The OK Computer Sessions
June 5, 2019 4:42 AM   Subscribe

Radiohead is no stranger to leaks -- frontman Thom Yorke praised Napster for "encourag[ing] enthusiasm for music in a way that the music industry has long forgotten to do" when their hotly anticipated album Kid A was uploaded to the service in its entirety (though the band was decidedly less thrilled when the same happened to an unfinished version of 2003's Hail to the Thief). Even pranksters have gotten in on the action. But now, after an abortive attempt at selling the stash, one leaker has given longtime fans the biggest prize yet: over 17 hours of early and unreleased material from the OK Computer era, including new full-band versions of "Lift" and "True Love Waits", an extended "Paranoid Android", alternative lyrics, rehearsals, jam sessions, found sound, and so much more. While legal eagles play whack-a-mole with download links, follow discussion of this landmark release on /r/radiohead and Discord, or get a taste of the material by browsing the scraps of it that were included in 2017 reissue OKNOTOK (including this utterly gorgeous rendition of "Motion Picture Soundtrack").
posted by Rhaomi (80 comments total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
 
This truly could not be more my shit. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this.
posted by saladin at 5:18 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Oh. My. Goodness.
posted by nevercalm at 5:35 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


I'm in our email work queue for the majority of the day, so this has just made my entire day that much better. Thank you for sharing this. <3
posted by Fizz at 5:43 AM on June 5


There's a history of this kind of thing with Radiohead. The Towering Above the Rest fan compiled box set for instance.
posted by treblekicker at 7:11 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


Some of the leaked Hail to the Thief mixes were better than what made it on to the formal album release. I'm hoping for the same here. Thanks!
posted by Palindromedary at 7:20 AM on June 5


From the subreddit: We encourage any and all discussion regarding the leaks, as well as the moral dilemma it has been presenting us fans, providing civility is at the forefront of these discussions.

Assuming that they think their readers are bothered by the morality of enjoying leaked material, that the band did not release: a "moral dilemma" is not really when you believe something is wrong, but you also want to do it.
posted by thelonius at 7:52 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


a "moral dilemma" is not really when you believe something is wrong, but you also want to do it

It is fully reasonable for a scholar of something, even at an amateur level, to be torn between wanting to see as much as they can that led into the creation of a public work but still want to respect the desires of the creator.
posted by Candleman at 8:20 AM on June 5 [5 favorites]


18 mp3 files, each of around an hour of unsorted/tagged music. Unless you really are keen, may be worth waiting for a more organised release.
posted by macapes at 8:49 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't mind receiving a friendly pm on no particular subject
posted by anazgnos at 9:18 AM on June 5 [7 favorites]


Look, all I want are more videos of them covering Joy Division.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:37 AM on June 5


> The Towering Above the Rest fan compiled box set for instance.

"...a bootleg compilation of rare Radiohead tracks. There are multiple versions of this compilations, the most common are the 10-disc and 24-disc versions."

Fandom. Criminy.
posted by ardgedee at 9:46 AM on June 5


I don't see a moral quandary with this kind of stuff. This is made for deep fan interest. Anyone else will just be overwhelmed or check out. The band has already commercially exploited this cache as they see fit, repackaging a previously released album and getting people to buy it again, no less, and fair enough! I have respect for the process of fan-driven obsessive archiving/collecting and interpretation, parallel and independent of commercial concerns.
posted by anazgnos at 9:46 AM on June 5


> 18 mp3 files, each of around an hour of unsorted/tagged music. Unless you really are keen, may be worth waiting for a more organised release.

Or not, depending. Since they're already lossy encoded, any subdividing of files is going to degrade the sound further.
posted by ardgedee at 9:47 AM on June 5


>any subdividing of files is going to degrade the sound further.

mp3DirectCut
posted by anazgnos at 9:50 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


>Or not, depending. Since they're already lossy encoded, any subdividing of files is going to degrade the sound further.

Presumed that'd be a solved problem by now. Years since I rolled my own MP3s.
posted by macapes at 9:53 AM on June 5


As an avid music fan, and bootleg collector, there's only a couple issues I take with distributing unreleased content.

