Mininova.

Personally I think it's a lovely album - a bit repetitive, drawing on a limited textural palette, but possessing the same desolate beauty of Kid A and Amnesiac. Indeed most of it sounds like demos for those two albums. I don't know what 'glitch' music is and am certain I don't care; I'd be stunned if there were a half-dozen male singers in rock or pop with voices as magnificently off as Yorke's, and he has an appealing songwriting sensibility, playing on some of the circularity of REM's balladry (cf. 'You Are the Everything' vs. say, 'Everything In Its Right Place'). The clarity of Yorke's singing on The Eraser is welcome as well; watching and hearing them live I've been disappointed in the past at how thin and strained his singing can be in concert (and by the end of the show I attended a few years ago his voice was an off-key train wreck).

Interesting that in the Yorke interview he claims that 'Disappear' is his favourite song from that batch - at the time there was talk that he'd tried to exclude it entirely from the album, on the grounds that it sounded like, and I quote, 'old Radiohead.' A little revisionist history mayhaps? No matter.
posted by waxbanks at 12:49 PM on June 2, 2006


There's also kicking around, for those who are interested, a live version of the final track, 'Cymbal Rush', which was performed by Thom and Jonny at the May 1st Friends of the Earth Benefit at Koko in London. Check the atease multimedia forum, it shouldn't be too hard to find.
posted by jokeefe at 12:50 PM on June 2, 2006


you can hear how the watermark was ripped out of the files

They do sound much, much worse than 192 kbps AAC files should.
posted by Zozo at 12:52 PM on June 2, 2006


I got a torrent the other day. (Hello RIAA!) I liked it. It's no Radiohead, but then, it says it's not Radiohead, so BFD.

I think he went with minimalist glitch because it's a) something he likes b)something he could do himself and c)emphasizes his voice, which is his greatest asset.
posted by fungible at 12:53 PM on June 2, 2006


Apparently NOT a "solo".
posted by numlok at 12:55 PM on June 2, 2006




The version I got was very fine quality, no stain from the watermark. Check the Atease boards.
posted by bukharin at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2006


I like the album, but it definitely doesn't match the quality of Radiohead as a full band. I just love to think of the possibilities that could have happened had the rest of the band had input on the tracks.

That said, it's missing the "serene-ness" that captured Kid A/Amnesiac.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:58 PM on June 2, 2006


It's a bit whinier than usual RH, but not bad.
Songs are a bit longer than they need to be.

But better than alot of stuff out there.
posted by Espoo2 at 12:58 PM on June 2, 2006


I got a torrent the other day. (Hello RIAA!)

Uhh, released by an independent label.

Bombs away, right?
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:59 PM on June 2, 2006




had the rest of the band had input on the tracks.

Yeah, what if it had Colin's bass?

Hats off to Nigel Godrich's production job. His invisible hand is behind some of the major masterpieces of our time -- OK Computer, Kid A/Amnesiac, Beck's Mutations and Sea Change (and his new album releasing this fall, I hear).
posted by bukharin at 1:02 PM on June 2, 2006


Yeah, this album is all about his voice... it's less his Debut than his Medulla, where all the melody and drama of the record is found in the vocals. After the deliberate occlusion of the voice in Kid A and (to a lesser extent) Amnesiac, it's welcome to hear him not just recovering his voice, as on Hail to the Thief, but actively asserting it as his principle instrument. The textual sounds and electronics are background-- landscape and mood.

Just a pitch for anyone who hasn't heard them live and is in the States, in any of the cities where they are currently touring: half of what they do happens when they play live, and some of the most interesting things about their records are in their potentiality: what happens to, for example, a song like I Might Be Wrong when it hits the stage. So, uh, go and see them.

