Posts Tagged ‘Radiohead’

It seems we’re starting to come out of darker times, it’s been overdue as has new music. In this whole process RCA studios in Nashville has become my new home, where magic just keeps pouring out and into the music. I’m holding on to the album for a few months longer but until then I have this EP for you, a collection of my favourite songs I performed live at RCA studio A earlier in the year.

The singer-songwriter debuted her live recording of “The Bends” track at RCA Studios in Nashville to mark the release of her new live EP, “RCA Studio A Sessions”.

Jade Bird shared her hauntingly beautiful cover of Radiohead’s Black Star this week.

I wanted to release the video of us playing Black Star as I know a lot of you may have seen me playing it in your venue, in your city, and I appreciate you always took a minute to be silent and listen. The lyrics are so beautiful in this song.

Cover of Radiohead’s “Black Star” performed by Jade Bird at RCA Studio A, Nashville.


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Whatever your opinion on Radiohead’s 1995 album ‘The Bends’, it’s impossible to deny it’s cultural importance, responsible for inspiring a generation of musicians. Tackling classics of the genre is always fraught with challenges, and it’s a bold move for an artist who’s really only setting out on a new path of their own.

However, British singer Rosie Carney does exactly that, just a year after releasing her debut album ‘Bare’. Initially, it’s as if you’re hearing a ghostly impression of the original – recognisable and familiar, but still somewhat impalpable – akin to retrieving an old memory buried deep inside your hippocampus. With repeated listens, however, the full memory is easier to grasp, sharper and brighter each time.

Carney somehow manages to capture the raw anguish that pulses throughout much of The Bends but avoids falling into the trap of sounding unnecessarily tragic. Her version of “High and Dry” remains as stripped back as the original, but her lilting folk and subtle harmonies add a warmth that’s difficult to characterise.

For an album that has been charged with feeling a little bit heavy in places, Carney does a striking job of making the whole record surprisingly easy to listen to. “Fake Plastic Trees” gives way to “Bones” which cedes to “(Nice Dream)” as smoothly as the streams that course down the hills around the County Donegal coastline that Carney calls home flow into the sea.

There are a couple of reinventions, such as the vocoder driven “Sulk” and the softer, more dreamlike ‘Black Star’ but really the whole album is a testament to both Radiohead and Carney together. It’s proof of the old adage that a good song is only really a good song if it still sounds that way when everything is stripped back and just an acoustic guitar and vocals remain. Sure, there might be some keys and strings added here too, but they’re subtle and do nothing to detract from the main focus on each track.

As bolds move go, this is one that pays off. By treading where others might not dare Carney has pulled off a stunning coup that not only confirms her as a talented musician in her own right, but one that’s capable of holding a light to giants of the game.

Born in Hampshire, Rosie Carney moved to Donegal at the age of 10. She writes hauntingly beautiful tunes that have earned her millions of streams, and recently covered Radiohead’s classic album The Bends to gorgeous effect. She’s about to feature alongside Julian Stone and Lucy Rose on the new LP from Australian folk-rockers The Paper Kites, who recently hit their billionth stream.

Rosie Carney ‘The Bends’ out now on @Color Study, Release date: 11th December 2020.

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For their ongoing archival video series, Radiohead have shared their pro-shot In Rainbows – From The Basement recording, which originally aired on VH1 in April 2008.

The hour-long performance includes cuts from In Rainbows – released just six months prior – as well as “Myxomatosis,” “Where I End and You Begin,” “The Gloaming,” and “Optimistic.”

Earlier this year, band also debuted their Radiohead Public Library, serving as “a highly curated and organized archive of the band’s catalogue and corresponding visuals and various artifacts associated with each album.” For more information on Radiohead visit their official website.

The VH1 Broadcast of Radiohead’s live performance at The Hospital Club’s TV Studio in London’s Covent Garden, 3rd May 2008, featuring tracks from In Rainbows and older work.

