Quick Review (LP): The Promise by Bruce Springsteen

springsteen the promise Bruce Springsteen
The Promise
Columbia; 2010

My Rating: A+

Best Tracks: “Because The Night”, “The Promise”, “Fire”, “The Brokenhearted”, “Save My Love”, “Breakaway”

Wow. This is quite simply unprecedented. There aren’t many artists out there who have as much unreleased material as Bruce Springsteen, but we haven’t gotten something this substantial since the Tracks boxset in 2010. What makes The Promise special is that, rather than feeling like a hodge-podge of half-conceived ideas or novelty leftovers, this feels like a cohesive and expansive effort. You don’t need me to tell you that these lost tracks fall somewhere chronologically between Born to Run and Darkness on The Edge of Town, but in light of that they definitely resemble a missing link of sorts. The former was Springsteen’s great big shot of hopes and dreams, and the latter was his exploration of working class misery and dead ends. The Promise manages to retain the romance and possibility of Born To Run while foreshadowing an end to it all. Overall, the album contains some of his best work, including one of the most famous “I didn’t know he wrote that” tracks, “Because The Night.” Much of the record recalls golden age rock and roll and R&B, and one is left wondering just how many radio royalties he left laying on the table by shelving these tracks for 30+ years. This collection is a rock fanboy’s dream, and it makes me think that maybe – just maybe – we’ll get to hear Electric Nebraska in a few years. For now, we have this absolutely glorious collection to revel in, and for that, I thank you Bruce.

Metacritic reviews

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Peel-ology: Rodan’s 1994 BBC Session

Peel-ology is where I write about some or another Peel session. The Peel session has special importance for me because of the “mystique” that surrounds it. Oftentimes, bands come to the Peel session with a small set of songs that have never seen official release. For fans of arcane indie rock, that’s like the Holy Grail…

rodan (e wolf) Rodan’s 1994 Peel session holds a special place in my heart. On one hand, it was my introduction to the work of John Peel, the first time I had ever heard of a “Peel” session at all. On the other hand, it is the only hint of what one of my all-time favorite bands might have sounded like on their second LP. While all of Rodan’s members went on to have prolific careers in other musical ventures (including the Mueller/Noble vehicle Shipping News), there was a definite magic realized by Jason Noble, Jeff Mueller, Tara Jane O’Neill, and Kevin Coultas on their Bob Weston produced debut Rusty.

  • “Sangre” leads things off. It’s a slow, brooding, almost meditative track, featuring O’Neill’s distinctively moaning vocals and some excellent high-fret guitar work from Jason Noble. I swear, when this song kicks in, I see thunder. That’s the only way I know how to put it.
  • “Big Things, Little Things” might be the closest Rodan ever came to “poppy”, figuring brightly between the other two tracks here. I love the bass work here. In my book, TJ is one of the best indie bassists of all time.
  • For all the greatness of the other tracks, “Before the Train” most successfully captures what made this band great. A 10-minute-plus instrumental (with the exception of the spoken “I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe”), the song evolves from elastic, visceral post-punk into quiet, spectral neo-classicism, only to re-emerge in a furious explosion of noisy, angular fury. This track contains, in a nutshell, everything that made Rodan special.
  • Kevin Coultas’ drumming totally blows me away. Rodan went through 3 drummers in their existence, but it was Coultas’ imperfect-in-all-the-right-ways work that transformed the band from mere post-rock into epic chamber-punk. His drumming helped the band achieve the monstrosity of sound that their name implies.
  • It’s John Peel who, between tracks, mentions that the band will be returning to the US in just a few weeks in order to complete their follow-up LP. I guess a lot can happen in 2+ months.