1. Don't make a profit on it. Digital distribution of bootlegs has made this better, but you'll still find people selling bootleg recordings on CD and vinyl, and the quality of the artwork and packaging has improved to the point where they can often pass for legit releases, especially vinyl boots. It's still a very bad thing to take another artist's work and sell it without giving them a fare share.

2. Anything that gets "unbootlegged" by the band/artist and is in-print should no longer be distributed. Exceptions can be made for stuff like live recordings where only some of the tracks were commercially released, but for the most part if there's an official release of anything that's been circulating as a bootleg, you stop circulating it and go buy the official release.
posted by SansPoint at 10:00 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


You know what, fuck Radiohead and any less-than-thrilled feelings their pretentious asses could be bothered to have. I think they make some of the best music of our generation, but more importantly they hate their fans, and couldn't be bothered to be thankful for what their fans have done for them.

I've been to their shows, where I've listened to Thom Yorke berate the crowd for not being up to speed with their most obscure material, which they insist on playing as a giant middle finger to the crowd. Yorke gets in petty arguments with less-than-thrilled fans that distract from the show, it's like he enjoys the power dynamic. They've literally told their fan base to fuck off. It doesn't help that that fan base is famously miserable.

It's honestly something akin to a huge pop-culture abusive relationship and I'm done being a part of it. These guys have gotten way more fame and money than anyone as entitled and self-important as they are deserves.

Also, what kfx said. It's glamorizing depression. Screw them.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:39 AM on June 5 [5 favorites]


Eeeeeee!!! I went looking for this to the best of my ability, and am now worried I gave my poor MBP computer cancer. I, too, would not mind a pm about nothing in particular.
posted by higginba at 10:43 AM on June 5


I can't keep y'all updated with download links (they go down too fast), but if you can stomach the commentary this 4chan /mu/ thread [archive] frequently has new mirrors of the whole thing. Just page search "mega" from the bottom up and make sure the linked file is 1.38 GB. (Really surprised there's no torrent yet, though I hear it's on Soulseek.)

Also, there's this interesting backstory from the alleged leaker:
Anyway baaaack to XL [Records]
nice people but interesting
shit was a bit wild at a certain time and it's when OKNOTOK was being collated
Colin was the most important cog to it
Thom listened to all of it and had artistic control. Jonny gave about no fucks. Ed was just happy to be part of the experience. No idea about Phil
[dude is a disgruntled former intern at XL]
But yeah Colin literally sat at the console as this guy ripped the USB
I felt like shit when he told me but yeah
Colin is a really nice dude but a bit like... doesn't understand what he's in?
Loves a dark beer
Huge No Age fan too fwiw
Wew
Jonny is an okay dude but like there's a reason he's done no collabs
(you know what I mean)
Anyway I have to get a train soon
AMA for 10 more minutes
[what makes people say LP10 2020 and Kid A anniversary this August?]
Yes. Kid A will be out pretty soon. Thom is struggling with [solo record] LP3. There's a reason he hasn't marketed it under his name. Blur between project and album and era and... actual material?
posted by Rhaomi at 10:48 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


I'm conflicted. As a longtime fan it's thrilling stuff but I'm worried the leak will have a negative impact on any sort of KIDAMNESIAC deluxe edition.
posted by Diskeater at 11:15 AM on June 5


allkindsoftime, I feel like maybe your take on them is misinterpreted and/or outdated? They've explicitly said they were pissed about the HTTT leak not because people were downloading it illicitly but because it was an unmixed/unmastered rough cut that would spoil fans for the final version. And their antipathy to Creep is something they mellowed on years ago, even playing it at multiple shows big and small on their last few tours. I saw them up close twice in 2017 and they were entirely charming and engaged with the crowd -- the only times I've heard of Yorke berating an audience are when boors interrupt with shouted requests and whatnot, and even that's pretty rare.

