Radiohead: The Bends Collector’s Edition Disc 2 (2009

RADIOHEAD
THE BENDS COLLECTOR’S EDITION DISC 2; 2009
CAPITOL
My Rating: 65/100
This is a pretty solid compilation. It collects most of the relevant non-LP tracks from THE BENDS, with a few notable exceptions, and clearly demonstrates just what a great band Radiohead were becoming. The first six tracks comprised the excellent dark MY IRON LUNG EP released between PABLO HONEY and THE BENDS, and give a far clearer indication of where the band would head after THE BENDS than anything contained on that album. “Permanent Daylight” and “The Trickster” see the band shifting away from British mope-rock and incorporating post-punk sensibilites. “Maquiladora,” released as a b-side after the album’s release, is one of the best tracks the band has ever recorded, and “How Can You Be Sure” sounds like something that just missed the cut as well. My only major gripes are that the remixed version of “Planet Telex” was not included, and, more significantly, the superior Nellee Hooper remix of “Talk Show Host” is no where to be found. Not that it REALLY matters, since you can still pick it up on the ROMEO & JULIET soundtrack, but I’m just sayin. As a last criticism, it would have been nice to really dig deep on this one and show forth some ancient demos or something. All in all, not a decent compilation, and worth purchasing for Radiohead fans that haven’t jumped headlong into their b-sides yet.
TRACKS:
1. The Trickster (5/5)
2. Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong (5/5)
3. Lozenge of Love (5/5)
4. Lewis (Mistreated) (5/5)
5. Permanent Daylight (5/5)
6. You Never Wash Up After Yourself (4/5)
7. Maquiladora (5/5)
8. Killer Cars (4/5)
9. India Rubber (5/5)
10. How Can You Be Sure? (5/5)
11. Fake Plastic Trees [acoustic – live] (4/5)
12. Bulletproof  [acoustic – live] (5/5)
13. Street Spirit [acoustic -live] (4/5)
14. Talk Show Host (5/5)
15. Bishop’s Robes (3/5)
16. Banana Co (5/5)
17. Molasses (2/5)
18. Just [BBC Radio 1] (3/5)
19. Maquiladora [BBC Radio 1] (4/5)
20. Street Spriit [BBC Radio 1] (4/5)
21. Bones [BBC Radio 1] (4/5)

(1995) The BendsRadiohead
The Bends Collector’s Edition Disc 2; 2009
Capitol Records

My Rating: 65/100

This is a pretty solid compilation. It collects most of the relevant non-LP tracks from THE BENDS, with a few notable exceptions, and clearly demonstrates just what a great band Radiohead were becoming. The first six tracks comprised the excellent, dark MY IRON LUNG EP released between PABLO HONEY and THE BENDS, and give a far clearer indication of where the band would head after THE BENDS than anything contained on that album. “Permanent Daylight” and “The Trickster” see the band shifting away from British mope-rock and incorporating post-punk and paranoia. “Maquiladora,” released as a b-side after the album’s release, is one of the best tracks the band has ever recorded, and “How Can You Be Sure” sounds like something that just missed the cut as well. My only major gripes are that the remixed versions of “Planet Telex” were not included, and, more significantly, the superior Nellee Hooper remix of “Talk Show Host” is no where to be found. Not that it REALLY matters, since you can still pick it up on the ROMEO & JULIET soundtrack, but I’m just sayin. As a last criticism, it would have been nice to really dig deep on this one and show forth some ancient demos or something. All in all, a decent compilation, and worth purchasing for Radiohead fans that haven’t jumped headlong into their b-sides yet.