Track Listing:
00:20 Weird Fishes/Arpeggio
05:40 15 Step
09:35 Bodysnatchers
14:00 Nude
18:35 The Gloaming
21:45 Myxomatosis
25:35 House of Cards
31:20 Bangers + Mash
34:50 Optimistic
39:50 Reckoner
44:50 Videotape
49:30 Where I End and You Begin
Bonus Tracks:
54:55 All I Need
59:10 Go Slowly

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Looking across Radiohead members’ solo ventures, Thom Yorke has three albums of his own, the latest being 2019’s ‘ANIMA’; Jonny Greenwood has scored several films, including Paul Thomas Andersen’s ‘There Will Be Blood’; drummer Phil Selway has two records to his name; bassist Colin Greenwood has had the odd deviation from Radiohead duties, but has largely stayed on script. And now Ed O’Brien looks set to break his duck with a debut album in 2020.

Because he is one-fifth of one of the world’s most consistently brilliant and successful bands, it’s a bit jarring to hear that Ed O’Brien still needs to combat the idea that his songs are “shit.” That inner monologue will be familiar to many musicians or creative people working in any medium, an inner critic that tells you whatever it is you’re doing isn’t good enough. But, well, most of our inner critics have a bit more solid evidence to stand on.

There wasn’t years of material. This was all from about summer of 2013 to summer of 2014. I also had to let go of the computer. I don’t respond well to operating as I go along—whether it was Ableton Live or Pro Tools, and they’re great software—but I needed to literally be lost in the moment and not have my engineering head on or whatever. I had a great studio in Oxfordshire which are owned by Radiohead’s management called Courtyard, and there’s a great engineer-producer called Ian Davenport, who’s worked a lot with Gaz Coombes.

His first work as EOB, including lead single ‘Brasil’, is produced by Flood, and is set to feature contributions from Laura Marling, Nathan East and The Invisible’s Dave Okumu, among others. “This feels like the start of something new and truly significant for me,” he told fans on social media in December. He promises to tour the record next year too. Really, I’m excited for the next one. I think every record that you make, you have to be learning, and you’re only learning when you’re out of your comfort zone, and I was out of my comfort zone the whole time.”

Flood and Catherine Marks produced [the record]; Flood produced all of it, Catherine was involved for some of it—and I talked to him a lot about wanting to capture the spirit of a place, and the spirit of this place in Wales, Lands, and to have a fully immersive experience. That we’d eat, sleep, and drink it. I’ve been very fortunate in Radiohead—you know, the first time we did that was with OK Computer—and we’ve done this, this has been a tried and tested route. And what happens is, you kind of get the soul of the record, and you get it in the early stages.

All the same, to hear O’Brien talk about how he was able to silence his own long enough to make “Earth”, his debut solo album released under the EOB moniker, might just help others along their own creative journeys. Conceived while living in Brazil in 2012, begun in earnest in 2013, and recorded in Wales and London with a cast of great musicians, Earth is a testament to an expert collaborator learning how to take control. But it’s no singer-songwriter affair; it’s a rhythmic album, with a pulse that beats even throughout its quietest acoustic moments and rises to festive, electronic heights.

Listen to ‘Earth,’ the new album by EOB (Ed O’Brien of Radiohead).

Lollapalooza Berlin Announces 2016 Line-Up - All Things Loud

Now that you have no choice whether or not you fancy a quiet night in, we hereby present the first of several LIVE SHOWS from the Radiohead Public Library now coming to Radiohead’s YouTube channel:

Radiohead have shared their 2016 performance from Lollapalooza Berlin for their Stay Home, With Me archival video series. The two-set offering took place in September 2016, a few months after the band shared their most recent album A Moon Shaped Pool. In face, the performance kicks off with a string of A Moon Shaped Pool tracks, including album opener “Burn the Witch” followed by “Daydreaming,” “Decks Dark,” “Desert Island Disk” and “Ful Stop.”

Other highlights include a “Creep”/”Karma Police” encore.

From the band:
“We will be releasing one a week until either the restrictions resulting from current situation are eased, or we run out of shows. Which will be first? No-one knows.” Thanks to all who tuned in last week. Next up is Radiohead’s performance at Lollapalooza Berlin from September 2016.