So there you have it. In September of 1994, the band played its last show and fractured into several different bands, including June of 44, Rachel’s, Sonora Pine, and Retsin (Shipping News & Tara Jane O’Neil’s solo work would come later). There are a few low-quality bootlegs floating around that feature other, untitled tracks, some of which made it onto the debut records of the above-mentioned bands. But this stunning Peel session is the only studio indication of what might have been.

you can download the whole Peel session from this site

Back Tracks: Josh Ritter Rarities Mix

In tribute to the release of his 6th album today, here’s a little mix I put together celebrating some of Josh Ritter’s best back tracks:

Josh Ritter
Overnite

1. Good Man (live)
2. Blame It On the Tetons
3. Spot In My Heart
4. Peter Killed the Dragon
5. Kathleen (live)
6. In the Dark (demo)
7. Naked as a Window
8. Girl In the War (live)
9. You Don’t Make It Easy Babe (live)
10. Bandits (live)
11. Golden Age of Radio (live)
12. Harbortown
13. Wolves (live)
14. Overnite
15. Monster Ballads (early version)
16. Daddy’s Little Pumpkin (live)
17. Labelship Down
18. Peter Killed the Dragon (live)
19. Wildfires
20. Snow Is Gone (live)
21. Girl In the War (live)

What are your favorite “lost” Ritter tracks?

Track Review: “Bucket of Chicken” by Sunny Day Real Estate

Sunny Day Real Estate
“Bucket of Chicken” (aka “The Crow”)
from LP2 [Remaster]
Once a mythical lost track for the Sunny Day cult, “The Crow” saw release as “Bucket of Chicken” back in 1998, the b-side to the 7″ single for “How It Feels to Be Something On.” Recorded around the same time as most of the tracks from LP2, it ups the pathos the Seattle four were known for with a minor-key vengeance while constructing one mighty phalanx of post-hardcore musical aggression. Featuring the sludgiest down tempo in the band’s catalog, the track’s overdriven guitars and punishing drums evoke a depth of regret that was uncommon even for Sunny Day. The closest track in the band’s catalog is probably “48”, but the unpolished production of “The Crow” takes the band’s sound to the next level. It’s also great to hear Dan Hoerner get his turn at vocals on the chorus; he actually steals the show from Enigk on this one. Overall, Sunny Day nailed it here. Far more than a mere lost oddity, “The Crow” is a career highlight on the scale of “Talk Show Host.” If there’s a recording future for Sunny Day Real Estate, I want it to sound like this.

3423518248_d23162cb41Sunny Day Real Estate
Bucket of Chicken” (aka “The Crow”)
from LP2 [Remaster]

Once a mythical lost track for the Sunny Day cult, “The Crow” saw release as “Bucket of Chicken” back in 1998, the b-side to the 7″ single for “How It Feels to Be Something On.” Recorded around the same time as most of the tracks from LP2, it ups the pathos the Seattle four were known for with a minor-key vengeance while constructing one mighty phalanx of post-hardcore musical aggression. Featuring the sludgiest down tempo in the band’s catalog, the track’s overdriven guitars and punishing drums evoke a depth of regret that was uncommon even for Sunny Day. The closest track in the band’s catalog is probably “48”, but the unpolished production of “The Crow” takes the band’s sound to the next level. It’s also great to hear Dan Hoerner get his turn at vocals on the chorus; he actually steals the show from Enigk on this one. Overall, Sunny Day nailed it here. Far more than a mere lost oddity, “The Crow” is a career highlight on the scale of “Talk Show Host.” If there’s a recording future for Sunny Day Real Estate, I want it to sound like this.

The Unseen Power of Pavement (Pavement Reuniting?)

You can never really be sure in these uncertain postmodern times, but it sounds like we’re close to a mathematical proof that Pavement will in fact re-unite in the next year. See here and here for more.
As a tribute, here’s a mix I concocted recently from the Matador reissues of the band’s greatest rarities and b-sides from their heyday. Did I leave anything off?
The Unseen Power of Pavement
1. Give It a Day
2. Painted Soldiers
3. Frontwards
4. All My Friends
5. Drunks with Guns
6. Beautiful as a Butterfly
7. Sue Me Jack
8. Sensitive Euro Man
9. Harness your hopes
10. Gangsters & Pranksters
11. Secret Knowledge of the Backroads (Peel Session 1)
12. The Sutcliffe Catering Song
13. Circa 1762 (Peel Session 1)
14. Shoot the Singer (1 Sick Verse)
15. Strings of Nashville
16. Mussle Rock (Is A Horse In Transition)
17. Lions (Linden)
18. Texas Never Whispers
19. I Love Perth
20. Greenlander
21. No tan lines
22. Kris Kraft
23. Roll with the wind
24. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence
25. Nothing Ever Happens

pavement18caYou can never really be sure in these uncertain postmodern times, but it sounds like we’re close to a mathematical proof that Pavement will in fact re-unite in the next year. See here and here for more.