I would love to see what the full band would make of Harrodown Hill, myself. Let Jonny loose on the guitar parts. I think it would be thrilling.
posted by jokeefe at 1:03 PM on June 2, 2006




Absolutely right about the "potentiality" being the interesting part of the records, jokeefe. Hail to the Thief got much more complicated and interesting live, especially songs like the Gloaming. I was in the pit at Madison Square Garden in October 2003 -- such an experience can't be described, but it felt more like an exorcism or a rally than a mere concert, like they were harnessing old-world, supernal powers the profane world long ago cast aside.
posted by bukharin at 1:07 PM on June 2, 2006


alt.binaries.sounds.mp3, posted today.
posted by emelenjr at 1:10 PM on June 2, 2006


I quite like these new songs; not as classic as the usual RH, but solid melodies. Better than the caliber of the songs they're currently touring for their next record, but those are in an early state. (I'll be at the Boston shows - ) I'm relatively unimpressed with the lyrics; it seems like Thom spent less time hammering his free associations into cohesive lyrics, which gives it a teenage journal quality.

Espoo2: Thom's voice has been steadily getting thinner and whinier over the years (due to aging and wear, no doubt), so expect this from the new RH record too. Back in the OK Computer era and before, his actual timbre wasn't really at all whiny, so those who accused him of that were probably just referring to his style. Now, the complaint is more legitimate.
posted by abcde at 1:51 PM on June 2, 2006


I like this album a lot. I don't find Thom's voice "whiny" -- it has a yearning in it that is somehow both soft and hard, perfect for this historical moment, with none of the twee faux naiveté of the Devandroids and none of the fake-butch toughness of a million other rock singers. It feels authentic, a vehicle of expression and discovery rather than a compendium of mannerisms.

And I'll take that glitch snark head on: I've listened to many albums by Fennesz and Pole, who are pioneers of the genre, and I think that Radiohead, Yorke alone, and, for that matter, David Sylvian do it better. The start of Radiohead's "The Gloaming" swings harder than anything on a Pole album, and I love Yorke's incorporation of glitchy sounds on "The Clock" on The Eraser. (For me, Sylvian's "The Only Daughter" on Blemish remains the masterpiece of original incorporation of glitch influence into a deeply personal style.)

I generally don't take musical observations seriously from people who say things like "It's so 2002." That generally means that their taste was shallow in 2002 and is shallow now, but the shallowness of now hasn't yet reached its sell-by date.
posted by digaman at 1:59 PM on June 2, 2006


This is a cool album, doesn't match up to Radiohead's full band efforts, but doesn't have to. It survives on its own and is good stuff.
posted by cell divide at 2:01 PM on June 2, 2006


I can hear the focus much more on his balladry and vox, but I can't help but put my ear towards the accompanying production... specifically of the first song. It's a bit neurotic (as is just about all of his songs) in its percussion, but the low bit adjusted keyboard harmony is just sweet, warm, distorted goodness.
posted by blastrid at 2:06 PM on June 2, 2006


man. this record it really good. I've listened to it straight through a few times.

i recognize a lot of the sampled bits on it as pieces from Radiohead songs and somehow that really works for me.

I am, as always, left wondering by a lot of the comments... I prefer to take each bit of music all on its own and see what it has for me rather than classify and compare everything.

This record has a lot of stuff for me... This and the Fiest and Broken Social Scene boots that I've been listening to for weeks are pretty much the only new stuff that I've been loving.

It's good.
posted by n9 at 2:12 PM on June 2, 2006


Besides glitch was popularized in 1994, not 2002. Oval's Do While and Mouse on Mars's Subnubus are the tracks that come to mind. Get with it.
posted by n9 at 2:16 PM on June 2, 2006


I was in the pit at Madison Square Garden in October 2003 -- such an experience can't be described, but it felt more like an exorcism or a rally than a mere concert, like they were harnessing old-world, supernal powers the profane world long ago cast aside.