Recorded at Lollapalooza Festival, Treptower Park, Berlin on the 11th of September 2016

00:00:20 Burn the Witch, 00:04:36 Daydreaming, 00:10:15 Decks Dark, 00:15:24 Desert Island Disk, 00:20:22 Ful Stop,00:26:42 2 + 2 = 5, 00:30:12 Lotus Flower, 00:35:29 Reckoner, 00:40:51 No Surprises, 00:44:59 Bloom, 00:51:42 Identikit, 00:56:32 The Numbers, 01:02:19 The Gloaming, 01:06:11 Everything in Its Right Place, 01:10:36 Idioteque
01:15:01 Bodysnatchers, 01:19:25 Street Spirit (Fade Out), 01:26:41 Let Down, 01:31:51 Present Tense, 01:37:43 Paranoid Android, 01:44:13 Nude, 01:49:05 Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, 01:57:29 Creep, 02:02:54 Karma Police

EOB: Earth: CD + Exclusive Signed Art Card

‘Earth’ is an album of rediscovery and adventure by Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, being released under the moniker EOB. Written and recorded over five years during any possible break from the making and touring of Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, the album deftly veers from moments of delicate folk to euphoric house, its songs seamlessly pinned together by unswerving melodic hooks and candid lyricism.  Portishead’s Adrian Utley appears on two tracks, whilst Laura Marling duets with O’Brien on stirring closer “Cloak of The Night.” But every group of collaborators needs a leader, and Earth is all O’Brien’s vision.

The album deftly veers from moments of delicate folk to euphoric house, its songs seamlessly pinned together by unswerving melodic hooks and candid lyricism.A spirit of collaboration runs through ‘Earth’ from the production team of Flood, Catherine Marks, Alan Moulder and Adam ‘Cecil’ Bartlett to the extraordinary musicians O’Brien assembled to bring these tracks to life; bassist Nathan East, drummers Omar Hakim and Glenn Kotche, and The Invisible’s multi-instrumentalist leader David Okumu. 

“I wanted to make a record from the heart,” he says. “I wanted to make something direct. I wanted to talk about love, your family in the immediate and the wider sense, where we are on the planet, the bigger picture, life and death. I wanted to make a big hearted, warm and colorful album… something hopeful and full of love.”Featuring the singles “Shangri-La”, which sways between syncopated beats and twisted rock, and “Brasil”, a track that morphs from a tender opening into a heightened-state rhythmic banger, ‘Earth’ marks a new beginning for Ed O’Brien.

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we’ve been hacked
my archived mini discs from 1995-1998(?)
it’s not v interesting, there’s a lot of itif you want it, you can buy the whole lot here
18 minidisks for £18
the proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellionas it’s out there,it may as well be out there
until we all get bored
and move on
Released June 11, 2019
The 18 tracks of raw audio are identified only by numbers “MD111” through “MD128,” so discovering what songs are actually on the discs will be an Easter egg hunt, though some fans have been cataloging it on a shared Google doc. Greenwood says the recordings will only be available for the next 18 days. “Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computerreissue) it’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long.”


It probably wouldn’t be all that exciting to hear 18 hours of process recordings by most artists, but Radiohead in the late ‘90s is an exception. This is partly because they were willing to take big swings in terms of arrangements, and it’s just interesting to hear them, say, try “Karma Police” with a dub reggae groove and give up halfway through. But it’s mostly because this archive of material is a document of them denying a lot of their own instincts and impulses in the interest of pushing towards a bolder evolution.

This takes a few different forms in the archive. In some cases, you get recordings of Thom Yorke seemingly improvising songs off the top of his head and you can hear the sort of melodies and chords he reaches for when he’s not really thinking and acting on a sort of muscle memory. There’s also a lot of full-band improvisations and abandoned songs in which in retrospect it’s pretty obvious they’re just getting various influences out of their system, whether it’s yet another standard 80s-style alt-rock song, or them going into a funk jam for 11 minutes just to see if anything cool happens. Then there’s just a lot of rejected arrangements and approaches to songs – you really get a sense of how “Airbag” evolved in particular, and how they pushed it from a rote “High & Dry”-esque ballad into something that still sounds quite futuristic and progressive over 20 years later.