As a tribute, here’s a mix I concocted recently from the Matador reissues of the band’s greatest rarities and b-sides from their heyday. Did I leave anything off?

SECRET KNOWLEDGE OF PAVEMENT

1. Give It a Day
2. Painted Soldiers
3. Frontwards
4. All My Friends
5. Drunks with Guns
6. Beautiful as a Butterfly
7. Sue Me Jack
8. Sensitive Euro Man
9. Harness your hopes
10. Gangsters & Pranksters
11. Secret Knowledge of the Backroads (Peel Session 1)
12. The Sutcliffe Catering Song
13. Circa 1762 (Peel Session 1)
14. Shoot the Singer (1 Sick Verse)
15. Strings of Nashville
16. Mussle Rock (Is A Horse In Transition)
17. Lions (Linden)
18. Texas Never Whispers
19. I Love Perth
20. Greenlander
21. No tan lines
22. Kris Kraft
23. Roll with the wind
24. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence
25. Nothing Ever Happens

Evergreen: Wholeness of the Soul part 3

On Evergreen’s debut 7″, the band weaved DC post-punk, progressive metal, and funk into tight tracks coming in at no more than 3 minutes each. Things are off in a hurry with the hard-nosed punk of “1980”, Tim Ruth’s furious guitar playing propelling the track into the stratosphere. The fractured funk-punk frankenstein “Wholeness of the Soul” follows, this time showcasing the blended chops of Ruth and bassist Troy Cox. “Precious” ends side one of the 7″ (only track 3 on the CD), easily the poppiest thing the band ever recorded, demonstrating that Evergreen never took itself too seriously. It’s a great tune, once again featuring great instrumentation, no riff ever quite the same in Ruth’s hands. The 7″ ends with two tracks that were “epic” for Evergreen, “Fall” and “Empty Sun.” Featuring indelibly great rhythm section work from Cox and Matt Tucker, Dave Pollard’s vocal work also shines throughout. He’s the perfect voice for the band, never once hitting a note in any classical sense, but projecting a powerful, sonorous quality via a raspy, insistent delivery. A great punk voice to be sure.
Tracks 6 thru 13 comprised the GO KART RIDE cassette, released less than a year after the 5 song 7″. “Man That Crawls” launches in a surge of spastic punk, seamlessly shifting through more tempos in under two minutes than most bands will ever use in a life of making music. “Avarice” follows, probably the greatest musical statement the band made, ample demonstration that all Evergreen was missing was the right place at the right time. Featuring a powerful melody and conscientous lyrics, it gives evidence that Evergreen had more than two dimensions at play. The reggae-tinged “Blood”, featuring an unforgettably catchy bass line from Cox, stands out as another obvious highlight, while “Say You Are” is the kind of fist-in-the-air shout-along youth crew anthem that kept the kids coming back for more. The live recording “Liquid”, essentially an instrumental, delivers yet another dimension for Evergreen, but it’s the last two GO KART RIDE tracks, “Knowledge” and “Feed” that provide definitive proof that Evergreen had more to deliver than your typical garage punks. Whereas other funk/punk combos of the time put all the emphasis on devastating the listeners’ senses, these two tracks provide definitive proof that Evergreen’s sense of melody was just as strong as its instinct to bring the noise. There’s plenty of nuance here, begging repeated listens, leaving the fans craving more.
Sadly, as “Feed” rushes to a close, so does the story of Pollard/Tucker era Evergreen, leaving later enthusiasts such as myself forever wondering what might have been. That’s the story with a lot of the bands I grew up loving in Louisville, such as Rodan, Crain, and Slint among many others.  Although it’s great to see these forgotten hardcore heroes get the digital treatment, I find it bittersweet. The fun was had back in the day for sure, but will it ever be that way again?
Many props go to Noise Pollution Records for pursuing a forgotten dream on behalf of the band and a whole lot of fans.Eve