I just got back from the UK shows, some of which were transcendental (Blackpool 1, for instance). I can't improve on what you wrote above, other than to agree. Yeah. For a while you feel at the centre of the turning roiling world.
posted by jokeefe at 2:29 PM on June 2, 2006


Just a pitch for anyone who hasn't heard them live and is in the States, in any of the cities where they are currently touring

Ha! Those shows are sold out six ways to Sunday (except for the appearance at Boonnaroo... Or however you spell it).

I'm so happy I was able to get W.A.S.T.E. presale tickets to both nights in Chicago. Woo. Can't wait.

As for the album... I like it. It's not a major event the way anything radiohead's done since The Bends has been... But it's quite enjoyable in its own way. I do kinda like the live version of Cymbal Rush from the Koko beneift show a bit more than the studio version. Jonny's ondes martenot on it makes it a bit spacier and more ethereal in a way I find neat.

Good on Thom for doing it. Atease has a a transcript of an interview Thom did for Rollingstone recently that discusses the album quite a bit.

Regarding How To Disappear... I wouldn't call it revisionist history so much as the persepctive on your work that only time provides. However, I'm not sure where you heard that about him trying to keep it off. I've heard that he was very stridently against doing much that sounded like "old radiohead," but I've also heard an interview with him around when Kid A dropped where he praises the track quite highly as far as it feeling right the way it was.

Feelings about your own work can be ... complicated, and fluctuate over time. I'd chalk things up to that more than revisionism.
posted by sparkletone at 2:40 PM on June 2, 2006


I just saw Radiohead last night in Philadelphia. OMG - this has GOT to be the best live band in rock & roll today, and I've seen a few in my time.

Been listening to The Eraser for the past few days - the atease link seemed to provide a fairly perfect 192K MP3 version, and it sounds quite lovely (the scratchiness of some of the instrumentation seems engineered, Thom is known to like wacky timbres). Of COURSE it's not Radiohead, it's Thom Yorke, dammit. That said, the tracks do indeed sound like they could have fit right into the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions.

It's funny to read the comments about Thom's voice - I remember first hearing Creep on the radio back in the day, and definitely not liking it much at all. Years later, OK Computer fell into my CD player, and I was simply transfixed from Airbag on (and I'll cite "Fitter, Happier" as the exception - I've never had that track ripped, it's just unlistenable). When the song Let Down started playing, I thought I was listening to angels. I would agree that his voice has both good and bad days - welcome to the life of a singer - but overall, there's something so damned sincere about the way he puts himself into the music, and the particular mojo that happens when these guys play together.

This is the Beatles of the new generation, ye old classic rock folk, and I would like to think that John and George would really dig these guys. Paul seems to understand this band, as he had Nigel Godrich engineer his latest solo album (one of his better solo outings, IMO).

If Thom Yorke wants to put out an album of his musings, I'm all for it. Hell, I wish Radiohead would realize that certain fans like myself would be happy to pay them a monthly direct fee, to have access to ALL their experiments and studio noodling. Their worst stuff is better than, what, at least half of the other dreck that passes for modern music. You can keep your bubblegum dancers, your divas and derivative pop wankers, give me the political awareness and musical integrity of Thom and Radiohead any day.
posted by dbiedny at 2:40 PM on June 2, 2006


This is the Beatles of the new generation, ye old classic rock folk, and I would like to think that John and George would really dig these guys. Paul seems to understand this band, as he had Nigel Godrich engineer his latest solo album (one of his better solo outings, IMO).

I remember reading that in 2003, Glastonbury turned down Paul McCartney for radiohead. They'd scheduled them to headline whichever night, and Paul said he'd play on the condition that he could headline that night, and the Glastonbury people passed.

I saw them at Alpine Valley in 2003. In interviews around the HTTT tour, Ed commented several times that they "had a bit of swagger to them." That effortless self-assurance in their performances, the feeling of seeing one of the best bands in the world at the top of their game... The transcendent music. It made me feel like I was getting to see something on the order of catching Led Zeppelin in their prime.