Then there’s “Lift.” It’s pretty clear they knew that “Lift” was a very commercial song, but one where if it was indeed successful would push them in a rather square direction that would ultimately become Coldplay’s entire lane as a band. It’s a beautiful song in any arrangement, and triggers big emotions even as Yorke seems to undermine his own song with odd lyrics when the melody seems to call out for something more sentimental and direct. There’s a few versions of “Lift” in the minidisc archive, including an unmastered studio recording that is batched along with the full unmastered OK Computer and most of its b-sides, suggesting that the song came awfully close to being included or released on one of the singles.

The recording of “Lift” posted here is the best of all the known versions; the one where they get out of their own way and just let the song be as big and emotional as it wants to be. They’re leaning into every musical impulse they’re trying to get away from in this period, and it’s beautiful and unguarded. Thom sings with earnest passion, and Jonny Greenwood is unashamed to pile on a ton of synthesized strings to tug at your heartstrings. Maybe this, like that funk jam, was just a way of getting some impulses out of their system. I get why they felt a need to discard this and move on, but I’m very glad we have this recording now. It’s absolutely wonderful on its own terms.

After 18 hours of unreleased material from OK Computer’s recording sessions last week, and the band was reportedly extorted for $ 150,000, Radiohead has now decided to download the material for 18 days at Bandcamp for a £ 18 price To make available. All proceeds go to the Extinction Rebellion movement, which uses civil disobedience against the mass extinction of animals and plants as a result of the climate crisis.

Image result for the rolling stone mobile studio images

Mobile recording studios have a longer history than you might think. As early as the 1920s, record companies in both the U.K. and the U.S. were experimenting with location recording, albeit with incredibly primitive equipment. This was the pre-magnetic tape era, after all.

In the U.K., the pioneer was EMI, closely followed by its chief rival, Decca. The purpose, for the most part, was to record live concerts of classical music, and while the equipment changed out of recognition during the following 30 years or so, that purpose remained: to capture live performances.

By the time rock music arrived around the mid ’60s, a new generation of mobile studios appeared that would capture some of the most important recordings of the era. And curiously, most of them were not recordings of live gigs. That was because the mobile studio soon became used as much for the freedom it offered artists to record in domestic locations as for capturing their stage performances.

Digital technology has helped bring about the demise of the mobile truck since the turn of the millennium. Now, artists can of course record on devices as small as an iPad (to name but one famous example, Damon Albarn recorded the Gorillaz album The Fall in just that way). Even if you don’t want to be quite as stripped-down as Albarn, a laptop armed with plugins and a small digital mixer can offer almost as much as a fully fledged mobile studio at far less cost.

However, before the mobile trucks rumbled off into the distance, the freedom they provided in that short period produced some remarkable recordings. Here are six of them.

The Who, Live at Leeds (1970)

This album, still regarded by many critics as the finest live rock LP ever, was originally designed to be Live at Hull and Leeds. It was recorded by the Pye Records mobile on eight-track analogue tape machines installed beneath the auditorium in a cloakroom. At this stage, mobile trucks were used simply to carry recording equipment to a gig. That equipment then had to be removed, assembled, and used in whatever space could be found.

With nothing more than split cables from the vocal, speaker, and drum microphones, the two recordings were plagued with technical problems. Some of the bass track from Hull was lost, and the Leeds concert suffered from crackles, which have caused controversy ever since. Years later, when the crackles were erased using digital wizardry, some fans objected that they removed the authenticity of the recordings.

Originally released as a single six-track vinyl LP, Live At Leeds has since appeared in many incarnations, some with and some without the infamous crackles. The Hull gig recorded the night before (February 13th) has been released, too, with John Entwistle’s missing bass parts replaced with carefully synced recordings from Leeds. There are those who claim that Live At Hull 1970 is even better than the raw and powerful Live At Leeds. They can both be heard on the 40th Anniversary collectors’ edition.

Led Zeppelin, IV (1971)

You could toss a coin over whether Led Zeppelin’s III or IV was the more significant album, but it doesn’t really matter for our purposes—both made very extensive use of the Rolling Stones Mobile (RSM) and were released before two other other landmark RSM recordings, the Stones’ Exile On Main St. and Deep Purple’s Machine Head.

A former 18th-century poorhouse, Headley Grange in Hampshire was the chosen venue, as it had been for much of Zeppelin III. The majestic sound of John Bonham’s drums—sampled a thousand times and still used today—was created in wood-paneled Headley Grange with a pair of distant Neumann condenser mics. It has probably never been equalled.

