Music Picks - February 2011

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by , 02-19-2011 at 04:22 AM (1068 Views)
Hey folks. Another month and some more picks. Oh and a name change. Long story short: Joker was my old name in MWM (my former community) and everyone still calls me that, so to make life easier I figured I would just use that name.

Anyway though, this blog isn't about my name(s). It's about music! So let's get down to it.

Pick of the Month

Radiohead - "The King of Limbs"

This came out of nowhere. On Valentine's Day Radiohead decides to announce their new full length album is coming out on the 19th. Of February. Instead though, they release it a day early on the 18th (today). It's no secret the band have been working on new material for some time, but to just spring it on people like this is unexpected (and welcome might I add).

They are doing things a bit different this time around. With their last release, "In Rainbows" they adopted a "Pay what you want" policy for quite some time. Meaning you could pay nothing and get the album, or pay $5,000 if you so choose. Not this time. Instead, they are offering two digital formats, MP3 @ 320 KBPS and WAV, for $9 and $12 respectively. Moreover though, it will be followed by a physical CD release in the UK on 28 March and a special "newspaper" edition on 9 May 2011.

What is this "newspaper" edition you ask?


Quote Originally Posted by The King of Limbs official page
* Two clear 10" vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve.
* A compact disc.
* Many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together.
* The Newspaper Album comes with a digital download that is compatible with all good digital media players.
* The Newspaper Album will be shipped on Monday 9th May 2011 you can, however, enjoy the download now.
* Shipping is included in the prices shown.
* One lucky owner of the digital version of The King Of Limbs, purchased from this website, will receive a signed 2 track 12" vinyl.

Newspaper Album + MP3 PRICE $48.00
Newspaper Album + WAV PRICE $53.00
Pretty spiffy package for something so cheap.

However, the most important thing here isn't just the package contents, but the musical content. Let me tell you now, as I've been listening to the album for an hour or so, it's a very different Radiohead than people are used to. The band has always been known for evolving their sound each record. This though, this is more than a evolution. This is a lightspeed jump from "In Rainbows." That doesn't mean it's bad, however. It's just a more acquired taste this time around.

The songs are heavily electronic based with a strong emphasis on the rhythms of Phil (drummer). I find it really hard to even describe this sound. That probably makes it sound like some horrific noise, but it's really not. Everything is very tight, precise and fits together perfectly. I want to compare it slightly the sounds of "Kid A", but it isn't as melodic as many of those tracks were. Or at least not as melodically layered. This is definitely a different Radiohead. But a good one. I'm fairly confident that this album will grow on me rather quickly.

The debut single and video for "The King of Limbs" is already out. Entitled "Lotus Flower" the song is not really "new" per-se, as Thom Yorke has been heard (and even amateurishly recorded) playing this on one of his solo tours. However, with that said, the Radiohead studio version is a whole new approach to the song. And it is damn catchy.

See and hear for yourselves:
YouTube - Radiohead - Lotus Flower

As an added side note, the video has gotten so much traffic, the viewing counter has been stuck at 1,246,634 for over an hour.

So, to close for this pick, "The King of Limbs" isn't a masterpiece by any means. It's more of an aural experience of a band growing into its true maturity and trying to find itself in a music industry overrun with generic knock offs left and right. It's definitely worth a listen at least once. The "newspaper" edition will be hardcore fans only (I may pick one up, we'll see). If nothing else though, at least listen to the single before you discount it.

Classic Pick

Something new I wanted to try this month. A "classic" so to speak. It doesn't have to be classic in that everyone in their mother knows the tune, but something that may have been criminally overlooked in its time. Or it could be something really popular in its day but has now since been forgotten.

Icicle Works - Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)

Released in 1984, this tune became sort of a one-hit wonder for Icicle Works here in the US. They fared much better in their native UK, but for a relatively unknown band in the US, being able to reach #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 is no easy feat.

A couple of things to note though. The US title of this track is actually reversed: Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly). Why? Because Artisa Records wanted listeners to be able to track down the record and buy it. The line "whisper to a scream" is repeated throughout the chorus, whereas "Birds fly" can only be briefly heard. Furthermore, Icicle Works are technically "The" Icicle Works.

Either way. The song is absolutely fantastic. Extraordinarily catchy. Lyrically sound as well. I am willing to bet money that by listening to this track at least once, you'll have it stuck in your head for the remainder of that day.

Check it out:

YouTube - Birds Fly - Whisper To A scream

And those are your music picks for the month of February, 2011. Wish I had more for you, but I sorta slacked off this month. Shame on me. I'll be sure to make March much better.
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