As for "glamorizing depression," I don't know what to say about that. I mean, they have some downers, sure, but they're rooted in a pretty realistic view of the world at large and thoroughly leavened with beauty, love, wistfulness, and even hope. Their last album alone -- widely described as their saddest, and influenced by the death of Thom's longtime partner -- featured the spiritually uplifting "Desert Island Disk", the seductive warmth of "Present Tense", and a populist orchestral/folk protest song in "The Numbers" that was almost too optimistic IMHO. "Radiohead is depressing" is a cliché, but a false one.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:19 AM on June 5 [22 favorites]


Thanks for this! The non linear way Radiohead's music delivers, it just sits well with me. There are lots of kinds of music I enjoy, but Radiohead is singular. Thanks again. I also like it that I bought their stuff, from them.
posted by Oyéah at 11:37 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


And now all up at archive.org, it seems. (For now, anyway.)
posted by robself at 12:06 PM on June 5 [6 favorites]


You know what, fuck Radiohead and any less-than-thrilled feelings their pretentious asses could be bothered to have. I think they make some of the best music of our generation, but more importantly they hate their fans, and couldn't be bothered to be thankful for what their fans have done for them.

lol if this is your criteria you basically don't get to listen to any rock music or especially hip hop. who fucking cares? seriously? do they have a show when you pay them money to go see them? good! then they're holding up their end of the deal. if they bitch and moan a bit, who cares, they showed up and played the songs (and at a Radiohead show you're basically guaranteed at least three of the Big Songs every night, something that plenty of acts don't care about providing for the casual fans at all). rappers are notorious for no-showing on tour dates and big classic rock arena acts from yesteryear are so rich and misanthropic they don't give a shit about the shows they do put on. radiohead are the closest thing to consummate professionals you can get in live music, and yes, sometimes consummate professionals don't enjoy doing their job, and maybe even complain a bit, but they still show up and give it their all, that's why they're professionals. where's all this vitriol for bob fucking dylan, who plays songs in the wrong key with his back turned to the audience?
posted by JimBennett at 3:06 PM on June 5 [11 favorites]


there is some cool stuff in the leaks. the version of lift here would have been a certified capital-h Hit, and i can see why that scared them so much after creep. there are a few weird versions of true love waits that don't hold together. the ten minute version of paranoid android on disc 5 is awesome, starts off shaggy but turns into a real fucking jam after the "rain down" section. there are a few jams after this on disc 5 i really enjoy, the one from minute ~18 to minute ~25 is really cool and almost prog-y? i can't wait for people online to compile some more highlights, these are just the ones i dug through in the 40 minutes or so i've spent with the files so far.
posted by JimBennett at 3:19 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


ahhhhhhh hhh hh h the acoustic versions of last flowers on disc 6!!! my heart!!!!!!
posted by JimBennett at 3:27 PM on June 5


Oh god, if you'd given this to 14 year old me he would have just... Vaporised on the spot. The version of Lift, man. Any link to a full tracklist? Any Follow Me Around?
posted by ominous_paws at 4:13 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Also getting Maude Flanders-ish about Radiohead of all people glamourising depression in the era of xanax rap is so staggeringly out of touch it's basically adorable, wut
posted by ominous_paws at 4:23 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


this google doc was sort of buried in the post and seems to be the best breakdown so far. no follow me around and no big boots either, people are theorizing that those weren't recorded until some sessions the band had during their 1998 tour, which are shown in "meeting people is easy." also interesting is that very little of the material from the OKNOTOK cassette tape is present on these discs, implying there were more sessions that didn't make their way into this leak.
posted by JimBennett at 4:26 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


I feel like maybe your take on them is misinterpreted and/or outdated?

I last saw them at Outside Lands in 2016, you can youtube the video and see him getting into bickering with the fans up front on multiple occasions. So if I'm outdated, a lot changed in less than 3 years.

radiohead are the closest thing to consummate professionals you can get in live music

Oh yeah because telling your fans to fuck off is super professional.