The Rolling Stones, Exile On Main St. (1972)

Just as The Who’s Live At Leeds is regarded by some as their finest hour, so the Stones’ Exile On Main St. stands as a testament to the band at its peak—even if a wobbly one at times.

In 1970, Mick Jagger bought Stargroves, a country house in Hampshire. The band’s pianist and tour manager, Ian Stewart, suggested that in order to make full use of it, they needed their own mobile studio. This saw the birth of the most famous truck of them all, the Rolling Stones Mobile. It is one of the few things you can use the word legendary about without risk of exaggeration.

Unlike earlier trucks, the Stones Mobile had a control room inside the vehicle, so it really could go anywhere and do almost anything. The band used it to record most of the Sticky Fingers album, and a year later, beset with taxation problems, they decamped to the Villa Nellcôte in the South of France, with the RSM following.

The sessions that followed have become the stuff of rock legend and lore. Beside the technical problems imposed by an unsuitable recording environment—a cramped, damp basement—and compounded by an erratic power supply, the band’s “personal issues” should have made the resulting album a shambles. Indeed, engineer Andy Johns described them as “the worst band in the world” for much of the time. But somehow, in true Stones fashion, what emerged from the chaos was one of rock’s most memorable and charismatic albums. It just reeks of authenticity thanks, at least in part, to the location and the way in which most of it was recorded.

Deep Purple, Machine Head 1972

If Exile On Main St. really put the Stones Mobile on the map, it was Deep Purple who immortalized it in “Smoke On The Water.” The song recalls the night in 1971 when the Casino in Montreux, Switzerland burned down following a gig by Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention.

The plan had been to record the next Deep Purple album in the Casino, but the fire put paid to that. A couple of other venues in the town were hastily found for the recording sessions, which produced, among others, “Smoke On The Water,” the lyrics of which refer to the RSM as “the Rolling truck Stones thing.”

The Who, Quadrophenia 1973

On the face of it, this seems an unlikely album to have emerged from a mobile studio, and in fact it was made at an unlikely location, too. Ronnie Lane’s Mobile (known as the LMS) was parked in Battersea, south-west London for much of the recording of Quadrophenia, in an urban jungle outside a still uncompleted Ramport Studios, which The Who were in the process of building.

Ronnie Lane, the ex-Faces bass player, had chosen an American Airstream trailer for his mobile studio, and Bad Company, Led Zeppelin (notably on Physical Graffiti), Rick Wakeman, and Eric Clapton were just some of the musicians who would make excellent use of it. Of all the British golden-era mobiles, Lane’s was one of the most successful.

Radiohead, OK Computer 1997

There were many impressive albums recorded using mobile studios between The Who’s Live At Leeds in 1970 and Radiohead’s OK Computer in 1997, and there were more mobiles than we have space to include here, among them Jethro Tull’s Maison Rouge, Virgin’s Manor Mobile, and Mickie Most’s RAK.

By the late ’90s, however, the era of the truck was coming to an end—and OK Computer provides fitting mood music. Relatively inexpensive and highly portable digital equipment and computers meant that the need for a large studio on wheels was passing.

In fact, OK Computer wasn’t recorded using a truck at all, but it epitomizes why mobile trucks had been so popular: location recording enabled a band to work at their own pace, in their own way, in an environment completely unlike an essentially sterile fixed-site studio.

For this album, which Rolling Stone described as “the last masterpiece of the alt-rock movement,” Radiohead were given a reputed £100,000 by their record company. Their producer Nigel Goodrich used it to buy recording equipment for use in St Catherine’s Court, a spectacular manor house near Bath in Somerset, owned at the time by actress Jane Seymour. In the same way that the natural acoustics of Headley Grange helped Led Zeppelin achieve astonishing looseness, vitality, and depth, so St Catherine’s Court added its brooding presence to a haunted, dark, and troubled album.

One thing binds together the albums featured here: none of them could have been made in a traditional fixed-location recording studio. In the case of recordings of gigs, it’s obvious why that should be. But a common quality shared by the albums featured here is the live ambience of an environment that wasn’t carefully designed to sound neutral. In the age of Pro Tools sameness, that is definitely something to be cherished.

