Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Review: Radiohead’s In Rainbows

Even though it’s been over 4 years since their last release, Radiohead somehow manage to stay in the forefront of modern alternative’s elite. So naturally, it’s quite a big deal when they finally release an album.

I’m sure reviews of In Rainbows will litter the internets quickly; but as for my first listen impressions, this is a great Radiohead album. I don’t quite consider it their best ever as greenplastic does... yet. It would take quite a lot to wrestle my affections away from OK Computer.

In this record, Radiohead gets about as close to sounds they created in The Bends since... well, The Bends. I doubt this was an accident. Thom’s first lyrics are “How come I end up where I started?”

Focusing less on electronic elements and bringing in more orchestration and (gasp) guitars, they retain the mantle of greatness we’ve all thrust upon them. But something’s different. The band sounds almost upbeat and happy. Or about as happy as Radiohead can sound. There’s still an aura of melancholy, but In Rainbows is a noticeable departure from their ominous landscapes of pending (or post) apocalypse and the general downfall of mankind.

Street Spirit, with it’s lyrics “Immerse yourself in love” could fit right in on this album, and I think a lot of people are going to be happy about that. Me, I’ve grown to love Hail to the Thief as much as any of their records and am just glad to have some more Radiohead material.

Stand outs for me so far are Reckoner, House of Cards and All I Need.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Arthur & Yu at Soundfix Records, 10/1/07

I recently discovered the debut album, In Camera, by the Seattle indie/folk group Arthur & Yu. I’m a sucker for harmonies, especially guy and girl duos, so this was right up my alley.

Last night, I was lucky enough to catch them playing a set at Soundfix Records in Williamsburg, on apparently their first national tour. After my last concert (at Madison Square Garden), it was refreshing to go watch a show in a small intimate venue. I was actually sitting next to the lead singer, Grant Olsen watching him write out the setlist at the bar. That doesn’t exactly happen at MSG.

The café at Soundfix was charming and friendly. It made me want to hang out in Williamsburg more often; if only it weren’t such a pain in the ass to get to.

The band drew a decent crowd into the café, and definitely grew more relaxed as the show went on. The live renditions of their songs were done well, a bit louder and more vibrant than the mellowness of the album.

The band members are definitely low-key personas. No Karen O’s in this group. At one point the female singer, Sonya Wescott, actually apologized for being “the shyest band you’ll probably ever see”. How can you not love these guys after a statement like that?

It’s rare that I find an album that I enjoy thoroughly, but this was one of them. It was nice to hear just about every song live, including my favorites Lion’s Mouth and There Are Too Many Birds, but definitely wished to hear them do The Ghost of Old Bull Lee. Alas, maybe next time.

Monday, October 01, 2007


In spectacular fashion, Radiohead announces the release of their next album in less than 2 weeks!

As only Radiohead could and would do, they’re doing so by eschewing the involvement of any evil corporate record labels.

Great for the little guy, right? Um, the answer’s a big fat "NO".

The album is priced at over $80!!! WTF?!?! Way to turn a sure-fire purchase into a financial dilemma for me, guys.

I could just get the digital download version for a cheap price, but I guess I’m just old fashioned in wanting a physical artifact.