I love Nigel Godrich’s From The Basement. It’s a UK show but now appears on IFC every Tuesday night at 5PM PST/ 8PM EST. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall during this Radiohead performance recorded last year. I couldn’t decide which song to feature so I put them all up. Obnoxious? Maybe. But you know you’re going to watch it. Enjoy!
My friend Erin had this print of an old British poster in her house that struck me. It’s a reproduction of an old slogan used to allay public fear during the outbreak of World War 2. The original poster was held in reserve for use only in times of extreme crisis. Although thousands were produced, only a handful ever saw the light of day. (For a reproduction of the poster, go to Keep Calm Gallery.)
Some 60 years later, I couldn’t help but think how fitting it was in this day and age where fear and uncertainty has reached epidemic proportions. It seems as though the world is on the edge of its seat, waiting for life as we know it to end sometime in 2009. Just how bad will 2009 be? The speculation is endless and the anticipation exhausting. It’s only January 1 and I’m already tired of it. And like a bunch of rubberneckers at the scene of an accident, we seem compelled to slow down and look at the wreckage, clogging up everything behind us. Too scared to do anything else. While I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, I have decided to adopt this as my motto and modus operandi for 2009. I think we can all use a little more of that British ‘stiff upper lip’ right now.
So Happy New Year folks. Let’s all just keep calm and carry on. In honor of our wise British brethren, I’ve composed a mix of some of my favorite UK-based artists and songs. Enjoy. And let’s keep on rockin’ in the free world!
For all the bullshit that was involved with the All Points West Festival in NY this weekend – the poor transportation planning, ridiculous VIP setup, absurd alcohol restrictions, enormous lines and overall clusterfuck – all was redeemed when Radiohead took the stage Saturday night.
As the sun set on the New York city skyline, thousands of people jostled to their places then stood transfixed and mesmerized for the next two hours. It was the most beautiful Radiohead performance I’ve seen yet. So gentle, haunting and moving that it enraptured 30,000 people to such a state of reverent silence you could hear a pin drop when Thom Yorke started in on ‘House of Cards.’
It gave me chills and felt somewhat transcendental. For everything at that moment was perfect – the weather, the scenery, the crowd, the company and most of all the music. I didn’t want it to end – ever.
After the show, there was a palpable sense of calm and peacefulness about the crowd. I was truly amazed no one lost their cool as 30,000 people descended on the only two transportation outlets home. Clearly everyone was affected.
Once we got home, all we could do for hours was reflect. It was a profoundly beautiful evening. And it might have been the closest thing to a religious experience I’ve ever had. My Radiohead religion.
The Listening Post published an intriguing article today on the analysis of Radiohead’s groundbreaking ‘pay what you want’ distribution strategy for In Rainbows, which allowed fans to download the album from their website for whatever price they wanted with a valid email address. Many critics of the strategy considered it a failure because the album became wildly popular on file sharing networks almost immediately upon its release.
But was it really a failure? Analysts at MCPS PRS have crunched the numbers and beg to differ. Sure, the album was ‘illegally’ shared more than 2.3 million times within the first 3 weeks of it’s release. And that’s a lot of email addresses and potential revenue the band lost. But the firm claims Radiohead’s strategy was a success nonetheless; winning the public’s attention to top the charts in both the UK and US and enable a hugely successful worldwide tour.
They conclude that when it comes to judging whether an album is a success these days, the old metrics just don’t cut it. And that the music industry needs to stop thinking of shared files as lost sales, and start treating them as an aspect of reality upon which they can build their business. Hear hear!
The full report will be available on the MCPS PRS website tomorrow. Until then, enjoy another groundbreaking Radiohead development – the new video for House of Cards using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. No lights or cameras were used. Just this 3D LIDAR technology.