There is another angle, too. Musicians often complain that “clocking in” to record every day is too much like going to work, especially in a traditional city-center studio. In a residential location, they can not only experiment with different sounds but also socialize and make music in a freer and more creative way. You may not be able to quantify that.

The closest thing we have to a proper Radiohead live album, “I Might Be Wrong” documents how the band transforms its intricate songs for the stage—an especially tricky feat when talking about the moody, unconventional tracks of the Kid A and Amnesiac era. Some are redone here completely: The unearthly, backward-playing “Like Spinning Plates” becomes a glowing piano ballad, while the free-jazz horns of “The National Anthem” are replaced with Thom Yorke’s frantic beatboxing. Others, like “Morning Bell” and “Idioteque” are tweaked just enough to turn them from chilly and ominous to furious and alarming. The whole thing concludes with what was, for ages, the only official release of “True Love Waits” a mythical fan-favorite live staple that’s forever preserved here in its original, acoustic-guitar-driven form

Radiohead - In Rainbows

When a band you once feared dead returns out of nowhere with one of their greatest albums, it feels a little like a resurrection. So Radiohead fans around the globe enjoyed a collective rush of euphoria in the early morning hours of October. 10th, 2007, when the band emailed out downloads of their first album in more than four years.

Radiohead worked on In Rainbows for more than two years, beginning in early 2005. In mid-2006, after their initial recording sessions with new producer Spike Stent proved fruitless, the band toured Europe and North America performing In Rainbows material before re-enlisting their longtime producer Nigel Godrich. The album is more personal than previous Radiohead albums, with singer Thom Yorke describing most of the songs as his versions of “seduction songs”. Radiohead incorporated a variety of musical styles and instruments, using electronic instruments, string arrangements, piano, and the ondes Martenot.

As In Rainbows hit the inboxes of everyone who’d pre-ordered it — for a price of the buyer’s choosing, in a somewhat revolutionary show of goodwill on Radiohead’s part .

In Rainbows  the seventh studio album  their first release after their recording contract with EMI ended with their previous album Hail to the Thief (2003). It was a surprise in several senses, and many of them had nothing to do with the sounds contained therein. After a brief hiatus, some public struggles to find their way forward in the studio, and a blossoming of side projects that suggested the band could be finished, the biggest surprise at that time was that a new Radiohead album existed at all. The band also released In Rainbows without a label, announced it just 10 days before its release, and didn’t share any songs ahead of time a unusual and minimal rollout by today’s standards and practically unheard of in that time . Even more radical was the pay-what-you-want scheme, which set off all kinds of debates about the viability of such a plan for smaller artists and the value of recorded music going forward.

In conjunction with its release and the absence of a record-label middleman, the payment-optional approach was Radiohead’s way of both accepting and subverting the reality of album leaks, which had compromised the rollout of their previous LP. Thom Yorke and friends weren’t about to have college radio stations blasting lo-fi MP3s of their new album weeks before the release date again. By tightly controlling everything except the price point, the band seemed to be telling listeners, “OK, you can have the music for free if you wish, but you’ll have it on our terms.” Not that the band ever really risked losing money on this gambit. Hardcore fans like myself shelled out big bucks for deluxe vinyl with an entire second CD of music, a package that ensured Radiohead would still be richly rewarded for their efforts. And when the experiment ran its course and TBD Records gave In Rainbows a conventional physical release the following year, it still sold enough copies to debut at #1 in the US and UK, rendering the project a win for Radiohead on all commercial fronts.