wholenessEvergreen
Wholeness of the Soul; 2009
Noise Pollution Records

continued from part two

On Evergreen’s debut 7″, the band weaved DC post-punk, progressive metal, and funk into tight tracks coming in at no more than 3 minutes each. Things are off in a hurry with the hard-nosed punk of “1980”, Tim Ruth’s furious guitar playing propelling the track into the stratosphere. The fractured funk-punk frankenstein “Wholeness of the Soul” follows, this time showcasing the blended chops of Ruth and bassist Troy Cox. “Precious” ends side one of the 7″ (only track 3 on the CD), easily the poppiest thing the band ever recorded, demonstrating that Evergreen never took itself too seriously. It’s a great tune, once again featuring great instrumentation, no riff ever quite the same in Ruth’s hands. The 7″ ends with two tracks that were “epic” for Evergreen, “Fall” and “Empty Sun.” Featuring indelibly great rhythm section work from Cox and Matt Tucker, Dave Pollard’s vocal work also shines throughout. He’s the perfect voice for the band, never once hitting a note in any classical sense, but projecting a powerful, sonorous quality via a raspy, insistent delivery. A great punk voice to be sure.

Tracks 6 thru 13 comprised the GO KART RIDE cassette, released less than a year after the 5 song 7″. “Man That Crawls” launches in a surge of spastic punk, seamlessly shifting through more tempos in under two minutes than most bands will ever use in a life of making music. “Avarice” follows, probably the greatest musical statement the band made, ample demonstration that all Evergreen was missing was the right place at the right time. Featuring a powerful melody and conscientous lyrics, it gives evidence that Evergreen had more than two dimensions at play. The reggae-tinged “Blood”, featuring an unforgettably catchy bass line from Cox, stands out as another obvious highlight, while “Say You Are” is the kind of fist-in-the-air shout-along youth crew anthem that kept the kids coming back for more. The live recording “Liquid”, essentially an instrumental, delivers yet another dimension for Evergreen, but it’s the last two GO KART RIDE tracks, “Knowledge” and “Feed” that provide definitive proof that Evergreen had more to deliver than your typical garage punks. Whereas other funk/punk combos of the time put all the emphasis on devastating the listeners’ senses, these two tracks provide definitive proof that Evergreen’s sense of melody was just as strong as its instinct to bring the noise. There’s plenty of nuance here, begging repeated listens, leaving the fans craving more.

Sadly, as “Feed” rushes to a close, so does the story of Pollard/Tucker era Evergreen, leaving later enthusiasts such as myself forever wondering what might have been. That’s the story with a lot of the bands I grew up loving in Louisville, such as Rodan, Crain, and Slint among many others.  Although it’s great to see these forgotten hardcore heroes get the digital treatment, I find it bittersweet. The fun was had back in the day for sure, but will it ever be that way again?

Many props go to Noise Pollution Records for pursuing a forgotten dream on behalf of the band and a whole lot of fans.

Evergreen: Wholeness of the Soul (part 2)

wholenessEvergreen
Wholeness of the Soul; 2009
Noise Pollution Records

continued from part one

The Louisville all-ages scene of the early 1990’s was a mish-mash of influences. You had bands like Kinghorse melding Black Sabbath metal with Misfits punk, bands like Endpoint proclaiming the conscientious hardcore ethos of the DC sound, and bands like Rodan building upon the classical dynamics of local heroes Slint. There was also a handful of other bands that could easily sell out a venue in Louisville anytime, anywhere, such as Crain, Erchint, or Bush League. All of these bands were great in their own right, and some, like Crain, have received a strong reissue treatment elsewhere. However, this collection of Evergreen’s long out of print Self Destruct recordings finally brings to digital format one of Louisville’s greatest and most original punk acts.

