Tag Archives: Radiohead

From the Basement TV: Radiohead, et al.

In addition to Black Cab Sessions, Take-Away Shows, and Handheld Shows, there’s a new kid in town trading in a little bit of those projects’ charms for more polish.

From the Basement filmed some of your favorite bands in a studio with no introduction and no audience. The clean-looking video can be seen in clip-form on the site or at the YouTube channel, and some of the full-song performances can be purchase on iTunes (just search From the Basement in the iTunes store). Some people, of course, have put some of the full videos (particularly the Radiohead) up on YouTube.

Radiohead recorded ten songs with From the Basement TV, including songs from In Rainbows. Songs include: Bodysnatchers, House of Cards, Nude, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, 15 Step, Reckoner, Go Slowly, Videotape, Bangers ‘n’ Mash, and All I Need.

According to the band, “Captured in a day, with direction by David Barnard and sound by [Radiohead’s buddy] Nigel Godrich, the videos represent the best recorded representation of Radiohead’s live performance to date.” And if Radiohead makes that sort of sweeping statement, it must be stinkin’ great.

Other performers so far are: Thom Yorke, Albert Hammond Jr., Envelopes, The White Stripes, The Shins, Neil Hannon, Beck, Jarvis Cocker, Jamie Lidell, Sonic Youth, José Gonzaléz, Laura Marling, PJ Harvey, Super Furry Animals, Free Blood, Operator Please, Damien Rice, The Eels, Autolux, and Architecture in Helsinki.

Bonus, unrelated link: Download mp3s of Radiohead’s April Fools’ Day Show courtesy of Alan at Sixeyes (who appreciates if you leave comments and click on ads in return for his generosity).

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The National, Radiohead, and Neil Young and Crazy Horse

This post is nothing more (or less) than a hub to some free mp3 downloads of fantastic live performances.

The National – Black Sessions

The National – White Sessions

Radiohead – Live at the BBC (April 1)

Neil Young and Crazy Horse – San Francisco 1978

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The Pixies: loudQUIETloud

It’s cool to shun Pitchfork (and perhaps, too, to defend it against the backlash). It clearly jumped the shark a long time ago, just as Sterogum may have with its most recent upgrade. These conduits of indie info have become more rationalized and less ragamuffin. In the tiny subculture of indie music geekdom that Stella Splice inhabits, identifying what is no longer cool is just as important as identifying what will soon be cool. [Related aside: I really want this t-shirt that says, “I Listen To Bands That Don’t Even Exist Yet.”]

However, Pitchfork.tv is a new branch of Pitchfork that’s useful and cool.

For instance, right now, but only until Monday April 14, they’re offering a stream of The Pixies 2004 reunion tour documentary loudQUIETloud (buy it for cheap). If you missed the stream, you can watch the trailer here. The setlist/soundtrack includes full or partials of the songs Where is My Mind?, Hey, Here Comes Your Man, UMass, Caribou, Gouge Away, Nimrod’s Son, In Heaven, Wave of Mutilation, Something Against You, Bone Machine, Cactus, Vamos, and Monkey Gone to Heaven. The score is done by Daniel Lanois.

I saw a show on the reunion tour. It was everything I’d hoped it could be. Kim couldn’t quit smiling. And the coolest moment was when they ended the show. Instead of ducking backstage to wait an appropriate amount of time for us to demand an encore, they came to the front of the stage and waved heartily and said sincere thank-yous. After a short while, when the audience felt it had shown its thanks for the chance to see The Pixies again, and when the band had thanked us for success in absentia and the chance to make a little money again, they played their encore.

Pitchfork.tv features a bunch of great quality music videos of allstar artists (this means less riffling through the YouTube detritus).

There are non-music-video offerings, as well from Pitchfork.tv, including this badass stuff:

Exclusive Radiohead performance of Bangers & Mash (btw, Radiohead has released additional tour dates)

Some Man Man madness surrounding the making of his album Rabbit Habits

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Grandaddy and Radiohead

Radiohead‘s extra goodie bonusness is finally available from their big April Fools Day at the BBC. The mp3s can be hijacked at Deaf Indie Elephants.