Off the top of my head, bands I've seen in the last 5 years that were all way more professional than I've ever seen Radiohead be:

U2
Coldplay
Third Eye Blind
Lana Del Rey
Sufjan Stevens
Duran Duran
Metallica
Fleet Foxes
A Tribe Called Quest
Cake
Vance Joy
The Lumineers
The Naked and Famous
Yo La Tengo
Bad Religion

Radiohead's not nearly the closest thing you can get in live music, give me a break.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:31 PM on June 5


Also the gaslighting that is seeing fans try to explain, or apologize or make excuses for their behavior fits pretty snugly in the abusive relationship metaphor.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:35 PM on June 5


My dude this is a very weird place to air out this very weird grudge, maybe take a breath, pop Semi-Charmed Life on and take a walk in the sunshine or something
posted by ominous_paws at 4:36 PM on June 5 [20 favorites]


Have you perhaps just been unfrozen from a cryogenic chamber you accidentally fell into backwards off your chair, mid-rant on alt.music.radiohead.sucks in 1997
posted by ominous_paws at 4:38 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


sorry they hurt your feelings i guess? festival crowds are notoriously shitty, i've seen plenty of acts call out audience members who are on their phones or whatever. if that bothers you i urge you to skip the coachella livestreams where at least half the artists do this. that outside lands show is on youtube and has nothing but positive comments, the set list looks amazing (though you're right about one thing, thom does like to make everybody sit through the gloaming even though nobody enjoys it), i'm watching it now and they're playing great, i really don't get the complaints but also especially this thread is probably not the place for you to air them out?

it does a disservice to the term "gaslighting" to use it to refer to other people having different opinions than yours and expressing them. it belittles actual victims of actual gaslighting, but you're also talking about being in an "abusive relationship" with a fucking rock band so maybe that's not surprising.
posted by JimBennett at 4:42 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]


and i'm sorry, the fact that you put metallica on that list of supposedly professional bands who supposedly respect their fanbase is hilarious to me
posted by JimBennett at 4:46 PM on June 5 [6 favorites]


xanax rap

Now, I know I've got teh olds, but this genre is news to me
posted by thelonius at 4:56 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Now, I know I've got teh olds, but this genre is news to me

been meaning to write an FPP about Future for a long time, maybe i should get around to that.
posted by JimBennett at 5:02 PM on June 5


I saw Radiohead just once at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley (2006) and it was without exception a great show. At one point Thom got angry at a tech who sent loud feedback into his ear (fair enough!), but also he gave a shout-out to the opening band (Deerhoof, who by the way had an awesome set) and commented on how awesome the the banks of fog wafting over the amphitheatre shell were.

They pulled off songs that I assumed could only be studio confections. They had a great rapport with the audience. They were totally in the moment with their music and their environment. There was absolutely nothing I would have changed about that show.

And... I'm not completely sure I will follow up on listening to this new trove. Kid A pretty much rewired my brain and I think I will be happy to just leave it at that.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:07 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the post, this is great stuff.

sjswitzer: I was at that show too! Or at least one of them, as I recall they played two nights in a row. Of the few times I've seen them, that show was by far the best.
posted by number9dream at 5:26 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


allkindsoftime: "I last saw them at Outside Lands in 2016, you can youtube the video and see him getting into bickering with the fans up front on multiple occasions. So if I'm outdated, a lot changed in less than 3 years."

I couldn't find anything like this in video or the old /r/radiohead thread on the show, but was curious about it -- so I YouTube'd "thom yorke audience":

2008: Tells a dude hollering during a quiet ballad "shut the fuck up... you ain't funny, you just don't get out much."

2013: Snaps at somebody talking during another quiet solo song at a "secret show" in LA: "Who the fuck is talking? Time to fuck off home... talk when I'm fucking done." Interestingly the clip starts with somebody (maybe house staff?) shouting for quiet, so maybe that's expected in that venue?

2008: Tells a guy talking in the pit during another slow/quiet song: "You're a funny guy. Will you come be funny later? We'll show you what funny looks like."

2017: Affects a posh voice to mock the venue for not securing a laptop that fell off-stage during a bass-heavy number, and later calls out a dude in the crowd with a tambourine.

