Destroyer’s indie/soft-rock opus Kaputt swept me off my feet back in January, and when tallying up my favorite records of 2011, it was the clear choice for best album of the year. It was probably my most-played album of the year, anyway (and my Current officemates can back that up). Here’s my favorite track from Kaputt, “A Savage Night at the Opera.”
The top spot almost went to Greatest Living American Pop Songwriter Paul Simon for So Beautiful or So What — the man is 70 years old and still putting out creative, contemporary art while others in his age bracket are content to “interpret” the Great American Songbook (yawn). Plus, he was amazing live when I saw him this year (in Austin, of course). You can read my full top ten list here, and if you’re so inclined you can check out my lists for 2010, 2009, and 2008.
I also reviewed the new Radiohead singles “The Daily Mail” and “Staircase,” taken from their upcoming DVD The King of Limbs Live From the Basement. You can read my review here. Limbs was my sixth favorite album of 2011, and these pair of songs should’ve made the album tracklist (would’ve made it a bit longer, anyway). Watching Thom Yorke and pals play live is way more interesting than me talking about, so here they are. Take it away, guys.
Last month my musical friends and I did a full live album cover of Radiohead’s Kid A, continuing a series of live album covers that has included Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and OK Computer. But we are not a cover or tribute band: Each show was put together in roughly four weeks, and every performance was 100% free of charge. And, with the exception of OK Computer, we’ve never performed any album twice.
Which is why we are so thrilled to have the night documented. Our comrades at Magic Spoon Productions and Miranda Studios collaborated to produce the definitive film experience of the performance. Everyone did an amazing job that night; I’m glad to have such talented friends. Check out more videos by Magic Spoon and Miranda Studios, including videos from some of our previous live album covers (linked above).
Last Wednesday, me and a group of musician friends performed Radiohead’s classic 2000 album, Kid A, live in its entirety at the Broadway 5050, to kick off our second season of live album covers. (You can read more about our 2010 season — which included Radiohead’s OK Computer, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot among others — by searching the “album covers series” tag on my site.) Videographer Stephen Castro of Miranda Studios was filming from the “front row” and has released the first four songs of the set: “Everything in its Right Place,” “Kid A,” “The National Anthem.” and “How to Disappear Completely.” The Kid A band consisted of Chris Maddin (vocals), Chris Guerra (Rhodes and keyboards), Leonard Rader (background vocals, guitar, samples and effects), Matt Thomas (bass), Jaime Rader (samples, loops, guitar), and myself on acoustic/electronic drums and an iPad. “The National Anthem” also featured Ryan Teter (trombone), Steve Mohacey (tenor sax), and Jacinto Lefebre (trumpet). Meg Lobasso played cello on “How to Disappear.” Everyone did an amazing job bringing this album to life, I will post more videos as they pop up. Cheers!
Last year, Chris Maddin, myself, and a group of occasionally rotating local musicians embarked on a project to do a live cover of an entire album, top to bottom, as close to the source material as we could get. We also gave ourselves under a month to learn everything. It was a pretty daunting task, but I definitely enjoyed it. Last year we covered Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and we ended the series with Radiohead’s OK Computer. We needed a little break before diving in to another album, but we’re picking up where we left off with OK Computer and will perform Kid A next. We hinted at this after last year’s OKC show by doing “Idioteque” as an encore. Enjoy, and check back here after August 10 when we perform the other nine tracks.
DISCLAIMER: I freakin’ love Radiohead. Ever since I heard OK Computer (during the peak of my teenage British rock phase), I finally found a band that was worth obsessing over as much as some of my favorite jazz artists. I have almost all their releases (studio and live), b-sides, c-sides and other rarities. I’ve seen them three times (twice in Houston and once in Chicago). Thom Yorke’s wise, heavy-lidded visage graces both of my iMac desktops (at work, and at home). When I was an active jazz drummer, I did an arrangement of “Knives Out” (with a nod to Brad Mehldau, of course). Last year, I covered OK Computer in its entirety with Chris Maddin (of local SA indie band Blowing Trees) and other musician friends, finally putting all that teenage obsessing to good use (there were like 250+ people packed in there, and it was the most fun, like, ever).
I was lucky to review their last “surprise” album, 2007′s In Rainbows, and as soon as I saw the announcement for The King of Limbs I jumped on it (literally emailing my pitch during the drive to the office). Downloading The King of Limbs is the closest I’ve felt to unwrapping Christmas presents as a kid. (Calculating the total file size = lifting a present to see how heavy it is.) I was initially disappointed to find only 8 tracks in the unzipped folder (Wait, is there another folder? Did the whole thing download? … Eight tracks after four years?! That’s … two tracks a year!), but that quickly evaporated. I was listening to new Radiohead.
For the full King of Limbs review, click here. I also reviewed the new Bright Eyes album, The People’s Key. Check it out here. And, just for fun, here’s the video for “Lotus Flower,” the first single from King of Limbs. Get it, Thom!