Radiohead – OK Computer

By: Kevin Feagin

This is Radiohead’s third record.  I consider the first record “Pablo Honey” to be relatively mediocre and the second record “The Bends” to be very good.  “The Bends” is the first record that pairs the band with Nigel Godrich.  This partnership took things to the next level and the trend continues on “OK Computer”.
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I’ve heard “OK Computer” many times before, but never on vinyl.  I hurriedly peel off the shrink wrap and toss it on the turntable.  The opening notes of “Airbag” sound amazing; the heavily gated and sometimes flanged out drums; the late entry of that awesome bass line.  Things are going great as I listen intently through the first three tracks.  Paranoid Android: “From a great height!”.  Subterranean Homesick Alien: “They’d think that I’d finally lost it completely!”.  I flip the record.  This record, like many from this time period, is not a double album, but still takes 2 records.  While I’m sure they labored over the order of the tracks on the CD, I think I’m safe to assume that very little (if any) thought was put in to record flips.  That said, I am now perfectly greeted with the quiet opening of Exit Music (For a Film): “We hope your rules and wisdom choke you!”.  “Let Down”.  “Karma Police” closes out the side.  This was originally my favorite song on the record.  I saw Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl once upon a time.  At the risk of sounding like a ridiculous pun, I quite literally lost myself at the end of the song.  It was just the right time, the right song….   I swap records and things continued on in this fashion.  “Fitter Happier”; More productive.  “Electioneering”,  “Climbing Up The Walls”.  Really, really great.  The side closes out with “No Surprises”.  I remember reading somewhere that this track was recorded in a single take.  I flip the record one last time and it closes with “Lucky” and “The Tourist”.  “Hey man, slow down. Slow down, idiot”.  For real.  It dawns on me that it has been some time since I have listened to the entire record in a single sitting.  I kind of feel dizzy.  I turn it up a bit and do it all again.

we hope that you choke

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Delaney & Bonnie and Friends – Motel Shot (1971)

By: Matt Wilson

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My first spin of this record was somewhat of an introduction for me. While I was superficially familiar with the earlier works of Delaney & Bonnie – this recording represents a clear and intentional departure from the group’s southern-soul, swampified-Stax movements that seemed to dominate the duo’s earlier records. Motel Shot is a return to something more terrestrial and wholesome. The album is almost exclusively acoustic and mostly devoid of the big horn arrangements and gospel revival feel that I always associated with the D&B sound. This was, indeed, a pleasant surprise.

Knowing this, I suppose it’s not a coincidence that the record includes an impressive guest roster: Leon Russell, Duane Allman, Dave Mason, John Hartford, Clarence White and Gram Parsons, among others. And much like the album’s guests, Motel Shot is an overlooked, yet most-deserving, masterpiece that certainly appeared before it’s time. Debuting just as the alt-country, roots-rock wave was beginning to garner critical attention and acceptance, this Americanized stew was probably not quite ready for prime time. From where I sit, however, the record capably set the table for all that will follow. Capturing a wonderful amalgamation of gospel, blues, country-rock, roots and folk music – Motel Shot deserves recognition among the era’s absolute best – from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs to American Beauty to Sweetheart of the Radio. To me, this record reflects the unadulterated soul of an accomplished duo, seeking purity and simplicity in a time of want, with a timeless honesty and sincerity that remains apparent with each listen.