As to the new radiohead songs... I like them, even the sketchy ones (Go Slowly, a couple others) ... They feel much stronger to me than the songs that were played in Spain and Portugal when the band was road-testing material for the last album.

So, uh, yeah. Like I said above. I'm a little excited about the 19th and 20th. I might get to be in the room when a new song's debuted. Woo.
posted by sparkletone at 3:25 PM on June 2, 2006


Ha! Those shows are sold out six ways to Sunday

Well.... yeah, but there's often a way around that (and I don't mean eBay). The fan networks function amazingly well: there were people showing up on the afternoon of the London shows and managing to find tickets-- from people who couldn't use theirs, or because they were able to pick up returns that were released from the box office just before the show (not to mention that sporadically there would be tickets put on sale through Ticketmaster in the hours and days before shows as well). Just to say, don't take "sold out" at face value. If you're determined, there's often a way.

How Waste handled the pre-sale, on the other hand, is a whole other topic-- server meltdowns, North American tickets going on sale at 3:19 a.m. local time, about-faces on the procedures for will call tickets, etcetera. But never mind.

Sorry, that's all off-topic, but they're a fantastic, fantastic live band, and I would urge anyone to make the effort to catch them if you can.
posted by jokeefe at 4:08 PM on June 2, 2006


The version I got was very fine quality, no stain from the watermark. Check the Atease boards.
posted by bukharin


I did grab the copy that went up on atease (or rather, that was linked on atease; the site itself had nothing to do with the leak) a few hours after it showed up, and to my ears it sounds just fine, as well.

And sparkletone, your memory is correct: Eavis refused to bump RH for McCartney in 2003.
posted by jokeefe at 4:18 PM on June 2, 2006


I'll never get Radiohead, and going by the fervour in this thread I'm almost sad about that. (To my ears, they're a pastiche of, rather than influenced by, the music they're into. And because they're obviously a very talented bunch, it's as if something is stopping them from cutting loose and really going for it.)
posted by jack_mo at 5:50 PM on June 2, 2006


Coming back to this thread, I'm utterly shocked by the lack of haters. Where's the guy telling me my favorite band's lead singer's solo album sucks?
posted by fungible at 6:05 PM on June 2, 2006


it felt more like an exorcism or a rally than a mere concert, like they were harnessing old-world, supernal powers the profane world long ago cast aside.

That was really well said, bukharin.
posted by digaman at 7:13 PM on June 2, 2006


Well.... yeah, but there's often a way around that (and I don't mean eBay). The fan networks function amazingly well

In most cases, yes. But...

How Waste handled the pre-sale, on the other hand, is a whole other topic-- server meltdowns, North American tickets going on sale at 3:19 a.m. local time, about-faces on the procedures for will call tickets, etcetera. But never mind.

Bingo.

I never had any trouble with server meltdowns, and got in right when they went on sale this time. I've heard stories about big trouble on the sales for the HTTT tour.

This time, they went on sale at about 11 am .uk time. The site's run by Britons, and they've always done their presales on GMT, rather than, say, Eastern time.

I'd be curious to find out what happened with the will call procedures this time around. Something tells me they told everyone that you could transfer the tickets with a letter, etc., before they'd gotten the okay from all the venues, and some of them balked. Rather than have an inconsistent policy, my guess is they decided to not bother and just made it all the same.
posted by sparkletone at 7:50 PM on June 2, 2006


Tonight's set list kicked ass, btw. [/random]


Yeah, sparkletone, they were emailing people saying that you could, with proper permissions, transfer tickets to people other than the purchaser, which was good news for those of us who bought tickets for friends who didn't get a chance at the pre-sale (see above, North American tickets going on sale at 3:19 a.m. PST). So a lot of us bought for others, just as had been done for us for the European shows, and then we were told that only ticket purchasers with photo ID could pick the tickets up, and we all had three days to decide whether or not to return the tickets we'd bought if we ourselves weren't going to use them... It was a bit of a mess.
posted by jokeefe at 8:10 PM on June 2, 2006


Tonight's set list kicked ass, btw.

