Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vol. 7 Episode 1

It’s back!  I am going to start writing again. After a year off to play video games and just take my mind off of life for a bit, which ended up being a year plus, I am back and excited to get into this again.  I have changed jobs and sleep schedules but more importantly Radiohead have a new album and have released two singles from it!

There has been a fourth pressing of the first and second singles from the Man or Astro-Man? album, Defcon 54321, in a purple splatter. I misunderstood the tweet that I read from Chunklet and bought all three singles again thinking that all three were in purple splatter but to my surprise the third one came in clear with black streaks. I have only seen one other record that was clear with black streaks and that was a special version for a fellow blogger. I have no idea on the rarity of something like this or if it is even worth anything. I think it is still unique and it will not be leaving my collection.

Anyway, here we go…

This is the new album from Radiohead. There are a few different formats available to purchase. There are the standard versions; Vinyl, CD and DL (WAV and MP3) along with the special versions; a box set of vinyl, CD and DL (Your choice of WAV or MP3). There is also a colored vinyl edition that was only available through record stores. The special edition also comes with a second CD with two additional tracks and a section of tape from recordings that range from Kid A to The King of Limbs. The tape is a length of ¾ of a second. They are cutting this tape up because it is degrading and it is cool to give this kind of thing to the fans.

This new album is very warm but very depressing. There are eleven tracks on this, their ninth album. Some of them are old songs made new and some are completely new songs.  I think that all 11 of these songs have been live tested all the way back to OK computer/Kid A eras. The first single, Burn The Witch will be talked about below with the 7” record for the single. The second single is Daydreaming. It is a soft song that reminds me of the songs that are used on the 70s summer camp movies when the lead roll takes a walk in the woods to reflect. I usually dislike these slow songs but Radiohead seems to find the right sounds in a slow song that still makes me happy.

I really like the track Identikit. The song reminds me of something from Kid A. I really like that album and this track sounds as if it is pulled directly from that album and made just a little bit more current. There are not really any electronic sounds on this track to make me think Kid A but it is more the way that the vocals flow.

My other favorite is this studio version of True Love Waits. I really liked this song the way it was presented on I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings. This version was with Thom singing and playing the acoustic guitar. I was afraid that they would make this new studio version something that I would hate. I was happy to find that this was not the case. The song was slowed down and the acoustic guitar was replaced with a piano playing arpegiated notes. I actually like that the song is slowed down from what I remember. It almost becomes an adult lullaby. It is such a depressing song but I always feel so happy when I listen to it on both versions of the song.

I am very excited to get my hands on this album but the special version doesn’t come out until September. As a consolation if you get the special version you get instant access to the download. I did also get the colored record store copy that will be released June 17th. I will also probably get the CD too.

Radiohead – Burn The Witch
This is the new 7” that has been put out for the new album, A Moon Shaped Pool. This record was only released in record stores world wide.  There were only 2500 pressed. I was lucky enough to get a copy from my favorite record store. The record did come with a download but, unlike most records that I have gotten in the recent past, there was not a card included in the sleeve. The download information was printed on the inside of the sleeve.  Like most Radiohead things that have been put out there was a special web page to get the download.

The A side is Burn The Witch. This song uses a string section as the rhythm part. The strings played staccato notes all the way through the song and tension grows all the way to the end through that part of the music. Thom’s vocals soar through the chorus as he sings the title of the song. The bass is a standard saw tooth wave that sounds so cool with the organic sounds from the strings section. I truly is a wonderful weave of classic sounds and new electronic sounds.

The B side is the song Spectre. This song was composed and intended to be used with the last James Bond movie of the same name. It was not chosen so the band decided to put it out for the fans. This song was originally released before the new album, A Moon Shaped Pool. One could get it as a download through the Radiohead Soundcloud page. I did get it as soon as I heard it was available. This 7” is the only way to get a physical copy of this song at this point. The song itself is fantastic, slow and very emotional feeling. I thought it was perfect for the opening credits of the movie, Spectre, until I saw the song put to the credits. The credits are done in two colors, blueish grey and gold. I found that the song didn’t work for me when the gold color was present. I have an idea as to what I would change but that is not for me to change. It is still a great song on its own and that is probably why they released the song anyway.

Lush – Blind Spot 
This is the first release from Lush since Topilino back in 1996 which was more of a B side compilation. That is 20 years since the last release from Lush (I am not counting the best of compilations though). I found out about this EP late though that I didn’t get a signed copy. There were 200 copies of this EP on vinyl that the band had signed and was put up for sale on their web page.  I am disappointed that I missed out on this but at the same time I am happy that I have a copy on vinyl. This EP was also released on CD and as DL. 

There are four tracks on this EP and the first track, Out of Control, was released as the single. I really like this song as it soars and takes its time to tell the story of teenage love. It is like the group didn’t have that big gap in time because this track sounds like it was written right after Scar in the early 90s. The song is absolute Shoegaze perfection. It is not that loud noisy shoegaze, it is wonderful soft and smooth with beautiful female vocals.

The other three tracks on this EP are very similar sonicly but don’t quite have that special something that would make them a single in their own rite. I will say that this is a great EP if you wanted to get into the shoegaze genre.

This is the latest release from The Pains. It was originally released as a DL only. It was later released in Europe for Record Store Day as a 7” EP on black vinyl with two tracks and an additional two tracks with the DL. It was also released as a CD in Japan a bit after the original release but before Record Store Day with a couple of demo tracks that were both tracks that I had never heard. My point is that if you have gotten the CD and the 7” you would wind up with six new tracks. The 7” will be released later this year on ox blood (dark red) and black splatter vinyl for the US.

The title track, Hell, was the single. I think this is a good song but lacked the something that made it a great single like Simple and Sure or Until The Sun Explodes from the previous album.

What I really liked was the cover of the James song Laid. It changed the male vocals for female and used more distortion than the original or at least a different version of distortion giving the song a slightly different flavor. I find this version so much more pleasing than the original just to imagine a lesbian relation ship. It fits so perfectly. If James heard this cover I could only imagine that they would be happy too.

I like this EP but the way that it was released was a little abnormal.  There wasn’t a standard CD release and it was kind of a surprise with the Record Store Day release being only in Europe and a later US release (7/29/16) on Creep Records. The US release will have four tracks as opposed to the two track European RSD release. 

This is all that I have for the come back episode...

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