Noise Pollution’s anthology rightly puts the band’s official releases ahead of previously unreleased demo and live recordings, but to best understand how the band progressed in just a few years, it’s interesting to begin at track 14 and listen through to the end. Tracks 14 thru 17 are 4-track demo recordings from 1991. Recorded when the band was called Cinderblock (but composed of the same members), these tracks show a band heavily influenced by contemporary local heroes like the afore-mentioned Kinghorse and Bush League. The spidery guitar breakdown in the middle of “Psyche Scream Closet” bears a strong resemblance to the proggish instrumentalism of bands like Rodan and Crain. Nevertheless, the hardcore here is sludgy, brutal, and nasty. Between the demos and the live recordings, we get some indication of where Evergreen began, making tracks 1 thru 13 all the more astounding.

completed tomorrow…

The Louisville all-ages scene of the early 1990’s was inspired by a mish-mash of influences. You had bands like Kinghorse melding Black Sabbath metal with Misfits punk, bands like Endpoint proclaiming the conscientious hardcore ethos of the DC sound, and bands like Rodan building upon the classical dynamics of local heroes Slint. There was also a handful of other bands that could easily sell out a venue in Louisville anytime, anywhere, such as Crain, Erchint, or Bush League. All of these bands were great in their own right, and some, like Crain, have received a strong reissue treatment elsewhere. However, the reissue of Evergreen’s long out of print Self Destruct recordings finally brings to digital format one of Louisville’s greatest and most original punk acts.
Noise Pollution’s anthology rightly puts the band’s official releases ahead of previously unreleased demo and live recordings, but to best understand how the band progressed in just a few years, it’s interesting to begin at track 14 and listen through to the end before beginning from track 1. Tracks 14 thru 17 are 4-track demo recordings from 1991. Recorded when the band was called Cinderblock (but composed of the same members), these tracks show a band heavily influenced by contemporary local heroes like the afore-mentioned Kinghorse and Bush League. The spidery guitar breakdown in the middle of “Psyche Scream Closet” bears a strong resemblance to the proggish instrumentalism of bands like Rodan and Crain. Nevertheless, the hardcore here is sludgy, brutal, and nasty. Between the demos and the live recordings, we get some indication of where Evergreen began, making tracks 1 thru 13 all the more astounding.
completed tomorr

Evergreen: Wholeness of the Soul (part 1)

Evergreen
Wholeness of the Soul
Noise Pollution; 2009
1992: I’m a seventh grader in Louisville, Kentucky, enamoured with the “alternative” bands that have de-throned glam rock heroes like Poison and Motley Crue on MTV. Watching Pearl Jam’s videos for “Even Flow” and “Alive” introduces me to the non-stadium “show” experience. Simultaneously, the skater kids at my school begin sporting t-shirts for bands like Sunspring, Kinghorse, Crain, Sancred, and Evergreen, bands that don’t exist on MTV. I’m intrigued.
1994: I buy my first 7″ records via the Slamdek distribution catalogue. They are records released by the Self Destruct record label. One of them is Evergreen’s self-titled 5-song 7″.
1996: I finally get my hands on a dubbed copy of Evergreen’s Go Kart Ride cassette. It’s official. I love this band. Too bad that version ended three years ago.
2006: I listen to my CD-R of “old” Evergreen’s 13 tracks for somewhere around the 200th or 300th time.
2009: Noise Pollution releases the “old” Evergreen anthology Wholeness of the Soul. It’s about time.
to be continued tomorrow…

wholenessEvergreen
Wholeness of the Soul; 2009
Noise Pollution

1992: I’m a seventh grader in Louisville, Kentucky, enamoured with the “alternative” bands that have de-throned glam rock heroes like Poison and Motley Crue on MTV. Watching Pearl Jam’s videos for “Even Flow” and “Alive” introduces me to the non-stadium “show” experience. Simultaneously, the skater kids at my school begin sporting t-shirts for bands like Sunspring, Kinghorse, Crain, Sancred, and Evergreen, bands that don’t exist on MTV. I’m intrigued.