And how. I like There There as an opener more than You And Whose Army?, which they used for the last two or three shows. I think these first two USian setlists have been the best so far (in my opinion, and that's not to say there could really be a bad one).

The excitement, it grows.
posted by sparkletone at 8:17 PM on June 2, 2006


Yeah, opening with YAWA was totally unexpected in England; none of us could figure out why the piano was moved front and centre before the band came out. Usually the first song they play is something fiercer...

You're going to have a fantastic time, sparkletone. I just saw them play a bunch of times, but I'm still a little jealous of the people catching the American shows.
posted by jokeefe at 9:17 PM on June 2, 2006


I think YAWA would work approx. as well as The Gloaming did the few times it was used. YAWA's totally a weird, weird choice though.

It's sometimes nice to come out with something that's kind of a vaguely mellow mood-setter before really ripping into it. Kind of a "set 'em up, then really knock 'em down" thing. I thought Lucky worked wonderfully for that in some of the 97-98 bootlegs I've heard/seen.

I like There There so much as an opener because it does both. The moment the drums start, the tension goes through the roof, and the song stays rather mellow till finally freaking out at the guitar solo. Almost my favorite moment in the video of 2003's Glastonbury set is a quick shot of the audience towards the end of the song, and everyone you can see in the light from the stage is jumping up and down.

I had a great time seeing them in 2003, I think these shows will be even better (way better seats. I was lucky not to end up in the lawn at Alpine Valley. My seats were still pretty back there). Hard to be 4th row, then 9th row.
posted by sparkletone at 11:38 PM on June 2, 2006


I feel like adding at random that that week's going to be fairly nuts for concerts. The two radiohead shows, then, because I haven't gotten to see them in a year and they're one of my favorite bands, two Constantines shows (one in Detroit, one a couple nights later in Lansing).

That's going to be a good week.
posted by sparkletone at 11:45 PM on June 2, 2006


I saw them in 2004, and it was one of biggest disasters of my life.

The gig itself was spectacular, but Thom lost his voice throughout the show. I went by myself, and my RH loving sister was going the next night, as were all my RH loving friends, but their show got cancelled, and I was stuck with having no-one at all to talk about it with! all my friends were heartbroken.

Bearing in mind they don't play near me that often - that was their first tour here since before OK Computer.

I haven't heard the new Thom Yorke stuff, but I'm desperate too... my internet suffered a glitch when I was trying the other day, and it wouldn't restart. :(
posted by jonathanstrange at 1:31 AM on June 3, 2006


I too am surprised by the lack of hatred. Maybe it's just a lack of jonmc?

The two radiohead shows, then, because I haven't gotten to see them in a year and they're one of my favorite bands, two Constantines shows (one in Detroit, one a couple nights later in Lansing).

That sounds sweet. I caught The Constantines last year in a tiny venue and they were great.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:03 AM on June 3, 2006


I haven't heard the new Thom Yorke stuff, but I'm desperate too... my internet suffered a glitch when I was trying the other day, and it wouldn't restart. :(

Ah, Australia. Yeah. It didn't help that they played Coachella a week later, I'm sure.

Email me if you're still stuck without a copy. I'm sure that I can help you find one commiserate with you.
posted by jokeefe at 8:51 AM on June 3, 2006


That sounds sweet. I caught The Constantines last year in a tiny venue and they were great.

I've seen them twice in small places (300 people type bar, and a similarly-sized room). They are too much fun in person to pass up, even when they all had a cold like they did the last time I saw them in October. These two shows are at similarly tiny venues. I'm glad I was able to make these shows, rather than trying to catch them in Chicago at whichever of the festivals it is they're playing. Festivals are nice and all, but tiny club shows are my preference every time.