TRACKS:

1. The Trickster (5/5)
2. Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong (5/5)
3. Lozenge of Love (5/5)
4. Lewis (Mistreated) (5/5)
5. Permanent Daylight (5/5)
6. You Never Wash Up After Yourself (4/5)
7. Maquiladora (5/5)
8. Killer Cars (4/5)
9. India Rubber (5/5)
10. How Can You Be Sure? (5/5)
11. Fake Plastic Trees [acoustic – live] (4/5)
12. Bulletproof  [acoustic – live] (5/5)
13. Street Spirit [acoustic -live] (4/5)
14. Talk Show Host (5/5)
15. Bishop’s Robes (3/5)
16. Banana Co (5/5)
17. Molasses (2/5)
18. Just [BBC Radio 1] (3/5)
19. Maquiladora [BBC Radio 1] (4/5)
20. Street Spriit [BBC Radio 1] (4/5)
21. Bones [BBC Radio 1] (4/5)

Radiohead: “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)” (2009)

harry_patchPretty. That’s really the best way to describe the latest from Radiohead, “Harry Patch (In Memory Of).” Meshing well with the band’s penchant for delivering on the stark emotion of apocalypse, Thom Yorke cries “I’m the only one that got through” over closing credit strings, courtesy master film-scorer Jonny Greenwood. In my view, this is a step forward for the band. How refreshing for them to confess their empathy for the old soldier, a tribute in the truest sense of the word. As the strings fittingly usher Patch into glory, Yorke becomes Patch, taking on his own words. I guess it wouldn’t really be a Radiohead tune if Thommy boy allowed us any semblance of hope in the song, so that’s my only gripe. Still, a nice inter-album bonus that will benefit a good cause.

Radiohead: Kid A (2000)

kid_aRadiohead
Kid A; 2000
EMI/Capitol Records

My Rating: 10/10

KID A is the most controversial album in Radiohead’s catalog. After the tremendous commercial and critical success of OK COMPUTER, the band might have easily crafted a cybertronic Brit-Rock re-tread. Instead, they chose to completely turn their songwriting and production process inside out, retreating into the studio for over a year and completely re-learning the art of rock and roll. Lots of people found OK COMPUTER difficult compared to the melodic Brit-rock of THE BENDS, but with this one, the band completely says goodbye to the past and announces to the world, “We are not resting on our laurels.” From the opening cascade of electric piano on track 1, KID A sounds numinous, cold, and chronic, perpetually avoiding the pop-music hook but all the while re-inventing it. The album cover features a digitally rendered mountainous landscape, which suggests that the band intended to make a grand and foreboding album. Well, all I know is that this album is a tough climb at first, but once you’ve struggled to the top, it all starts to make sense. An incredible and unique sonic journey.
TRACKS:

1. Everything In Its Right Place (5/5)
2. Kid A (5/5)
3. The National Anthem (5/5)
4. How to Disappear Completely (5/5)
5. Treefingers (5/5)
6. Optimistic (4/5)
7. In Limbo/Lost at Sea (3.5/5)
8. Idioteque (5/5)
9. Morning Bell (5/5)
10. Motion Picture Soundtrack (4.5/5)

Radiohead: The Bends (1995)


(1995) The BendsRadiohead
The Bends; 1995
EMI/Capitol Records

My Rating: 10/10

We all know the story by now: one-hit wonder mope-rockers fated to follow their alterna-rock debut into oblivion go and record an album of beautiful, esoteric, and glorious Brit-rock, humbly putting loud-mouths like Oasis and Blur to shame. Where PABLO HONEY sounded a bit too rehearsed and over-produced, herein the band manage to let her breathe just enough to capture 12 cuts over-flowing with heart and vigor. Producer John Leckie wisely guided the band to emphasize their noisy streak, utilizing just as many live recordings as in-studio sessions.  Every song here could have been a single at the time, and every song is literally perfect. Simply put, one of the greatest rock records ever created. “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” is the greatest album closer in the history of rock music. “Creep?” Never heard of it.

TRACKS:
1. Planet Telex (5/5)
2. The Bends (5/5)
3. High and Dry (5/5)
4. Fake Plastic Trees (5/5)
5. Bones (5/5)
6. (nice dream) (5/5)
7. Just (5/5)
8. My Iron Lung (5/5)
9. (I Wish I Was) Bulletproof (5/5)
10. Black Star (5/5)
11. Sulk (5/5)
12. Street Spirit (Fade Out) (5/5)