The strategy was fascinating and worthy of examination, but it unfortunately came to overshadow the album’s creative achievements. For students of the music business and most casual observers, the mode of release is the album’s legacy. In Rainbows was another batch of classics and consider how they fit within the arc of the band’s catalogue. Not including “Last Flowers”, which Yorke recorded in the Eraser sessions, the In Rainbows sessions produced 16 songs. After the 56-minute, 14-track Hail to the Thief, Radiohead wanted their seventh album to be concise;[ they settled on ten songs, saving a further six tracks (not counting short instrumentals) for the limited edition “discbox” release. Fans could order a limited “discbox” edition from, containing the album on CD and two 12″ heavyweight 45 rpm vinyl records with artwork and lyric booklets, plus an enhanced CD with eight additional tracks, digital photos and artwork, packaged in a hardcover book and slipcase. The “discbox” edition was shipped on 3rd December 2007. In June 2009, Radiohead made the second In Rainbows disc available for download on their website for £6

There are days when In Rainbows sounds like the best Radiohead album. It’s definitely in contention with 1995’s The Bends as the band’s most approachable, compulsively listenable release — the one you can just put on and enjoy without turning it into a full-blown immersive experience, the one that will meet you wherever you’re at and be beautiful in your presence. It absolutely holds together as a coherent statement, 10 songs inspired by related themes and woven from a shared sonic fabric. Yet you never get the sense you’re beholding some epic musical journey á la OK Computer or Kid A, the other albums I’m most likely to name as Radiohead’s crowning achievements. .

That In Rainbows sounded this way was nearly as unexpected as its method of release. Here was their poppiest, most guitar-based collection of songs in more than a decade, a pronounced swerve away from the chilly electronics and crushing paranoia that had been a hallmark of their sound since OK Computer and swallowed it up completely on Kid A and Amnesiac. In hindsight, the group had already edged back toward guitars on 2003 career overture Hail To The Thief, an album that begins with the hard-rocking “2+2=5″ and includes the soaring career highlight “There There” among other six-string excursions. But those were part of a wide-ranging patchwork, whereas this album largely nudged electronics into the background in favor of an upbeat, organic sound, frequently accented by Jonny Greenwood’s orchestral arrangements but firmly grounded in the sound of a guitar-driven rock combo.

In Rainbows presented Radiohead with an unprecedented warmth as it found their singer exploring a more mature version of the sad sack from “Creep.” There are bittersweet tracks, like the fatalistic torch song “Nude” and the brisk yet self-loathing schoolyard chant “15 Step” and the clattering power ballad “Reckoner,” a treatise on facing down death. And there are angry tracks, like the powerhouse rock rave-up “Bodysnatchers” and the acoustic-orchestral pocket suite “Faust Arp.” No song ever fully gives into its darker impulses, though. The feeling when the band queues up “15 Step” or rips into “Bodysnatchers” in concert is pure visceral elation, and the lingering memory of “Nude” and “Faust Arp” and especially “Reckoner” is not ache so much as aching beauty.

And then there are the love songs. Most of the favorite tracks on In Rainbows are the ones on which Yorke risks an emotional wipeout by giving himself over to entirely to breathless affection, songs that revel in real or imagined romantic bliss even as they acknowledge life’s bitter realities. “Weird Fishes (Arpeggi)” gorgeously captures the feeling of being possessed by attraction only to be left unsatisfied yet again, its plaintive guitar needlework building to a transcendent climax then careening off a cliff and into the depths. The darkly swooning “All I Need” traces similar paths; as Yorke professes his unrequited desire for a woman who seems to be missing him in plain sight, the song’s remarkably straightforward structure culminates in an overwhelming wave of melancholy.

“House Of Cards,” Radiohead’s idea of a sexy slow jam, is probably the tenderest song in Yorke’s catalog. “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” details the flickering passion of a barroom flirtation against a locomotive backbeat that very much recalls a bar band. And as In Rainbows draws to a close, the deconstructed piano ballad “Videotape” returns to the themes of fleeting ecstasy and creeping death. The lyrics are basically Yorke putting a morbid twist on Lou Reed, realizing this “perfect day” with a friend or lover will be part of the highlights montage when his life flashes before his eyes.

Many of us have had a similar epiphany moment while listening to In Rainbows. One last surprise to consider is how well this album holds up 10 years later. It felt like a private gift at first, overflowing with delights but too minor in scale and conservative in style to qualify as the latest Radiohead masterpiece. To return to it more than any other Radiohead album, and its tracklist is as stunning front to back as any of the group’s other elite LPs. A decade down the line, with two more albums in the rearview, it’s becoming increasingly clear that In Rainbows deserves to be in the conversation when discussing Radiohead’s finest recorded work.

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