I've even gotten to talk to all of them (advantage of being into small bands!) a couple times. They are the nicest bunch of Canadians one could hope to meet. I've even got a tambourine signed by all five of 'em.
posted by sparkletone at 9:50 AM on June 3, 2006


I don't want to sound too much like a hater, but I'm one of the few (on this thread at least) that can't get into new Radiohead at all. Believe me, I've tried. It's not easy being a pretty big music fan while not really giving a crap about the "only band that matters."

To tell you the truth, the only Radiohead record I really like is The Bends, where they sound kinda like U2, but awesome.
posted by Bizurke at 11:03 AM on June 3, 2006


They're not the only band that matters at all. And OK Computer is way better than The Bends.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:10 AM on June 3, 2006


If anyone doesn't have it and wants to listen to a full "evaluation copy," there's one on my (self-link) blog here.

But delete it after you're done, OK?
posted by klangklangston at 12:32 PM on June 3, 2006


They're not the only band that matters at all.

No, they're not. But they're certainly one of the number that do matter, at least to me... which I suppose is really what it comes down to, on some level. I listen to Radiohead the same way I listen to Strauss' Four Last Songs, or Sigur Ros, or Sarah Vaughn, or Marvin Gaye, or PJ Harvey or Debussy: with a feeling of deeply pleasurable connection. The fact that with RH this pleasure is all mixed up with their strangeness, and how absorbing all the intellectual layers of their projects are (ever dug through all the visual and literary references in Amnesiac?) keeps me fascinated. Of course the blow-the-roof-off live shows help, too.

Just thinking out loud, anyway. Trying to render explicable why I'd happily drop several grand on travelling to see a rock band play and enjoy every second of it, and never once think that I could be better off spending the money on, perhaps, a new bathroom sink or something. Which I also need. [/wanders off to apartmenttherapy.com]
posted by jokeefe at 3:09 PM on June 3, 2006




I'm actually one of the few (apparently) who thinks OK Computer is an overrated album compared to their other work. To me it feels like a transition between The Bends and Kid A. The first half is incredible, very moving, but I could never sit through the entire thing; I like that the other albums pack a neat punch, whereas OK Comp lacks a cohesion, as if they're playing out an older, limited form until it dies of exhaustion, trying desperately to break into something new (which they finally do, in Kid A). The Bends is kind of the apotheosis of rock as we knew it, Ok Computer... its fall from grace? Kid A warns us with metallic melodies of the coming era, before many of us realized it was happening ("this is really happening" / "we're not fear mongering" / "ice age coming"). Thom once said that he could always tell they were making good music when the music inspired good visual art... to me, Kid A / Amnesiac have such a fine sense of sonic texture that the albums are a kind of aural painting, drawing the listener, via synesthesia, through a wormhole in the media-matrix. Ok Computer feels still caught up in that matrix -- a protest against it, but an ineffectual one because it insists on staying within its boundaries. HTTT felt like another transition album, it had that meandering feel that Ok Computer has... so I'm looking forward to their next work to see if it breaks new ground.
posted by bukharin at 3:30 PM on June 3, 2006


To me it feels like a transition between The Bends and Kid A.

Well, I think that hindsight allows us to call it a transitional album after having heard Kid A, but I don't think it sounds like one. The Bends sounds transitional; it's a good 90s alt-rock/britpop record with a certain Radiohead flair to it, but I don't think it breaks away from the trends or really makes a very definitive statement.