2006: Gets annoyed at the sound guy for accidentally buzzing his ear with noise.

This is all mixed in with a lot of videos thanking audiences, cracking jokes, and in one case stopping a show mid-verse to get a passed-out guy medical help. So he can occassionally be short with individual people who interrupt quiet songs or otherwise interfere with his performance, but it's hardly an "abusive relationship." In other words... he's a reasonable man, get off his case. (Though he definitely was raised in a barn.)
posted by Rhaomi at 5:36 PM on June 5 [5 favorites]


They've literally told their fan base to fuck off.

They literally haven't. The closest thing I can find to this is that one time in 1997 when someone was requesting Creep at a show, Thom supposedly said "Fuck off, we're tired of it." Who knows what the circumstances were, but Thom telling one person to fuck off is pretty far from the whole band telling their entire fan base to fuck off.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 5:47 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


2006: Gets annoyed at the sound guy for accidentally buzzing his ear with noise.

Yeah, that is the show I saw and the complaint seemed completely legit.

There's a funny thing about sound crews. Either you take your own peeps who don't know the venue and its particular issues or you use the venue's sound people who know the local situation. The general consensus is: use the venue's sound guys. And well ok, that's something of a crap-shoot but probably best for the audience. I don't for an instant doubt he got a deafening buzz in his ear and had a right to be annoyed. But he didn't let that derail him from putting on a great show.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:50 PM on June 5


This is all mixed in with a lot of videos thanking audiences, cracking jokes, and in one case stopping a show mid-verse to get a passed-out guy medical help

the way thom just goes "third verse. my thoughts are misguided." and they all pick up the song from that exact moment, without missing a beat?

consumate. professionals.
posted by JimBennett at 5:53 PM on June 5 [5 favorites]


the way thom just goes "third verse. my thoughts are misguided." and they all pick up the song from that exact moment, without missing a beat?

consumate. professionals.


Not to be all "I was at that show too", but I was at that show too, and it was awesome -- from as far back as I was, I couldn't tell whether something had really happened or if it was just a gimmick ("twitching and salivating, like with myxomatosis"). They came back in so perfectly that I thought they must have practiced it and I concluded it was some sort of weird fake thing. Then I found out the truth somehow the next day -- glad to see the moment immortalized on youtube, sixteen years later!
posted by number9dream at 6:00 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


I once read an interview with members of REM who commented that playing a show was kinda like being in an REM cover band, having to listen to the record and learn it all over again. That closed a bracket in my mind because I'd often wondered about the difference between creating something in a studio and performing it live.

And, yes, there are at least two kinds of bands: the ones where the studio is lucky to capture the live experience and the ones where the live performance is lucky to capture the studio creation.

I'd assumed that Radiohead was the latter kind of band, and I basically still do. But... they do pull off the live performance. So +1 on the professionalism comments.
posted by sjswitzer at 6:12 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


(FWIW, my favorite band never plays a song the same way twice. Each time is a unique experience and any studio version is merely a snapshot in time.)
posted by sjswitzer at 6:15 PM on June 5


I’m stoked on this. Motion Picture Soundtrack is one of my favorite songs ever.
posted by gucci mane at 6:27 PM on June 5


It is fucking BANANAS that three Mefites (myself included) saw that show at Berkeley in 2006.
posted by lattiboy at 8:47 PM on June 5


Maybe this is sort of piling on but:

Also, what kfx said. It's glamorizing depression. Screw them.

That original comment seems is an evocative description of why the original commenter doesn't like the musical style of Radiohead. But it seems like a really odd reason to say "fuck this band, they are bad people."

And I don't particularly love the music of Radiohead, either.
posted by atoxyl at 8:56 PM on June 5


treblekicker: There's a history of this kind of thing with Radiohead. The Towering Above the Rest fan compiled box set for instance.

ardgedee "...a bootleg compilation of rare Radiohead tracks. There are multiple versions of this compilations, the most common are the 10-disc and 24-disc versions."

Fandom. Criminy.