~

Grandaddy‘s 2000 disc The Sophtware Slump (buy it) is the kind of indie disc that could conquer your brain for months, haunting you, lulling you into its world until you forget other music even exists.

If you’re a Grandaddy fanatic, who is missing them since their 2006 breakup, then you’ll be interested to download frontman Jason Lytle’s free songs on the interwebs. He asks you to consider donating to this cause in lieu of paying for the tunes.

He offers the demos from Just Like The Fambly Cat (2006) (review), as well as an acoustic charity show of him solo. The demos are fun. And though die-hards will of course like him solo, I’m having a difficult time listening to him sing Chartsengrafs when I could listen to the band’s amazing rock-out version on this live YouTube.

For another couple listens to G-daddy songs, in case you missed them the first time around, YouTube Hewlett’s Daughter and/or The Crystal Lake. Very tasty.

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Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead

Currently artists on RIAA-affiliated labels get 13% for album sales. The push is for that to decrease to 9% (with Apple pushing for just 4%). I’m no expert; read about it here. So what else is available to artists, and how are consumers responding?

Bands interested in self-determined distribution, keeping 75% of the take, can make such arrangements via INDISTR. CD Baby is another sans-label option that works sort of like Cafe Pressjust-in-time production.

As we all know, Radiohead‘s In Rainbows took the initative to set up a name-your-price roll out, and people are paying way more than they have to for the thing, due to shame or guilt or a feeling of social responsibility or a feeling of connection to the artist. The economics are fascinating. Nine Inch NailsGhosts I-IV is available free on BitTorrent or for five dollars on Amazon mp3. Hard copies of each are fancy and expensive, for the hard core fans. This combo of digital and box set has been wildly lucrative for these wildly popular bands. Both bands are rocking Amazon’s mp3 sales chart and last.fm’s charts.

CASH Music looks to be a promising way to follow in Radiohead’s footsteps by letting fans choose a price. Or bands can use a site like Amie Street that charges according to the popularity of a track.

There are ways to make money that do not involve actually selling music. Free music can work using the right promotional/business model, keeping in mind people who download songs do not necessarily represent a lost sale; they probably wouldn’t have bought the song if that were their only choice and might spend money on the band in some other way or at least influence its popularity. Other ways of making money: concert tickets, merchandise, asking for donations, and now investing directly in a band so they can circumvent record companies. Read this great article about direct band investment companies SellaBand and slicethepie. Also, indie labels and some bands are using RCRD LBL, article here, which hosts free mp3 downloads and pays the band from advertising revenue from the site’s very savvy sponsors. Way cool.

However, the underlying assumption of all of these models and alt-distro-options is that people have piles of disposable income and leisure time. In the first world, bands can get people to pay a price commensurate to their level of established popularity. But what about consumers in burgeoning markets, such as China, et al., who 1) have more depressed economies and less disposable income and 2) no market value, real or remembered, for music entrenched in the culture. Tunes (and other media) are free or sold for a pittance; there’s no good old days of $16 discs to refer back to as a benchmark. So cutting lose the value of songs to the market’s whimsy won’t work the same there.

For instance, “The labels say that piracy has made the effort [of releasing records in China] futile. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a trade group, estimates that 85 percent of the CDs sold in China are counterfeit. Leong Mayseey, the federation’s regional director for Asia, says the piracy rate for downloaded songs is close to 100 percent.”

I think the answer in burgeoning markets such as China is probably going to be something akin to RCRD LBL’s model; tunes will probably have to be paid for by advertising, not sales. I base this on the way that bands are making money touring in China. Ticket prices are lower there, necessarily, based on income, and so shows’ revenues are supplemented with sponsorship deals. Also, the culture is geared differently, not to the cult of personality for frontmen/bands but to the cult of the brand, according to this NYTimes article: “Here there are virtually no artists who have more credibility than the brands. Coke is a lot cooler brand than any young musician today in China.”

So, really, what will work in China? What else can the music industry use as a benchmark to model solutions domestically and abroad? Will some B-school student quit messing around with his or her PowerPoint presentation and try to glean some lessons for us from some other industry breaking into the Chinese market, like tennis shoes? Yao Ming might have some ideas … great article here.