Pretty much everything you're saying about OKC seems to me to apply much more to The Bends. I think OKC was quite cohesive and has a beautifully alien and complex sonic texture.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:22 PM on June 3, 2006



Well, there's a lot of room for subjectivity here, it boils down to individual taste, after all. It just always seemed to be that The Bends and Kid A had a much more well-defined sense of place in their aesthetic. Like I said, OKC feels like it's wearing out a form to the point of exhaustion -- as epic as it is, particularly Paranoid Android, it seems like it lacks an internal pressure, the way HTTT feels almost luxurious in its expansiveness, blowing off the excess capital of confirmed success. The OK Computer tour was a major turning point for the band, and nearly destroyed it. They seemed to be becoming increasingly dissatisfied with themselves and the material, which might have spurred Kid A / Amnesiac's radical left-turn. I could talk all day about this, but might as well just shutup and enjoy the music.
posted by bukharin at 7:28 PM on June 3, 2006


Bukharin— I agree with you completely. I didn't like The Bends when it came out, but I've come to realize that it's some of the finest power-pop around. OK Computer is OK, I guess, but I never listen to it, and I much much prefer Kid A, which I think has been their peak so far. Amnesiac and Hail to the Theif did nothing for me, there was nothing to excite me when I listened to them.
OK Computer is one of the most over-rated albums of the last 10 years, and Kid A is often really under-rated (arguably because the influences are really apparent, but I think they do good work with them. Someone who loves garage rock as much as I do can't really complain about derivative music).
posted by klangklangston at 7:01 AM on June 4, 2006


I'd say Kid A is pretty universally lauded. And The Bends isn't really power-pop at all.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:19 AM on June 4, 2006


I'd say that Kid A was widely reviled when it came out, despite selling well, mostly as people took swipes at it for Autechre-aping and Idioteque's shared songwriting credits. That, and a lot of people viewed it as a disappointment after OK Computer.
Further, if you can't see Just as power pop, you're working with the wrong definition.
posted by klangklangston at 8:04 AM on June 4, 2006


It's been awhile since Kid A has come out. It seems to me that it's been more than accepted into the critical canon, and so initial reactions to it aren't all that relevant.

I know what power pop means; The Bends is closer to power-pop than it is to, say, country or hip-hop, but it's still misleading and imprecise to refer to it that way. weezer and Green Day and Oasis were making power-pop in the 90s, Radiohead was not.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:14 AM on June 4, 2006


Bullshit. Blur, Oasis, Radiohead, Pulp... All made British power pop during the late 90s.
If you're going to dice, Oasis was Brit-Pop, Green Day was pop-punk, and Weezer was Emo.
posted by klangklangston at 8:29 AM on June 4, 2006


Oh come on, man. You can't get into a hair-splitting discussion about musical genres and then call weezer emo. weezer has never had anything to do with emo. Mixed-up people may have labelled Pinkerton emo after the fact, but those people were mixed-up. I was thinking of the blue album anyway. weezer certainly played power pop, and while Oasis and Green Day can both fit more snugly into other classifications, their music was way more power-pop than The Bends.

Anyway, whatever, call The Bends power-pop if you want. I just think it's sloppy and likely to confuse people who are used to hearing the term.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:37 AM on June 4, 2006


Also, Britpop (and emo, originally) referred more to a particular scene in a certain time and place than to a specific musical sound. There aren't really any contemporary Britpop or emo acts, although there are bands who were influenced by those movements. But power-pop was never that way, and there are lots of people who play power-pop now just like there were in previous decades; I think the New Pornographers are one of the best current examples.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:50 AM on June 4, 2006


Man, do you even read the links you give?
Weezer was definitely second-wave emo, which combined the post-hardcore DC sound with indie rock melodies. It's even, y'know, in that emo link.
The central thread of Brit Pop was that they were all power pop bands from England. Hence the emphasis on Weller's influence.
And that's leaving aside the fact that Wikipedia is not a definitive resource on this sort of thing. (Radiohead are even listed on the Wikipedia list of power pop bands).
Look, I've appreciated your attempts to clarify "indie" in the past, but for this one you're trying to argue from an utterly wrong-headed point of view (prescriptivist), and you're out of your depth due to an unnecessarily constrictive view of what genres actually mean.
Stop trying to be Geir Hongro.
posted by klangklangston at 10:37 AM on June 4, 2006


Stop comparing me to that douchebag, he doesn't know anything.

