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kottke.org posts about radiohead

Radiohead: Lift

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 14, 2017

What’s that? You want to see Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke riding in an elevator accompanied by a revolving cast of odd people getting on and off at even stranger floors of an apartment building? Ok, here you go. The song is fan-favorite Lift, which was first recorded in the late 90s but not officially released until this year on OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017. The video contains a few Easter eggs for hardcode fans, including some cameos:

Perhaps some of Radiohead’s notoriously devoted fans will recognize Thom Yorke’s girlfriend, Italian actress Dajana Roncione, in the opening of the band’s new music video for “Lift.” Accompanying her, and pushing all of the buttons on the lift, is Yorke’s daughter Agnes.

The hidden rhythm in Radiohead’s “Videotape”

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 04, 2017

In her first installment for a new Vox series called Earworm, Estelle Caswell takes a look at some weird musical stuff happening with Videotape, a song off of Radiohead’s In Rainbows. According to a longer video by Warren Lain referenced by Caswell, Radiohead has hidden a syncopated rhythm in the song that even the band members have trouble keeping straight when they’re trying to play it. Videotape is my favorite song on that album…maybe this is a reason why?

Also, don’t miss the short explanation of how “rhythmic sound synchronizes the brain waves of groups of people”. !!!

Radiohead hid an old school computer program on their new album

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 19, 2017

As if you already didn’t know that Radiohead are a bunch of big ole nerds, there’s an easter egg on a cassette tape included in the Boxed Edition of OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017. At the end of the tape recording, there are some blips and bleeps, which Maciej Korsan interpreted correctly as a program for an old computer system.

As a kid I was an owner of the Commodore 64. I remember that all my friends already were the PC users but my parents declined to buy me one for a long time. So I sticked to my old the tape-based computer listening to it’s blips and waiting for the game to load. Over 20 years later I was sitting in front of my MacBook, listening to the digitalised version of the tape my favourite band just released and then I’ve heard a familiar sound… ‘This must be an old computer program, probably C64 one’ I thought.

The program turned out to run on the ZX Spectrum, a computer the lads would likely have encountered as kids.

Three synched performances of Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 10, 2017

Radiohead has performed Fake Plastic Trees at the Glastonbury Festival three times: in 1997, 2003, and 2017. This video synchs all three performances into one, with the audio switching between the three. (via web curios)

Old new Radiohead: I Promise

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 05, 2017

OK Computer is 20 years old and to mark the occasion, Radiohead is reissuing the album with three previously unreleased songs from that era (as well as eight B-sides). The album is now available for pre-order and will be released on June 23, but one of the unreleased songs, I Promise, is out now on Spotify, YouTube (see above) and elsewhere.

Using data science to find the most depressing Radiohead songs

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 22, 2017

Saddest Radiohead Song

Radiohead is data scientist Charlie Thompson’s favorite band and he recently employed his professional skills to determine Radiohead’s most depressing songs and albums. Using data from Spotify and Genius, he analyzed and weighted how sad each song sounded musically and the sadness of the lyrics.

While valence serves as an out-of-the box measure of musical sentiment, the emotions behind song lyrics are much more elusive. To find the most depressing song, I used sentiment analysis to pick out words associated with sadness. Specifically, I used tidytext and the NRC lexicon, based on a crowd-sourced project by the National Research Council Canada. This lexicon contains an array of emotions (sadness, joy, anger, surprise, etc.) and the words determined to most likely elicit them.

Unsurprisingly, True Love Waits is Radiohead’s saddest song and Moon Shaped Pool its saddest album. You can play with this interactive chart to see all of the results. I thought Videotape would score lower on the Gloom Index…along with True Love Waits, it’s my go-to Radiohead song for wallowing in the darkness of my life. (via @RichardWestenra)

Brahms vs. Radiohead

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 06, 2017

Steve Hackman, aka Stereo Hideout, composes, arranges, and conducts mashups of orchestral music and pop music. Not just mixes on Soundcloud, mind you, but entirely new compositions that are played by actual orchestras. The video embedded above is Brahms Symphony No. 1 mixed with Radiohead’s OK Computer but he’s also done a few others that are available on YouTube: Copland vs Bon Iver, Beethoven vs Coldplay, and Bartok vs Bjork. Hackman’s next project in this vein? Tchaikovsky vs Drake, which he’s premiering with the Pittsburgh Symphony in March. (thx, spencer)

Update: Here’s a trailer from Tchaikovsky vs Drake:

I wish I lived closer to Pittsburgh…I’d totally go.

