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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Check out Thom Yorke's new album (though you didn't hear that from me)

When it comes to Radiohead albums, there are release dates and there are Internet leak dates. It's no different with Thom Yorke's much anticipated solo album, "The Eraser," due for sale July 10 from XL Recordings but available now online.

A friend alerted me to a blog where the album was available for download last week. I'd love to tell you where I got it, but it ain't exactly legal and the corporate bosses where I work wouldn't be too keen on this becoming an MP3 trafficking site. But you can probably find "The Eraser" without trying too hard. Heck, the Associated Press did a story on the album being leaked early online.

So, how is it? Surprisingly great. I say surprisingly because I haven't really cared about Radiohead for a while. Sure, like most rock fans of my generation, I worship at the holy trinity of "The Bends," "OK Computer" and "Kid A." But I thought "Amnesiac" was only half-good, and "Hail to the Thief" sounded like a band trying to recapture former greatness and failing. But "The Eraser" makes me want to go back to those records and look for something I might have missed.

Yorke made "The Eraser" by himself with long-time producer Nigel Goodrich, but its icy electronic textures are not far removed from Radiohead's post "OK" albums. Yorke stopped writing actual songs long ago. He writes atmospheres now, but what atmospheres! In fact, this sounds to me like the proper follow-up to "Kid A." The songs are spare and ghostly, composed of sketchy piano parts, gurgling beats, disconnected synths and Yorke's trademark cooing. (There is virtually no guitar on the record.) Unlike Radiohead's recent material, the disparate parts acutally add up to something greater than well-made aural wallpaper.

For Radiohead fans, "The Eraser" is a revealing look at how much Yorke contributes to the band's overall aesthetic; apparently it's almost all him.

For a good track-by-track breakdown of "The Eraser," go here.


Anonymous Tyler said...

speaking of thom yorke

look at radiohead's N. American opener (in Boston) setlist. sweet christ.

You And Whose Army
> The National Anthem
> 2+2=5
> Open Pick
> 15 Step
> Exit Music
> Kid A
> Nude
> Arpeggi
> Street Spirit (Fade Out)
> Pyramid Song
> Myxomatosis
> House of Cards
> Spooks
> Idioteque
> Bangers and Mash
> There There
> Encore #1
> Airbag
> No Surprises
> Bodysnatchers
> Everything in Its Right Place
> Encore #2
> 4 Minute Warning
> Karma Police

3:19 PM  

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