1994: I buy my first 7″ records via the Slamdek distribution catalogue. They are records released by the Self Destruct record label. One of them is Evergreen’s self-titled 5-song 7″.

1996: I finally get my hands on a dubbed copy of Evergreen’s GO CART RIDE cassette. It’s official. I love this band. Too bad that version ended three years ago.

2006: I listen to my CD-R of “old” Evergreen’s 13 tracks for somewhere around the 200th or 300th time.

2009: Noise Pollution releases the “old” Evergreen anthology WHOLENESS OF THE SOUL. It’s about time.

continued here

Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks 3-1

3. “Cuttooth” from the KNIVES OUT singles: Bearing one of the most strangely enticing song titles in the band’s catalog, this one comes straight from the depths of the KID A sessions. It’s a piece of shimmering, propulsive Krautrock that shows Radiohead pretty much mastering the genre overnight. While it’s all for the best that they moved on, and although “Cuttooth” bears the sunny glow that reasonably excluded it from KID A or AMNESIAC, it’s nevertheless one of the coolest things the band has ever recorded. With “Cuttooth”, Radiohead joined the ranks of artists like Springsteen and Pavement, where the myth of lost tracks began to rival the myth of the albums.
2. “Pearly*” from the PARANOID ANDROID singles: Although ultimately it doesn’t feel right at this point to question the band’s judgment on the tracklisting for OK COMPUTER, it still makes me scratch my head that this one was left off that album in favor of “Electioneering.” Featuring similar subject matter and a similar sonic trajectory, “Pearly*” is far more exotic and otherworldly, once again featuring some marvelous instrumentation from both the guitar and the drum sections. “Pearly*” is the “Maquiladora” of OK COMPUTER. Seriously, couldn’t they have made room for just one more?
1. “Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper mix)” from the ROMEO AND JULIET soundtrack: Some might argue with the fact that I chose a cinematic cut-up of “Talk Show Host” as the band’s number one non-album track, but Nellee Hooper’s remix just gets it right. Go back and listen to the version from the STREET SPIRIT single and see for yourself. The bass and drums are just a little too aggressive, a little too direct. But Hooper expertly brings trip-hop subtleties to bear on the song’s bare bones, exposing the emotional heart of the song, and fleshing out a cinematic and musical masterpiece in the process. Don’t settle for the original in this case; Hooper’s remix is the real deal.

Radiohead_knivesout3. “Cuttooth” from the KNIVES OUT singles: Bearing one of the most strangely enticing song titles in the band’s catalog, this one comes straight from the depths of the KID A sessions. It’s a piece of shimmering, propulsive Krautrock that shows Radiohead pretty much mastering the genre overnight. While it’s all for the best that they moved on, and although “Cuttooth” bears the sunny glow that reasonably excluded it from KID A or AMNESIAC, it’s nevertheless one of the coolest things the band has ever recorded. With “Cuttooth”, Radiohead joined the ranks of artists like Springsteen and Pavement, where the myth of lost tracks began to rival the myth of the albums.

Paranoid_Android_CD12. “Pearly*” from the PARANOID ANDROID singles: Although ultimately it doesn’t feel right at this point to question the band’s judgment on the tracklisting for OK COMPUTER, it still makes me scratch my head that this one was left off that album in favor of “Electioneering.” Featuring similar subject matter and a similar sonic trajectory, “Pearly*” is far more exotic and otherworldly, once again featuring some marvelous instrumentation from both the guitar and the drum sections. “Pearly*” is the “Maquiladora” of OK COMPUTER. Seriously, couldn’t they have made room for just one more?