The western rock covers in Westworld

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 03, 2016

I haven’t quite figured out if HBO’s new show Westworld is any good or not,1 but I’m sticking with it at least through the first season. One of the fun things about the show — ok, maybe the only fun thing, Westworld takes itself pretty seriously — is the western-style covers of rock songs by the likes of Radiohead, Soundgarden, and The Rolling Stones. There’s a mini playlist of the main theme and some of the covers — Paint It Black by the Stones and Radiohead’s No Surprises — up on Spotify.

Oh, and here’s one of the most popular fan theories out there: the multiple timeline theory.

Update: The entire “two-disk” album from season 1 is up, which includes original music as well as covers like Radiohead’s Exit Music (For a Film). LOL.

  1. The show is giving off some serious Lost vibes. Lost, if you’ll remember, started off very strong and then the people running the show got lost themselves and had no idea how to keep the whole thing from being an incoherent wreck. Thinking they’d turn it around somehow, I watched until the very end, and, disgusted by the ending, have never thought about it again, except in a context like this. Westworld, don’t play me like that!

Radiohead plays Let Down for the first time in 10 years

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 02, 2016

Until their first show at Madison Square Garden in NYC last week, Radiohead hadn’t played Let Down off of OK Computer in concert since 2006. I was lucky enough to be in attendance and some collective shit was lost over this, I tell you what. They’ve since played it at all three of their subsequent shows. (They’ve also played Creep twice in the past week, which is also rare.)

Here’s the full set list from that night, which is mainly just for me in 28 years when this is the last remaining page on the internet with this info.

Burn the Witch
Daydreaming
Decks Dark
Desert Island Disk
Ful Stop
Lotus Flower
The National Anthem
15 Step
No Surprises
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief
Separator
Planet Telex
The Numbers
2 + 2 = 5
Everything in Its Right Place
Myxomatosis
Idioteque

Encore:
Let Down
Present Tense
Paranoid Android
Nude
Bodysnatchers

Encore 2:
Bloom
Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Update: Here’s a video from when they played it in 2006 in Wolverhampton:

(via @jamsandwich)

A rare live performance of Creep by Radiohead

posted by Jason Kottke   May 24, 2016

Creep is perhaps Radiohead’s best known song, especially in the US. But the band is a bit ashamed of it, so they don’t play it all that often. They played it last night at a show in Paris for the first time since 2009. When I saw them in 2001, they played it for the first time since 1998 (and it was awesome).

There’s a certain point in everyone’s life when they’re unable to appreciate their younger selves. Between this and putting True Love Waits on their latest album, perhaps Radiohead has become more accepting of the band they used to be. The genie’s out of the bottle, mates, you might as well use the wishes.

A list of Radiohead’s entertaining business names

posted by Jason Kottke   May 13, 2016

Radiohead compartmentalizes various parts of its overall business dealings into several smaller companies. Here are some of them as detailed in this Guardian article.

Random Rubbish LTD
LLLP LLP
Over Normal LTD
Ticker Tape LTD
Unsustainabubble LTD
Unreliable LTD
_Xurbia_ Xendless LTD

You could whip up a really good Radiohead Business Name or Radiohead Song Title? quiz with these.

Every Radiohead album and song ranked from best to worst

posted by Jason Kottke   May 12, 2016

On the occasion of the release of Radiohead’s latest album, Consequence of Sound has ranked every album and every song by the band. I won’t tell you the exact order, but Kid A, In Rainbows, and OK Computer are their top 3 albums (spot on…Kid A is my #1) and Airbag, The National Anthem,1 Fake Plastic Trees, and Everything In Its Right Place make the top 10 songs (mine is Everything In Its Right Place or maybe the live version of True Love Waits).

  1. My kids and I were listening to Kid A in the car last summer and when The National Anthem came on, Ollie read the display, scratched his head, and said, “this is a really weird version of the national anthem.”

Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool

posted by Jason Kottke   May 08, 2016

Radiohead Moon Pool

Radiohead’s ninth studio album is out and it’s called A Moon Shaped Pool (with a studio version of True Love Waits!). You can buy it directly from the band or on iTunes. The album is also on Apple Music but doesn’t appear to be on Spotify yet…dunno whether it will show up there later. There’s a special edition that ships in September that will have two extra tracks.

Update: The names of the tracks are in alphabetical order. I’ve just started listening, but they didn’t think track order was important? Lemonade this is not, I guess.

Update: From Buzzfeed’s list of 37 Things You Might Not Know About Radiohead, these two tidbits about A Moon Shaped Pool:

36. At the end of the track “Daydreaming” off the new album, Yorke’s voice is played backwards, singing the lyric “half of my life” over and over. Yorke, 47, was divorced from his wife last year after 23 years of marriage.

37. “True Love Waits” was originally recorded when Thom Yorke was first married. The fact that it has only now turned up as the final track on an album released following the end of his 23-year marriage is, well, devastating. The first word on A Moon Shaped Pool is “Stay” … the last is “Leave.”

Radiohead and PT Anderson collaborate on Daydreaming

posted by Jason Kottke   May 06, 2016

Let’s not bury the lede here…Radiohead’s new album will be out on Sunday, May 8th at 2pm ET. !!!

The video is by Paul Thomas Anderson for Radiohead’s second single, Daydreaming (buy direct, listen at Spotify, etc.) Why PT Anderson? Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood did the soundtrack for Anderson’s There Will Be Blood.

Update: In my haste to post this earlier, I forgot that Greenwood has done the music for several of Anderson’s projects, including The Master and Inherent Vice. (thx, all)

Burn the Witch by Radiohead

posted by Jason Kottke   May 03, 2016

Two days ago, Radiohead withdrew its forces from the internet. Today, they dropped a new video on YouTube. The rest of the new album soon? Please?

Update: It’s on Spotify now and available for sale on Radiohead’s site and iTunes. Also, I am liking this song a lot.

Radiohead’s James Bond theme

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 05, 2016

Radiohead were commissioned to write the theme song for Spectre, the newest James Bond movie. The movie’s producers decided to go in a different musical direction, so the band recently put the rejected song up on Soundcloud. Enjoy. (via df)

Update: They took the full version down from Soundcloud but it’s up on Spotify.

A cover of Radiohead’s Creep by Prince

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 07, 2015

Prince covered Radiohead’s Creep at the Coachella music festival in 2008. The video got yanked due to copyright infringement but it’s back up. For the moment anyway and perhaps forever…Prince’s Twitter account linked to it. (via @anildash (who else??))

Radiohead + D’Angelo = OK LADY

posted by Tim Carmody   Sep 11, 2015

A brand-new, free-to-listen/download covers/mashup medley EP from Roman GianArthur, featuring labelmate Janelle Monae on the beautiful duet “NO SURPR:SES.”

D’Angelo and Radiohead: it’s two great late-90s/early-00s/still-pretty-damn-good-in-10s tastes that taste great together!

(via Wired and elsewhere)

Thom Yorke sings a pre-Radiohead version of High and Dry

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 27, 2015

While the members of On A Friday, the band that later became Radiohead, were on a break as they attended college, Thom Yorke was a member of a band called Headless Chickens. This is a video of a circa-1989 performance by the band of “High and Dry”, a song that later on Radiohead’s second album, The Bends, released in 1995.

Radiohead x Cubicolor x Jamie xx

posted by Jason Kottke   May 12, 2015

Really enjoying this chill remix of Radiohead’s Reckoner by Cubicolor this morning.

The band hasn’t shared anything in over three years, but Radiohead does have a Soundcloud account full of remixes of their stuff, including this remix of Bloom by Jamie xx:

Speaking of Jamie xx, a new track from his upcoming album dropped yesterday. I’ve been wearing out his preview album on Rdio for the past couple of weeks. Good Times. (via @naveen)

Inherent Vice soundtrack

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 17, 2014

The soundtrack for PT Anderson’s Inherent Vice is now on Spotify, well all except for one song. The album is even more partially on Rdio. For the whole thing, you’ll have to head to Amazon.

