Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks, 9-7

9. “Lull” from KARMA POLICE SINGLES: You could argue that some of Radiohead’s best b-sides might have replaced tracks on some of their albums. “Lull” isn’t really like that. Recorded during the OK COMPUTER-era, its closest kin is the far superior “Let Down.” No, the charm of “Lull” lies precisely in its qualities as a throw-away. Unlike other b-sides of the era, it features appregio guitar progressions rather than Jonny’s inflammatory work and a wonderfully upbeat melody. “Lull” is all musical efficiency, as if written by Radiohead for a songwriting workshop. So there you go – the “Lull” referred to is a case of writer’s block. If only every band’s creative lull sounded this good.
8. “Kinetic” from PYRAMID SONG SINGLES: Mentioned early and often in Ed O’Brien’s journals during the KID A sessions, the glacial pace of “Kinetic” speaks volumes on Radiohead’s new approach to making music. How many bands would name a song “Kinetic” and leave it in first gear? What’s really great about this track though is how it reveals the creative process that led to the first great album of the new millenium. No guitars. No backbeats. Just go to your dark place, kids. All in all, an aural feast.
7. “How Can You Be Sure?” from FAKE PLASTIC TREES SINGLES: HCYBS must have been a strong contender for inclusion on THE BENDS. It features one of the grandest pop melodies in the band’s catalog, and comes close to the acoustic glory of “Fake Plastic Trees” and “(nice dream).” The ?female? vocals that accompany Thom are a rather nice touch, the sort of thing the band might explore again if they ever do find their happy place. File this one under “might have been a hit.”

KarmaPolice9. “Lull” from KARMA POLICE SINGLES: You could argue that some of Radiohead’s best b-sides might have replaced tracks on some of their albums. “Lull” isn’t really like that. Recorded during the OK COMPUTER-era, its closest kin is the far superior “Let Down.” No, the charm of “Lull” lies precisely in its qualities as a throw-away. Unlike other b-sides of the era, it features appregio guitar progressions rather than Jonny’s inflammatory work and a wonderfully upbeat melody. “Lull” is all musical efficiency, as if written by Radiohead for a songwriting workshop. So there you go – the “Lull” referred to is a case of writer’s block. If only every band’s creative lull sounded this good.

Radiohead_pyramidsong8. “Kinetic” from PYRAMID SONG SINGLES: Mentioned early and often in Ed O’Brien’s journals during the KID A sessions, the glacial pace of “Kinetic” speaks volumes on Radiohead’s new approach to making music. How many bands would name a song “Kinetic” and leave it in first gear? What’s really great about this track though is how it reveals the creative process that led to the first great album of the new millenium. No guitars. No backbeats. Just go to your dark place, kids. All in all, an aural feast.

Fakeplastictrees1

7. “How Can You Be Sure?” from FAKE PLASTIC TREES SINGLES: HCYBS must have been a strong contender for inclusion on THE BENDS. It features one of the grandest pop melodies in the band’s catalog, and comes close to the acoustic glory of “Fake Plastic Trees” and “(nice dream).” The ?female? vocals that accompany Thom are a rather nice touch, the sort of thing the band might explore again if they ever do find their happy place. File this one under “might have been a hit.”

Radiohead: Top 12 Non-Album Tracks

One of the things that makes Radiohead such a fantastic band is their propensity for greatness in the realm of non-album tracks. They frequently kick out the jamz with the extracurriculars, and for the casual fan looking to dive further into the Radiohead sound, there is a veritable smorgasbord of great back tracks.
Over the next four days, I’ll explain my choices, but I don’t see any reason not to go ahead and post my top twelve. Of course, there’s quite a few it was hard to leave off, and I’m a bit amazed myself that nothing from the MY IRON LUNG EP made it onto the list. Still, that’s the kind of quality we’re talking about here.
12. Palo Alto
11. Last Flowers
10. Fog
9. Lull
8. Kinetic
7. How Can You Be Sure?
6. Four Minute Warning
5. Maquiladora
4. A Reminder
3. Cuttooth
2. Pearly*
1. Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper mix)
Have I unjustly smited your personal faves? What’s in your top 12, o argumentative Head-head?

quasar_radiohead3One of the things that makes Radiohead such a fantastic band is their propensity for greatness in the realm of non-album tracks. They frequently kick out the jamz with the extracurriculars, and for the casual fan looking to dive further into the Radiohead sound, there is a veritable smorgasbord of great back tracks.

Over the next four days, I’ll explain my choices, but I don’t see any reason not to go ahead and post my top twelve. Of course, there’s quite a few it was hard to leave off, and I’m a bit amazed myself that nothing from the MY IRON LUNG EP made it onto the list. Still, that’s the kind of quality we’re talking about here.

12. Palo Alto
11. Last Flowers
10. Fog
9. Lull
8. Kinetic
7. How Can You Be Sure?
6. Four Minute Warning
5. Maquiladora
4. A Reminder
3. Cuttooth
2. Pearly*
1. Talk Show Host (Nellee Hooper mix)

Have I unjustly smited your personal faves? What’s in your top 12, o argumentative Head-head?

Lost Tracks: Radiohead’s “Meeting in the Aisle”

AirbagI’ve heard people say relatively little about this one, but this lost track from the post-OKC days has always been one of my favorite instrumentals. I’m actually not sure how much of this track deserves to be attributed to Radiohead, as the fellas from Zero 7 apparently did the “programming,” whatever that means. But this one’s all about the atmosphere, and it just conjures up the most compelling auditory-induced imagery in my mind. Hard to even put it into words, but I’d almost call this one “OK Computer in a track.” It really seems to combine all of the paranoia, traffic noise, pessimism, and information overload into a modest and palatable offering. I suppose it could best be classified as Radiohead’s first piece of “incidental music,” and I think it found a home on the old tour film “Meeting People Is Easy.” Still, this one’s always seemed to me one of the most underappreciated high points in the band’s back catalog. It’s a shame, because I love this track.

Anybody else really dig this one?

Lost Tracks: Wilco’s More Like The Moon EP

moonWilco’s More Like The Moon EP was a little dish served up post-YHF and pre-AGIB, showcasing some of the work done during the YHF sessions as well as a few new tunes. The early version of “Handshake Drugs” surpasses the album version in my opinion. There’s a little more of a groove here, and the recording’s a little rougher around the edges and all that. “Magazine Called Sunset” is one of the most upbeat Wilco songs you’re gonna find and one fantastic lost track, but it’s the title track that really steals the show here. As soft and gentle as a lullabye, Tweedy should make a whole record of tracks like this and “Bob Dylan’s 49th Beard.” Nice acoustic ditties with some random bleeps thrown in for the slightly weird vibe. Anyway, just want to say I love this little forgotten gem. BTW, you can download it free and legal here.