Romeo_+_Juliet_Soundtrack_Vol._11. “Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper mix)” from the ROMEO AND JULIET soundtrack: Some might argue with the fact that I chose a cinematic cut-up of “Talk Show Host” as the band’s number one non-album track, but Nellee Hooper’s remix just gets it right. Go back and listen to the version from the STREET SPIRIT single and see for yourself. The bass and drums are just a little too aggressive, a little too direct. But Hooper expertly brings trip-hop subtleties to bear on the song’s bare bones, exposing the emotional heart of the song, and fleshing out a cinematic and musical masterpiece in the process. Don’t settle for the original in this case; Hooper’s remix is the real deal.

Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks 6-4

6. “Four Minute Warning” from IN RAINBOWS CD2: I think this track may have been the one Ed referred to as “Bombers” during the KID A sessions. Can’t be sure, but nevertheless, it’s one of the best songs the band has recorded period. It might have closed out IN RAINBOWS just as easily as “Videotape”, the white-noise fade-in evoking a cinematic landscape of bravenewworld devastation. Coming from the same subconscious goldmine that gave us “Pyramid Song”, the lyrics and music working together to evoke a similar slow-motion waking dream. Proof positive that Radiohead needs to record an album of piano-based ballads.
5. “Maquiladora” from HIGH AND DRY SINGLES:  Taking second place only to “Just” as the most in-your-face brit rock track in the band’s repertoire, “Maquiladora” is another b-side that “might have been a hit” for the band during THE BENDS era. With Jonny G.’s incendiary lead and the explosive refrain “Oh – BAY – BAH – BURN!!!!!”, this is the sort of track that the band should still be rolling out as an encore every once in a while. Also priceless – the clean cut breakdown (aka the pretty part) between the episodes of thundering heaviness. Simply brilliant all around.
4. “A Reminder” from PARANOID ANDROID SINGLES: Once considered as the lead-off single for OK COMPUTER, this one didn’t make it onto the album proper, but still stands as one of the strongest examples of the band’s aesthetic at that time. Slowly building around a locomotive drive, it’s an obtuse little love song, evocative of a train trek across the sub-continent of Europe in the prime of one’s youth (this is helped by the actual sounds of a Czech rail station opening the song). Like Richard Linklater’s BEFORE SUNRISE, the song’s narrative revolves around two people, the speaker and the addressee. Highly personal and minimally detailed, it nevertheless expresses a deep romanticism that the band hasn’t quite achieved since.

Radiohead_Nude6. “Four Minute Warning” from the NUDE singles: I think this track may have been the one Ed referred to as “Bombers” during the KID A sessions. Can’t be sure, but nevertheless, it’s one of the best songs the band has recorded period. It might have closed out IN RAINBOWS just as easily as “Videotape”, the white-noise fade-in evoking a cinematic landscape of bravenewworld devastation. Coming from the same subconscious goldmine that gave us “Pyramid Song”, the lyrics and music work together to evoke a similar slow-motion waking dream. Proof positive that Radiohead needs to record an album of piano-based ballads.

High_and_Dry_Planet_Telex_CD15. “Maquiladora” from the HIGH AND DRY singles:  Taking second place only to “Just” as the most in-your-face brit rock track in the band’s repertoire, “Maquiladora” is another b-side that “might have been a hit” for the band during THE BENDS era. With Jonny G.’s incendiary lead and the explosive refrain “Oh – BAY – BAH – BURN!!!!!”, this is the sort of track that the band should still be rolling out as an encore every once in a while. Also priceless – the clean cut breakdown (aka the pretty part) between the episodes of thundering heaviness. Simply brilliant all around.

Paranoid_Android_CD14. “A Reminder” from the PARANOID ANDROID singles: Once considered as the lead-off single for OK COMPUTER, this one didn’t make it onto the album proper, but still stands as one of the strongest examples of the band’s aesthetic at that time. Slowly building around a locomotive drive, it’s an obtuse little love song, evocative of a train trek across the sub-continent of Europe in the prime of one’s youth (this is helped by the actual sounds of a Czech rail station opening the song). Vaguely recalling Richard Linklater’s film BEFORE SUNRISE, the song’s narrative revolves around the hopes and fears of two young people intimately connected for a moment in time. Highly personal and minimally detailed, it nevertheless expresses a deep romanticism that the band hasn’t quite achieved since.