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The Eraser
June 29, 2006 6:42 AM   Subscribe

The Eraser, Thom Yorke's solo album is being played in it's entirety on Australian radio station JJJ this sunday, July 2nd, at 6PM (AEST). Triple J generally have podcasts available (other good shows to listen to include Sunday Night Safran), and The Eraser has also been mentioned here.
posted by jonathanstrange (24 comments total)

 
While the sound of Eraser is not surprising coming from Yorke, it has grown on me over the past weeks. I'm enjoying it now in regular rotation.
posted by NationalKato at 6:57 AM on June 29, 2006


I still haven't heard it, and it's killing me! :) Sunday though, here I come...
posted by jonathanstrange at 6:59 AM on June 29, 2006


It's lovely, and flowers after giving it some time. I'll be happy to hear it in its proper form... the leaked mp3s are not the best quality.
posted by jokeefe at 7:48 AM on June 29, 2006


Oh, and there's an amazing mashup of Yorke's 'Analyse' and Jeff Buckley's 'You and I' here. It's gorgeous.
posted by jokeefe at 7:52 AM on June 29, 2006


Double, no?
posted by scottreynen at 8:35 AM on June 29, 2006


i agree--it is a "grower".
posted by unwordy at 9:07 AM on June 29, 2006


Definately a grower, not a shower.

Wait, what?

No, but really.
posted by Alex404 at 9:38 AM on June 29, 2006


jonathanstrange, it's versus its.
posted by intermod at 10:10 AM on June 29, 2006


Honestly, I think it's a great album. This is coming from someone who really loved the direction Radiohead went in with Kid A. I love the minimalism and there are definitely a lot of hooks buried somewhere in every song.

Apparently we can expect an actual rock record from the next Radiohead release, which is kind of neat since we can get our more experimental Yorke stuff from his solo project and a true-to-form Radiohead both at the same time.
posted by Ekim Neems at 10:12 AM on June 29, 2006


Apparently we can expect an actual rock record from the next Radiohead release, which is kind of neat since we can get our more experimental Yorke stuff from his solo project and a true-to-form Radiohead both at the same time.

As someone obsessive enough to keep track of the new material as it's been debuted (as well as managing to be up close at both Chicago shows) ... I'm not sure I'd call where they're headed an "actual rock record." At least not in the sense that OK Computer and the albums before it were "actual rock records." Those days are over for radiohead, and people need to get over it.

Wherever they're headed does seem to be a new direction for the band. Their last album was done rather quickly, and was more about capturing their live sound at the time (this was stated in interviews). That's not to take anything away from it (I love Hail To The Thief). It succeeds masterfully at what it set out to do, but it wasn't a particularly new direction for the band.

I think the next record will probably be much more surprising. The new material seems to be: Balls-out Rock Songs (Open Pick, Bangers'n'Mash, the minute-long surf guitar freakout, Spooks), extremely sparse songs (The stripped down Nude, House Of Cards), pretty piano-y songs (Videotape, 4 Minute Warning), and Tha Funky Shit (15 Step, and particularly Down Is The New Up and All I Need).

However, radiohead has starting with Kid A always done quite a bit to change songs for performance. Eg: Pretty much any Kid A/Amnesiac material that isn't Pyramid Song or one or two others. The new songs are not done evolving (the band has said this), and will undoubtedly change further once the band heads back into the studio.

So who knows. I am more excited about the next radiohead record than I was about HTTT (which I was rather excited about). I like the new batch of songs in their current state more than I liked the HTTT material when it was being road-tested. My prediction is that we'll get something quite a lot more ... loose and groove-based than they've been in the past.

PS: Those Chicago shows were fuckin' awesome.
posted by sparkletone at 12:09 PM on June 29, 2006


I got it a couple weeks ago, it's interesting, pretty much what Yorke described it as - pretty much just some random stuff he was working at on the side, and decided to polish up for release.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:47 PM on June 29, 2006


I heard it a few days ago. I tried to get into it but sadly couldn't. I'll probably come back around to it later and give it another chance.

The new Radiohead songs sound awesome, though. I can't wait for the new album.
posted by kryptondog at 2:30 PM on June 29, 2006


I just noticed that no one's linked to a recent edition of Your Band Sucks over at Something Awful which takes some rather hilarious shots at Thom's album.
posted by sparkletone at 3:31 PM on June 29, 2006


JJJ? What a sellout.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:33 PM on June 29, 2006


The new songs are not done evolving (the band has said this), and will undoubtedly change further once the band heads back into the studio.

Indeed. In a couple of the most recent interviews Thom's given the impression of backing away from anything like being pinned down to that sound, and saying something on the order of the songs sounding the way they do now because they are working with what they have in front on them in terms of instrumentation, and that it would all likely change in the studio... they're talking with Godrich again about production, too. So we'll see. I have to say, if I'd heard I Might Be Wrong for the first time in its incandescent live version, I'd be pretty confused by the studio rendition.

I have to say I'm loving the rock songs-- I nearly fell over the first time I heard Bangers'N'Mash-- and 15 Step, but I'm having a hard time with the reworkings of House of Cards and Big Ideas (it'll always be Big Ideas to me), and I'm still recovering from my first hearing of Down Is The New Up. Videotape and All I Need, though, are seriously gorgeous.
posted by jokeefe at 5:24 PM on June 29, 2006


Unfettered by the musicality of his bandmates, Thom Yorke is now free to develop his music in whatever direction he sees fit. Judging by the prevailing sonic trends on The Eraser, that direction is “clicking and moaning.” While the record is comprised of approximately 45% clicks and 35% moans, Yorke puts his sonic genius on display by bunging the cracks with liberal smattering of beeps, bonks, shuffles, grating monotone loops, and a whirring cavalcade of sundry electronic nuisances.