The fifth track, Spooks, is a variation of a Radiohead song that’s never been officially released. (via @naserca)

First photo of Radiohead

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 25, 2013

Technically this photo was taken several years (probably in 1986 or 1987) before Radiohead officially came to be, but it features four out of the five members, back when the group was called On a Friday.

Early Radiohead

From left to right, Thom Yorke, Phil Selway, Ed O’Brien, and Colin Greenwood. This occasion marked one of the last times that Yorke smiled for a photo. (via buzzfeed)

Weezer covers Paranoid Android

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 01, 2011

Depending on how you feel about Weezer and Radiohead, this is either the best thing in the world or nails on a chalkboard.

(via devour)

Radiohead, bigger than The Beatles?

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 22, 2011

Tim Carmody gives props to Radiohead for their rare combination of longevity and relevance.

Still, I think music fans and cultural observers need to grapple with this a little: Radiohead’s first album, Pablo Honey, came out 18 years ago. Here’s another way to think about it: when that album came out, I was 13; now I’m 31. And from at least The Bends to the present, they’ve commanded the attention of the musical press and the rock audience as one of the top ten — or higher — bands at any given moment. You might have loved Radiohead, you might have been bored by them, you might have wished they’d gone back to an earlier style you liked better, but you always had to pay attention to them, and know where you stood. For 18 years. That’s an astonishing achievement.

As Anil has his hands busy with a new baby, I’ll wade in here and point out that Tim’s examples don’t include any pop, rap, R&B, or hip hop. Jay-Z hasn’t been around as long as Radiohead, but he’s getting there. The Beastie Boys had at least 15 years. Madonna and Michael Jackson each had 20 culturally relevant years, more or less. I’m probably forgetting a few, but yeah, that’s still not a long list.

Out of nowhere, a new Radiohead album!!

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 14, 2011

At least out of nowhere for me…I had no idea this album was coming. Anyway, it’s called The King of Limbs and the digital copy is out on Feb 19th. Huzzah!

The lost Radiohead album

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 14, 2010

It’s called 01 and 10…ok, it’s not really a lost album. But apparently if you take the first five songs from OK Computer (from 1997) and the first five songs from In Rainbows (from 2007) and alternate them, the songs fit together musically and lyrically to form a coherent album.

Consider that In Rainbows was meant to complement OK Computer, musically, lyrically, and in structure. We found that the two albums can be knit together beautifully. By combining the tracks to form one playlist, 01 and 10, we have a remarkable listening experience. The transitions between the songs are astounding, and it appears that this was done purposefully.

The lyrics also seem to complement each other. There appears to be a concept flowing through the 01 and 10 playlist. Ideas in one song is picked up by the next, such as “Pull me out of the aircrash,” and “When I’m at the pearly gates, this will be my videotape.”

(via prosthetic knowledge)

MP3 sound quality: good enough

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 03, 2009

Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood doesn’t think that the supposed low sound quality of MP3s is something to get worked up about.

We had a few complaints that the MP3s of our last record wasn’t encoded at a high enough rate. Some even suggested we should have used FLACs, but if you even know what one of those is, and have strong opinions on them, you’re already lost to the world of high fidelity and have probably spent far too much money on your speaker-stands.

This conversation with Greenwood is part of a new series by Sasha Frere-Jones’ on the sound quality of recorded music.

No more Radiohead albums?

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 11, 2009

Thom Yorke says that there will be no more Radiohead albums.

“None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again,” he said. “Not straight off … It worked with In Rainbows because we had a real fixed idea about where we were going. But we’ve all said that we can’t possibly dive into that again. It’ll kill us.”

No!! (via @davidfg)

Kanye, Radiohead, mashup

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 29, 2008

Love Lockdown + Reckoner. Kanye mashed up with Radiohead, I pretty much gotta post it. (via delicious ghost)

Radiohead and Google, together at last

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 14, 2008

Radiohead + Google + data visualization + lasers = I am contractually obligated to post this. Google has the backstory and some code for Radiohead’s new music video, which was “filmed” using lasers instead of cameras. (via jimray)