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Radiohead 'at the finishing line' on new album, guitarist says

RadioheadImage Credit: Kevin WestenbergAccording to a BBC 6 Music interview with Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, the UK brood-rock icons’ followup to 2008’s In Rainbows is nearly complete—and may be available by the close of 2010.

“Ideally, it would be great if it came out sometime this year. It has got to. I hope so,” he said. “We’re at the finishing line. When you’re making a record, a film, write a book for ages and ages you think the finishing line is miles away. Now it feels it’s in touching distance. But of course, it being a creative process, at the last bit also, you have bursts of energy, you achieve a lot of things in a small period of time and then you’re nearly there. It might slow down. But yeah, hopefully it will be a matter of weeks.”

The still-untitled release is, he says, “genuinely exciting” and “very different from what we did last time.It’s really nice to be doing this. It’s so good to be making music with the band that you feel is still as good as it’s ever been.” It also sounds like a better time than Rainbow‘s apparently taxing process: “It wasn’t fun making the record,” O’Brien admits. “Traditionally, Radiohead in a studio has been: Don your tin helmet, just see it out, like a war of attrition … We hear it all the time: ‘it sounds like you had a great time in the studio’. But, oh man… that [In Rainbows] was a slog. It was a really long process.”

“At the end, for instance a song like ‘House Of Cards’ has been recorded six times. Plus the fact: we had this genius idea in 2006 to go on tour and do 50 odd shows, play all these songs, go back to studio and record them. And that’s when we went back in with [producer] Nigel [Godrich]. We went in and recorded them having played these songs 50 times … And we got them down and most of them were rubbish. A lot of work in the creative process is rubbish.”

“We knew we had these songs,” he continues. “We really believed in these songs. So, we had to do it right. It just took a long time. And we basically decided then and there at the end of that record: ‘We are never doing this again this way’. That was kind of like the end of Radiohead, mark 2. We decided, the only way that worked for us to carry on was to do it in a different spirit. Enjoy it.”

No word yet on whether this more enjoyable outing’s digital and physical release will follow Rainbow‘s unorthodox release route. Readers, how do you think it should be done?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix)

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Regina Spektor covers Radiohead's 'No Surprises' for charity

Regina-SpektorRegina Spektor has just released a cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders. The 1997 original is very close to a perfect song, and for me it’s hard to imagine anyone but Thom Yorke singing it right. Spektor’s spare version, just her and a piano, has just about won me over, though. She’s smart enough not to distract from that heartbreakingly beautiful melody with any production tricks or vocal theatrics. Well done.

100 percent of the proceeds (both Spektor’s and Radiohead’s) are going to a very worthy cause: Doctors Without Borders provides crucial medical care to the victims of earthquakes, war, and other disasters around the world. So check out Spektor’s “No Surprises” after the jump (clip via Stereogum). Then, if you like it, please do consider spending $1.29 on it at iTunes. READ FULL STORY

Conan O'Brien covers Radiohead: Watch the video here

Oh Coco, you’re so “Creep”-y. Hours before our own Dan Snierson hit the Oregon trail to document the opening night of Conan O’Brien’s national comedy tour, everyone’s favorite late-night ginger busted his best impromptu Thom Yorke in a pre-show soundcheck.

Watch the TBS newbie take on “Creep,” with Conan-ically customized lyrics (Hugh Laurie and Helen Mirren, you’ve been served), after the jump:


Thom Yorke jams out, road tests new tunes with Atoms for Peace in NYC

atoms-for-peaceImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comThe biggest cheers for Flying Lotus at NYC’s Roseland Ballroom last night came at the very end of the electronic wizard’s opening set, when he dropped a pitch-shifted snippet of Radiohead’s “Idioteque.” Never mind the fact that, for 35 minutes or so prior, he had already been hurling down titanic beats to what seemed an unjustifiably lukewarm crowd reaction. The point was made: This was a house full of Radiohead fans, and they were more excited by a remix of a 10-year-old Radiohead classic than anything else Flying Lotus could offer.

This wasn’t, however, a Radiohead show. It was the East Coast debut of Thom Yorke’s other band, Atoms for Peace (né ????) — the one with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The fledgling supergroup had previously played only a tiny handful of gigs, all in L.A., since Yorke announced its formation in a September ’09 blog post. Even in an age when fans could watch those performances on YouTube last fall practically before the roadies finished clearing the stage, there was still a pleasant sense of mystery surrounding the first of Atoms for Peace’s two nights at Roseland.


Thom Yorke names new band (oddly); announces first tour dates

Thom-YorkeImage Credit: John Shearer/Getty ImagesThe silent H in Thom—perhaps it stands for “hey dude, that is an interesting choice for a new band name”?

Several weeks ago, when the ever-enigmatic Radiohead frontman was announced as a solo headliner at this year’s Coachella Festival as “Thom Yorke????,” fans were perplexed. It was, it turns out, Yorke’s half-serious holding place for his collaboration with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, producer Nigel Godrich, and longtime studio pros Joey Waronker (Beck, Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M.) and Mauro Refosco (David Byrne, Bebel Gilberto).

Today, on Radiohead’s official website, Yorke dropped news of the group’s upcoming tour dates (see below), as well as its newly-christened name, a choice he calls “bleedin’ obvious”: Atoms for Peace. A reference to, apparently, to a song on Yorke’s 2007 solo debut The Eraser that was in turn perhaps an allusion to Dwight D. Eisenhower speech to the U.N. Assembly in 1953.