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Top-Shelf Jukebox Songs

So I’m chalking my pool cue at the pub this loverly St. Patrick’s Day, and I says to my friend, I says, “List of the best jukebox tunes? …”

Billie Jean
– Michael Jackson
Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) – Looking Glass
Roxanne – The Police
Superstition – Stevie Wonder
Fishing in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Cecilia – Simon and Garfunkel
Fire and Rain – James Taylor
Gloria – Van Morrison
Black Betty – Ram Jam
Amie – Pure Prairie League
Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
Melissa – The Allman Brothers Band
The Weight – The Band
Can’t You See – The Marshall Tucker Band
Proud Mary – Creedence Clearwater Revival (sorry Tina)
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin
Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who
Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
War – Edwin Starr
After Midnight – Eric Clapton
Come Together – The Beatles
Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones
All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
Somebody to Love – Jefferson Airplane
Black Water – The Doobie Brothers
American Pie – Don McLean
Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2
Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ – The Velvet Underground

1990s:
No Rain – Blind Melon
Self Esteem – The Offspring
Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet
Say It Isn’t So – Weezer
Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden
Heaven Beside You – Alice in Chains
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
Bound for the Floor – Local H
In the Meantime – Spacehog
Hunger Strike – Temple of the Dog
Santa Monica – Everclear
Creep – Radiohead
Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Lightning Crashes – Live
Super Bon Bon – Soul Coughing
Possum Kingdom – The Toadies
Killing Me Softly – The Fugees
Time Bomb – Rancid
What I Got – Sublime
If You Could Only See – Tonic
Closing Time – Semisonic
Hey Man, Nice Shot – Filter
Mr. Jones – Counting Crows
1979 – Smashing Pumpkins
Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam
Pepper – Butthole Surfers
Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart – Stone Temple Pilots
Machinehead – Bush
Devil’s Haircut – Beck
When I Come Around – Greenday

Bonus:
Hurt – Johnny Cash

Such lists are necessarily, perpetually, horrendously incomplete. Make things right in the comments section!

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There Will Be Blood: Jonny Greenwood

I had the privilege of seeing the film There Will Be Blood this weekend, in which the incredible score was as visible on the screen as the cinematography was melodic. It was adapted by writer/director/producer P.T. Anderson from the first bit of a Upton Sinclair novel, Oil! Online, for free, you can read Sinclair’s The Jungle for your fix of sausages and socialism.

While you read this post, open There Will Be Blood’s website so you can soak up the score, composed by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra. In addition to his Radiohead gig, where he writes some songs, Jonny has been the BBC’s resident composer since 2004. You can listen to his piece for the orchestra titled Popcorn Superhet Receiver (named for a shortwave radio to evoke the white noise of trying to dial in a signal), which is important because excerpts were revamped and included in the score. This pre-movie purpose is the reason the Academy found the score to be ineligible for an Oscar nomination.

Listen to the cut HW Hope of the New Fields on Jonny’s MySpace. But better yet, glimpse clips of the tracks Proven Lands and There Will Be Blood. Proven Lands is exceprted from Popcorn. It’s incredible. It drives the film; it provides the film’s crux; it encapsulates the film. The clip isn’t long enough to show how the percussion spirals apart, in a controlled but certain self-destruction, but you’ll know it when you hear it in the movie.

I left the theater with my brain pulsing the word megalomania, and I was pleased to find this impressive New Yorker article that mobilizes the word monomaniacal. It offers a technical and astute review of the score, including these intricate sentences that manage to address the historical, the personal, the visual, the logistical, the aural, the metaphorical, and the emotional aspects of the film: “…beyond the melodrama of Daniel Plainview’s external rise and internal collapse, [the film] shows a primeval American landscape on the brink of violent transformation. English composers from Elgar and Vaughan Williams onward have lingered lovingly over musical depictions of pastoral hills and fields, implicitly resisting the march of progress. Greenwood, too, writes the music of an injured Earth; if the smeared string glissandos on the soundtrack suggest liquid welling up from underground, the accompanying dissonances communicate a kind of interior, inanimate pain. The cellos cry out most wrenchingly when Plainview scratches his name on a claim, preparing to bleed the land.”

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