Radiohead are (and probably have been for a while) at the level of Classic Rock Giants fandom, which is a rather broad umbrella including Bob Dylan, The Beatles and anyone who has an obsessive fan-base cataloging variations on themes in the various live and bootleg versions.

And record labels are catching onto this "gotta have 'em all" level of fan, with multi-disc super deluxe editions of albums (The Beatles Store).

Happy fanboy moment: finding Radiohead's 2008 gig at the Santa Barbara Bowl officially (and still!) available from NPR (as a 128kbps MP3), complete with weird little local radio sample worked into [National Anthem? I gotta re-listen to this now].
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Radiohead are (and probably have been for a while) at the level of Classic Rock Giants fandom

I think they were at that level not long after OK Computer was released. I was part of that back then, with the hard drive and CD shelf to prove it, and the Radiohead message board was a happening place. I'm still in contact with one or two people from there 20 years later. I've never managed to get into anything beyond OKC, despite trying, so I dropped out of it and I don't know where those fine fanatical people hang out these days, it isn't the RHMB, despite it still existing.

I miss that internet.
posted by deadwax at 9:36 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


It’s so weird hearing all of these versions of Motion Picture Soundtrack.

My dad died in late 2000 and I’d been obsessively listening to Kid A all year. Driving at night following his ambulance to the hospital is bar none the most powerful memory of my whole life. I can feel every surface of my truck, see the Sony Xplode stereo glowing red, remember driving down the highway with street lights reflecting in perfect rows.

I didn’t consciously play that song, it just happened to be the track playing when I switched the CD player on. The absolute sadness and haunted sound of it made the moment somehow bearable. The fact it’s followed by minutes of silence amplified everything.

I never thought of Radiohead as sad music, but as a powerful catharsis for complicated, difficult emotions.
posted by lattiboy at 9:36 PM on June 5 [18 favorites]


That's heavy stuff, lattiboy. The song is powerful enough on its own; I can't imagine having it tied to such an indelible moment like that. But it's so deeply appropriate, too -- I still get chills thinking about that big band alumni group that used it to close out the funeral of a colleague, for instance. It's strange how well it works when the actual lyrics are more narrow in scope than just a general goodbye.

deadwax: "I've never managed to get into anything beyond OKC, despite trying, so I dropped out of it and I don't know where those fine fanatical people hang out these days, it isn't the RHMB, despite it still existing."

Mainly /r/Radiohead (one of the biggest band-related subs on the site) and the associated Discord server, from what I can tell as a relatively new fan (c. 2012). Also ateaseweb has gone on and offline a few times now; it's not as active now, though.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:24 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Oh Jesus, that video was far too much to watch at 11PM in my garage alone. Thank you for sharing it though, it’s so beautiful.
posted by lattiboy at 11:09 PM on June 5


I recently watched the season/ show finale of Happy!, where "Bullet Proof (I Wish I Was)" from The Bends is included as a somber solo by a young girl. A 25 year old tune that still felt very current.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:44 AM on June 6


influenced by the death of Thom's longtime partner

*pushes glasses up nose* Rachel Owen died on December 18th 2016. A Moon Shaped Pool came out on May 8th 2016. Although it was widely reported to be influenced by Yorke and Owen's break-up.
posted by zeusianfog at 10:42 AM on June 6


Was very disappointed that the 2008 Santa Barbara show above wasn't the 2001 show (I'm bad with time) which was, if I may be that guy, the last good Radiohead show.
posted by booooooze at 12:03 PM on June 6


boo this man
posted by JPD at 12:50 PM on June 6


Just vaguely on the topic of the band's misery, the Meeting People is Easy tour documentary really showed how much they were worn down touring the record that came out of these sessions, in a way I don't think I appreciated fully watching as a teen.

The absolute peak comes as they are refused entry to their own afterparty, and as they slink off down the street, the bouncer shouts after them "write a song about it... Creep... Radiohead... Dick...head"

Awful, but kind of hilarious?
posted by ominous_paws at 2:16 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Radiohead are (and probably have been for a while) at the level of Classic Rock Giants fandom, which is a rather broad umbrella including Bob Dylan, The Beatles and anyone who has an obsessive fan-base cataloging variations on themes in the various live and bootleg versions.