Basically, imagine a Radiohead album with all the music removed and replaced by irritating, ticking bullshit.

Oh, silly me, that’s what the last three and a half Radiohead albums have sounded like anyway. How about this: imagine that Radiohead had all their musical instruments stolen and yet were contractually obligated to deliver an album in one hour.


Bwa ha ha ha ha. *dies laughing*
posted by jokeefe at 5:26 PM on June 29, 2006


After that, Thom Yorke had a stroke and forgot how to make words with his mouth, and Jonny Greenwood decided that he was too smart for tunes. Since then, they’ve been periodically plopping out bewildering hunks of semi-musical garbage which nerds pretend to enjoy in order to seem smart.

This is actually very funny, but as a nerd, if I wanted to appear smart, I'd go listen to Polwechsel or something.

Actually, I do listen to Polwechsel. Hmmmm.

The Eraser isn't doing it for me--I like that he put it out, and that it's a nice, low-key introduction to solo work, but Yorke forgot to bring the tunes, man...it would have been a much more serviceable EP...
posted by hototogisu at 5:53 PM on June 29, 2006


You listen to Polwechsel, which is surely all about texture over melody, and yet you complain that Yorke "forgot to bring the tunes"? Honestly not trying to sound snarky, just genuinely curious. *insert little happy face*
posted by jokeefe at 7:30 PM on June 29, 2006


Bwa ha ha ha ha. *dies laughing*

I love Dr. David Thorpe. I would buy him alcohol without a second thought, given the opportunity.
posted by sparkletone at 10:53 PM on June 29, 2006


In a couple of the most recent interviews Thom's given the impression of backing away from anything like being pinned down to that sound ... that it would all likely change in the studio...

Right. I remember comments to the effect that they had to struggle a bit when getting ready for this tour to figure out how to pull a lot of the songs off in a live setting (I, for one, think they've succeeded).

If I recall, the current studio version of Nude (I agree that Big Ideas is a better title, but after all these years of using Our Name, I finally feel like I must switch to Their Name for the song) is supposed to be one of the ones on which they employed these people. If that's the case (and Nude is, last time they mentioned it, one they feel is pretty "in the can" as far as being done), then it probably won't be so spare on record.

For what it's worth, my favorites of the new ones are Arpeggi, Videotape, Down Is The New Up, and All I Need, but I like them all quite a lot.

Back in ought three, Thom said he expected the band to be unrecognizable in 3-5 years. I'm not sure that they'll quite be unrecognizable (even Kid A was not completely unrecognizable to me), but I'm excited by all the potential present in the new material. The fact that the songs tend to change a little further still when they take them back out on the road after finalizing the album versions just makes it all even better.
posted by sparkletone at 11:18 PM on June 29, 2006


If Yorke presented interesting textures, it'd be an argument.

As it is, Yorke & co have never been avant-garde musicians--it's been their cunning deceit all along--taking a bunch of swell tunes and dropping piles of "noise" over each one. They present nothing new, and never will, except perhaps their specific little parataxis of melody and abstraction (and even then many would assert that it's been done before, and done better). They're a pop band, perfect stadium rock for the masses, and they always will be. This is not a bad thing. It just is what it is.

Polwechsel, along with any number of improv acts of assorted taxonomy, assert by their very existence that a good melody is not the totaled sum of music. Radiohead have never taken that leap, and they never will. They'd be pretty shit at it, if they did decide to do so, so I'm glad they're sticking with what they know, which is rock music, in whatever mutated form with which we feel like labelling them. Thom Yorke turned in a singer-songwriter album with a laptop instead of a guitar, and I wouldn't have it any other way. He just forgot to bring the tunes.

we can continue this in some other venue, or later if you like, but I'm a little too drunk to continue expounding upon these ideas, at the moment...
posted by hototogisu at 12:53 AM on June 30, 2006


(Legal) stream of the full album here (Flash), for those who want to hear it.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 4:39 AM on June 30, 2006


They're a pop band, perfect stadium rock for the masses, and they always will be. This is not a bad thing. It just is what it is.

This, at least, is never something the band themselves have denied. In fact, in interviews for Hail To The Thief, they said numerous times that they weren't intentionally trying to be seen as a band that releases obscure/difficult/whatever records. "We feel that everything we do is aimed squarely at the mainstream," etc.
posted by sparkletone at 5:26 AM on June 30, 2006


I do think the new songs Radiohead are touring are largely pretty weak melodically, but they're touring them at a much earlier stage of development than usual as a way of pushing themselves (short of record label pressure since they're currently unsigned), Thom has repeatedly called them "sketchy" onstage and has said they're going to change them up a good deal in the studio. They're already evolving the songs during the tour. My guess is they'll turn out fine: "Go to Sleep" started off as a wandering guitar jam (in the band's own words), quite along the lines of what they're doing now, but it turned out a perfectly fine melody on the record. House of Cards is already one of my favorite songs by them, too.

The Eraser songs, however, are decently tuneful, not as razor sharp and classic as the usual Radiohead melodies, but better than the drafts they're touring. I do find them a little bit "easy" musically (and especially lyrically), without, say, Jonny's obtuse melodic sense to weird them out.

sparkletone: According to Ed, if I recall talking to a fan from At Ease, the studio version of Nude they've recorded is somewhere between the version they're touring and the old version (with new elements, of course). Not nearly as stripped down as how they're doing it now, at any rate.
posted by abcde at 6:35 PM on June 30, 2006


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