Thursday, November 13, 2008


Some music stuff today.

Firstly, being a user of podcasts, I was delighted to find the NPR live concerts podcast, and in particular the Radiohead concert in Santa Barbara recorded in September this year. I've been listening to it on my journeys home from work this week and it's incredible: this is probably the best "live in concert" recording that I've ever heard. These guys have outstanding music craft (just listen to the percussion here), a hell of a back catalogue, and are still at the top of their game 10 years on from OK Computer. There are some points here that are so perfect it almost brings tears to your eyes: the final encore of Videotape, Lucky, and Idioteque is as good as it gets. It's hard to pick out highlights, but Nude, Talk Show Host, Weird Fishes, No Surprises, Paranoid Android, and Videotape (better than the album version) are all unbelievably good. I've come to the conclusion that In Rainbows is my favourite Radiohead album, but this mix of material from that album with old classics (whilst omitting some you might expect, such as Creep, Just, Street Spirit, and Fake Plastic Trees) really knocked me over. Brian Wilson may be my musical hero, but I've come to realise recently that Radiohead are pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. Most people I know "get" Radiohead, but I'd be genuinely interested to see if a non-Radiohead fan would be blown away by this concert. Surely the best band in the world at the momnent, they have had a big influence on pretty much any of the "mainstream" art-rock bands that are in the charts at the moment. Download this podcast. Do it now. And there is a load of other good concert stuff available for free in that podcast too, from Bjork to Mogwai.

One of the bands who have taken a lot from Radiohead are Coldplay. Pretty much the biggest band in the world at the moment, they have taken many of the aspects of Radiohead's sound and commercialised it, to great chart success. And (deep breath) I owe them an apology. I have been slagging them off for years. Wrongly. Sure, A few songs (like Don't Panic, Yellow, and Talk) had caught my attention and I liked them, but generally I had only bad words for them. I retract them: something has clicked. This is mostly due to the new album, Viva La Vida, which I bought on a whim based on a free song given away on the internet (see, free downloads do work!). The album is definitely different from their previous efforts: grand, orchestral, personal. Maybe Eno's production had something to do with it, maybe not. Either way, it's pretty much my album of the year. Anyone who knows me will be very surprised that I just said that...

This leads me on to Viva La Hova. This is a fun project along the lines of the Grey Album: some producers have mixed Coldplay music with Jay-Z vocals and made an illicit album. It's fun, it's a contrivance, and it works beautifully. Download for free from the website.

Finally, here is Kids by MGMT. I had avoided them for some reason (probably that they are thought of as tres cool), but this song is getting airplay and is teriffic. I bought the album and it's nice too.



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