This is an interesting concept to me because I think The Mountain Goats has this kind of fanbase; The Mountain Goats wikia helpfully catalogs every song, including every time that song was played live, and which of those performances have a known recording, audio or video. It's a fantastic resource. But on the other hand, I don't think you'd reasonably put them in the same category as Radiohead, fame-wise.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:09 PM on June 6


I've been to their shows, where I've listened to Thom Yorke berate the crowd for not being up to speed with their most obscure material, which they insist on playing as a giant middle finger to the crowd. Yorke gets in petty arguments with less-than-thrilled fans that distract from the show, it's like he enjoys the power dynamic. They've literally told their fan base to fuck off.

I've seen Radiohead 35 times live, many times on rail, and Thom Yorke has never once told me to fuck off. Weird.

They always play the big hits (minus Creep) and always pull out some random obscure stuff. If by 'middle finger' you mean 'make some self-deprecating comment about how maybe a few people will remember this one' and the crowd goes wild, then yeah, sure, you totally called it.

It doesn't help that that fan base is famously miserable.

What is this, Y2K? It's comforting people are still are on with that tired old trope.

Did Thom Yorke cut in front of you at a coffee shop one time?

Anyway, as someone who obviously is, ah, a hardcore fan....this is an amazing treasure trove. With the very first clip of the first disk, we've learned that Exit Music and Life in a Glasshouse started out as the very same song. That's amazing! Also, I cannot for the life of me figure out why they choose the version of Lift they did when they have these amazing versions. The one on disk 15, for example, is pretty much perfect.

I also would not be surprised if the band themselves leaked this. They've done so before, though certainly not on this scale.
posted by Windigo at 6:01 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


As another hardcore Radiohead fan (25 attended concerts), this is nothing less than total bliss.

And I’d happily hand Radiohead money for this and access to the rest of their archives. Most of their fans would likely agree.
posted by dbiedny at 5:29 AM on June 7


I've seen Radiohead 35 times live.....25 attended concerts......

Did you all follow them on tour, like Deadheads?
posted by thelonius at 5:36 AM on June 7


Radioheadheads?
posted by sjswitzer at 11:09 AM on June 7


Head2s?
posted by Grangousier at 11:19 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Did you all follow them on tour, like Deadheads?

Sort of? They've been around long enough that if you see them a few times every tour, over the years it adds up. I fell in love with them at the age of 15, and am 40 now. There's the HARDCORE hardcore, who've seen them over 100 times. They truly follow them on tour. 35 times is considered relatively chill. The most I ever saw them on one tour was in 2008, I saw them 8 times. Usually I do 2-3.

I have made life-long friends around the world because of Radiohead. A group of us live on a tiny hidden message board (well, these days a Slack). It started out back near the turn of 2000, because there was no way to be more wrong on the internet than to be a woman with an opinion on a music board. So a group of about 30-ish of us went and created our own. At this point we've been there for each other through marriages, divorces, babies, new careers, illnesses...even death. So when Radiohead tours, we'll generally see them in our own personal neck of the woods, but also pick one location where we all congregate and catch up, usually in Europe. In 2017, for example, we picked Oslo and Stockholm. Last year, we did NYC, as they played four nights at MSG.

Anyway, it's not so much about the band anymore, like it was in my teens and 20's. Now it's about coming together with my friends, being a tourist, and getting to see a concert by the band we all love the most. We generally still go for rail, though, even though we're all mostly up near 40-50 now. We can't give up our nerdiness completely, after all.
posted by Windigo at 7:07 AM on June 8 [13 favorites]


That sounds so great, Windigo!
posted by thelonius at 2:03 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Radiohead has placed the tracks on bandcamp and will donate all proceeds to Extinction Rebellion.