Yes, I read the articles. The only mention of weezer in the emo article says:

"Strangely, as "indie emo" became more widespread, a number of acts who otherwise would not have been considered part of the "indie emo" scene had their albums referred to as emo because of their similarity to the sound. The hallmark example was Weezer's 1996 album Pinkerton, which, in later years, was considered one of the defining "emo" records of the 90s."

I'm not going to get into a prescriptivist/descriptivist argument here, which is largely what this comes down to. weezer never had anything to do with the emo scene (or indie rock, for that matter). weezer didn't combine the post-hardcore sound with anything. You're totally talking out of your ass there. weezer is most assuredly a power-pop band who decided to get intimate on their second record. After lots of crappy pop-punk bands cited Pinkerton as an inspiration, people (like Rolling Stone) started referring to it as emo. It doesn't sound like the original emo bands and it doesn't even sound like Sunny Day Real Estate et al. It's just emotional, like a lot of music that has nothing to do with emo.

You can argue if you like that enough people refer to Pinkerton as emo to make it a valid usage; but as far as I'm concerned calling weezer an emo band is a sure sign that someone hasn't a clue what they're talking about.

Radiohead started off as a power-poppy band with Pablo Honey, and obviously by OK Computer they were no longer playing power-pop. Like I said, there are more inaccurate things you could call The Bends than power-pop, but I don't think it's a good description of that record's sound.

The New Pornographers, Matthew Sweet, weezer, Ozma, Jellyfish, Teenage Fanclub, Fountains of Wayne, Cheap Trick etc., all have a lot more in common with each other than any of them do with The Bends-era Radiohead.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:59 AM on June 4, 2006



You dorks.
posted by bukharin at 12:29 PM on June 4, 2006


"The hallmark example was Weezer's 1996 album Pinkerton, which, in later years, was considered one of the defining "emo" records of the 90s.""

Right. Then you're upset for me calling them emo? Hey, shouldn't you be upset because I mentioned punk with Green Day? I mean, punk only refers to New York in the mid-70s. It was a time, not a genre.
Sub-genres are like colors, and the argument that I'll confuse people by calling The Bends power pop is bullshit. I know that you have a hard-on for me, but let it go, Hongro (see his definition of psychedelia— it's EXACTLY the same as what you're doing. I'll provide links if you can't find it.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:37 AM on June 5, 2006


So I take it you didn't read my last post?

Yes, some people refer to Pinkerton as emo. Some people pronounce nuclear like "nukular." And I guess some people call The Bends power-pop. So go ahead and do all of those things if you like, but it's not going to make you look knowledgeable in front of people who know better.

And I think you're the one who has a hard-on for Geir, the way you bring him up all the goddamn time.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:53 AM on June 5, 2006


And like I said, power-pop, unlike punk or emo or Britpop, is only a sound, not a time or a place, which makes it even easier to define and recognize.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:55 AM on June 5, 2006


Except that My Generation doesn't sound like Overnight Sensation. Y'know, the band that coined the term versus the first instance of its use. And The Jam doesn't sound like Big Star, despite both being canonical power pop.
"So go ahead and do all of those things if you like, but it's not going to make you look knowledgeable in front of people who know better."
Ha! You need to get out of the indie pop ghetto more often. In the context of what I originally said, that my growing appreciation for power pop had led me to reevaluate The Bends and like it, "people who know better" will know exactly what I mean. People who attempt to out-cred me will be jerkoffs who can easily be dismissed. Like, well, like you. Stick to making music, not talking about it.
posted by klangklangston at 11:53 AM on June 5, 2006


note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand -- not at other members of the site.


Good thing I saw that before I hit post.

Good day to you, sir.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:09 PM on June 5, 2006


"Hold me back, Matt! I'll murderize 'im! Hold me back! Hold me back!"
posted by klangklangston at 1:08 PM on June 5, 2006



Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the most emo of them all?
posted by bukharin at 7:36 PM on June 5, 2006


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