An Album a Day: #5 The Bends

18 03 2013

Radiohead - The BendsWow, what is there to say about this album that has not already been said? Not a lot in fairness. I remember where I was when I first heard it, I suppose that is something new?

I was working in a convenience store back in my home town and I used to work the really early Sunday morning shift to get all the newspapers ready. As the store was not officially open at that time of the day a colleague and myself always used to listen to a few CD’s, it was he that provided Radiohead. It was the first time I had heard them and instantly I got it, it seemed to hit a chord or nerve within me that has never since dissolved.

Songs of such brilliance and varying sounds around that guitar rock theme, Planet Telex is in my opinion one of the best opening tracks of all time, that almost electronic wind sound before the chords and the bass kick in is just sublime and seriously sets you up for the journey through this album.

It really is a journey and I find it hard to even find a weak track on the whole album. Each song presenting some deep set anger through the aural bliss of five very tight musicians that really know how to layer sound. Yes some of this comes in production but it has to ultimately come from the artist.

It is an album that shows some of the raw youth of Pablo Honey but shows a band that have performed together for a few years and have added a certain level of maturity to their sound, that rawness is still evident in Just, Bones and My Iron Lung but the sophistication comes across in The Bends and Fake Plastic Trees.

It seems a contradiction but there is also an edginess and gentle caress of naivety in tracks like [nice dream], bullet proof and of course Street Spirit but I think that this is more of a constructed naivety, a sound that the band was trying to create rather than genuine innocence in the music.

It has been a real pleasure writing about one of my all time favourite albums and it is still a CD that garners a huge amount of hours of use in my house and along with OK Computer drew myself and my now wife together back in the early 2000’s. That shared understanding of what Radiohead really means.

Album Score: 10 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork: 9 out of 10

Excellent sleeve with all of the lyrics reproduced and with a real ‘angsty’ styling to the artwork, as I said I really did get it and still haven’t stopped getting it!.

Track Listing:

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

Favourite Track: Just

Tomorrow’s Review: Tuesday Night Music Club – Sheryl Crow

Next Selection: Undertow – Tool

The ‘An Album a Day’  list so far.


Lots of Free Tunes

14 10 2011

I think one of the things I am going to use this blog for more and more is links and articles on free music. By this I don’t mean illegal downloading, I mean genuinely free tracks that are available out on the web.

There are thousands of tracks that you can get access to legitimately and some of these sources are high profile music blogs. This week I have already downloaded four albums worth of music from two of the blogs that I follow.

The first one offers up some very good music on a regular basis and seems to have a link with many up-and-coming artists that are prepared to give away tracks or produce cover versions in order to promote themselves – makes sense right? Especially in this digital age.

The website/blog I am mumbling on about is Stereogum a music blog with some fantastic writing  that always seems to be on the pulse of what is new.

I never hide the fact that I am a massive fan of Radiohead and I was delighted to have found hosted on Stereogum a tribute album to Radiohead’s 1997 masterpiece OK Computer. OKX as it is known (celebrating 10 years of the album) is a release featuring 14 artists providing cover versions of these great songs. There are of course 12 original tracks on the album and these are joined by a second version of No Surprises by Northern State and the B-Sides Polyethylene Parts 1 and 2 by Chris Walla.

Some of the tracks are replications of the originals but two of my favourites are probably Exit Music (For a Film) covered by Vampire Weekend and the Twilight Sad’s version of Climbing Up The Walls.

You can find the full track list as well as download the entire album including artwork right here.

I also made two more ‘full length’ downloads from Stereogum, both tribute albums as well. Rather than go in depth in this post I will just let you know they are cover versions of Bjork’s ‘Post’ album and REM’s classic ‘Automatic for the People’. Having not had chance to fully give them a listen yet I will post and link to these in another blog post.

If you are prepared to explore there is so much excellent, free music available. It may not be by chart toppers (although in some cases can be) but I have always like exploring music and trying to unearth something that really appeals to me.

Another great source and where I got the final download from is Obscure Sound. They put together a monthly ‘best of…’ mix that you can download and listen to at your will.

If you are reading this then firstly thank you, and please don’t be put off if I have fed you information that you already know. I am looking to share plenty more free stuff for your aural pleasure over the coming months.

I will have a good listen to the downloads i have made this week and post up a couple of quick reviews.

Make it Poignant

14 12 2009

I had been contempleting writing this blog for some time, I work hard and wanted something which gave me some warmth and relaxation and a chance to discuss one of my true passions.

I listen to most music but the bands that really set me going are the likes of Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Muse and Editors and some old bands that you would think don’t fit. Marillion are a band I have followed from before my teenage years, a band I discovered like many through my Dad.

Every day I can find myself listening to something completely different, I love to delve back through my collection and unearth an old gem, something that has not been listened to for ages.

Just this weekend I rediscovered the first Fiona Apple album, pure brilliance.

I will be making a daily record on this blog of what I am listening to, buying, downloading or going to watch. You can get involved as well by commenting on the blog posts.

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