At bandcamp they (Yorke?) writes:
we’ve been hacked
my archived mini discs from 1995-1998(?)
it’s not v interesting
there’s a lot of it

if you want it, you can buy the whole lot here
18 minidisks for £18
the proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellion

as it’s out there
it may as well be out there
until we all get bored
and move on

Thmx
credits
released June 11, 2019
On Facebook they wrote:
We got hacked last week - someone stole Thom’s minidisk archive from around the time of OK Computer, and reportedly demanded $150,000 on threat of releasing it.

So instead of complaining - much - or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion: https://radiohead.bandcamp.com

Just for the next 18 days. So for £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom.

Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue) it’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long. Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn’t it though?
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:37 AM on June 11 [12 favorites]


Wow, good on them.
posted by gwint at 6:35 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Having bumblingly managed to listen to precisely one song in the above links like a teacher with a video cassette player, I am absolutely handing over my money.
posted by ominous_paws at 6:36 AM on June 11


robself: And now all up at archive.org, it seems. (For now, anyway.)

And now it's down. I wonder if it'll go back up, and stay up, after the 18 days that the Bandcamp release is up have passed.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:35 AM on June 11


i love that this band that supposedly hates their fans included hi-res scans of all the minidisc covers with this, it's such a kindness to the obsessive fans to have thom's official notes for each song, and it's just a cool presentational touch for something they could have just thrown out there without any concern.
posted by JimBennett at 10:01 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


An official, paid release of this stuff ties in with my comment above. Fans who downloaded the leak should buy it, and ideally it should stop circulating as a bootleg now. It's the right thing to do.
posted by SansPoint at 10:04 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Oh wow, the official release is selling like hotcakes on Bandcamp. Like 75-90% of all new purchases shown on the homepage, and a new one every few seconds. And that's with the whole thing being free to stream on the product page, on top of the earlier leak. Great decision on their part, and kudos for sending all proceeds to charity.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:12 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Thanks Rhaomi, I was wondering if there was any way to get an idea of how this was doing. I'd been considering a donation to ER for a while anyway so this was a nice prompt as it was. Hopefully they'll release the total numbers at some point...
posted by ominous_paws at 10:48 PM on June 11


Has anyone made a Hail To The Thief pun yet? Is it too late?
posted by Diskeater at 10:59 AM on June 12


It's kind of beneath the weight limit
posted by thelonius at 1:30 PM on June 12


SansPoint: Fans who downloaded the leak should buy it, and ideally it should stop circulating as a bootleg now. It's the right thing to do.

Audiophiles who look at the way the music sounds (spectral analysis with tools like Spek) are saying that there's clipping in the official release that isn't present in the low-quality bootleg. I know, I'm not sure a 192kbps MP3 are the ideal "archive quality" that audiophiles are looking for, especially considering that MiniDiscs employ lossy audio data compression, but there are folks saying the bootleg is somehow better than the official release. And now you know ;)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 PM on June 12


pulled this quote from *cough cough* another website on the internet:

"In short - the leak is original master -> MiniDisc ATRAC compression (equivalent of ~256kbps MP3) -> 192kbps MP3 - hence it's been encoded in a lossy codec twice. AFAIK, the consensus is that the band's official release was compressed MiniDiscs -> FLAC - which as you can tell has only been lossily encoded once and will probably sound better (provided you do download the 5gb FLAC). However, as you can see checking the specs in the description they decided to add gain for some reason, so plenty of the tracks that were perfectly fine in the original leak now have clipping on them. Really it's a personal preference thing whether you prefer worse sound, no clipping or better sound but clipping on basically every track."

of course this only applies if you're actually listening to the .FLAC files, if you want to listen to it in .mp3 form you'd have to convert it anyway, in which case the bootleg files without clipping are probably better (but quieter!)
posted by JimBennett at 10:48 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Track 8 confirms one thing I've suspected for a long time: Karma Police was full of F-bombs before the album version was finalized. Probably not a surprise to Radiohead fans, but I haven't been listening to their bootlegs and concert recordings so it's new to me.
posted by ardgedee at 5:55 PM on June 19


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