Peaceful use of atomic energy? Thumbs up. A name that sounds like an anti-nuke after-school club? (Marching this Tuesday with Molecules for Amnesty!) Thumbs… sideways, with a downward tilt. Oh well. Things could be so much worse.

Anyway, here are the dates, with opening act Flying Lotus. Enjoy, little protons:

04.05 New York City, NY: Roseland Ballroom
04.06 New York City, NY: Roseland Ballroom
04.08 Boston, MA: Citi Wang Theatre
04.10 Chicago, IL: Aragon Ballroom
04.11 Chicago, IL: Aragon Ballroom
04.14 Oakland, CA: Fox Theatre
04.15 Oakland, CA: Fox Theatre
04.17 Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Bowl

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Radiohead rumor control: Their next album is NOT finished

We Radiohead fans have a way of getting all hyper-ventilate-y every time the slightest shred of news, gossip, or implication slips out regarding our beloved band. (No offense meant. I can say this of Radiohead fans because I most fervently am one.) So when a rumor got out today that the band threw a wrap party in L.A. last weekend to celebrate the completion of their eighth studio album, quite a few people got very excited.

Only one problem: It’s not true. I just asked Radiohead’s publicist whether the band had indeed finished recording LP8. “FALSE,” came the reply within minutes. As for the so-called “wrap party,” their rep couldn’t confirm or deny whether that happened — but if it did, it presumably had nothing to do with completing an album.

Looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer for the new album that guitarist Ed O’Brien promised us in 2010. Oh well. Fellow Radiohead worshippers, you may now return to your regularly scheduled activity of listening for the thousandth time to the unbelievable B-sides from Amnesiac, and I will do the same.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Photo Credit: Kevin Westenberg

Thom Yorke at Coachella: Why he's officially billed as 'Thom Yorke????'

The third night of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival promises to be particularly excellent, with headlining cartoon primates Gorillaz supported by acts including a reunited Pavement and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. Or, as the official festival poster released today identifies him, “Thom Yorke????”

What’s with all the question marks? No big mystery. Yorke is definitely playing Coachella on Sunday, April 18. His reps tell the Music Mix that he intends to perform with the same backing band he assembled for a handful of Los Angeles dates last fall (pictured) — Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, producer Nigel Godrich, and seasoned session hands Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco. Yorke never got around to naming the new band back then, resulting in some mysterious marquee displays around L.A., and now he’s decided to stick with the same question marks to indicate those guys’ presence.

The timing of the announcement is interesting, considering that Radiohead were reportedly planning to get back to work on their eighth album right about now. (His reps wouldn’t say anything about how those plans are progressing.) Dare we dream that he might have some more new Radiohead material to debut by April? Either way, I just hope Yorke — with or without the question mark gang — books a date a little closer to the East Coast soon. I’m going crazy over here!

Any other diehard fans feeling the same way? Or are you lucky enough to be seeing Thom Yorke???? at Coachella this spring?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Photo credit: John Shearer/Getty Images

Lupe Fiasco raps over Radiohead's 'National Anthem'

Rapping over Radiohead samples is an easy way to get Radiohead-loving rap fans like me to take note. If the emcee in question is super-smart Chicagoan Lupe Fiasco and the Radiohead track he’s borrowing is 2000’s fantastically unsettling “The National Anthem,” you bet I’m clicking through extra fast.

Such was the case for the second track from Lupe’s new mixtape Enemy of the State, released last week as, I can only assume, a very thoughtful Thanksgiving gift to yours truly. It doesn’t disappoint. Lupe’s flows are still some of the nicest going — so nimble that, like many of his songs, this one can take a few listens (and preferably a lyrics sheet) to catch all the double entendres, subversive sentiments, and extended metaphors he’s playing with. And he really lets the original Radiohead song breathe, working with its pummeling bass and freaky free-jazz horns in a way that I bet the Oxford wizards themselves would dig.

Check out Lupe Fiasco’s “The National Anthem” below (some NSFW imagery), and let us know what you think. And if you’re really a Radiohead-meets-rap connoisseur, which do you like better: This or 2007’s “Us Placers,” where Lupe, Kanye West, and Pharrell Williams sampled Radiohead leader Thom Yorke’s solo cut “The Eraser”?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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'New Moon' soundtrack goes platinum: But does it have the teeth to beat 'Twilight'?

It seems my New Moon: A Hater’s Guide Popwatch post of last week has had absolutely zero effect on the commercial success of the film and its soundtrack. While the movie racked up an astonishing, and record-breaking, $142m in ticket sales over its opening weekend, the CD has just been certified platinum and sold 93,000 copies in its sixth week on release.

It turns out you can get blood from stone of the record-buying public if you involve enough buffed-up werewolves and sulky looks. The big question now is whether the the New Moon CD, which features tracks by Death Cab for Cutie, Muse, The Killers and Thom Yorke (whose contribution, “Hearing Damage,” you can hear below) as well as indie upstarts like Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver and Hurricane Bells, can top the success of the Twilight album. That has been on the Billboard charts now for 55 weeks straight and has shifted 2.3 million copies.

So, non-haters: Do you prefer the Twilight or the New Moon CD? And do you think the latter will ultimately defeat the former?

Peter Gabriel covers Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Regina Spektor: When rock worlds collide

Although we haven’t heard any songs from Peter Gabriel‘s upcoming album, Scratch My Back, we’re already fixated on how bizarre and potentially great it could be. The Genesis co-founder just confirmed the track list for his eclectic all-covers record—which includes Arcade Fire, Radiohead, and Bon Iver—though not, sadly, the Vampire Weekend cover he did with Hot Chip:

Scratch Your Back, due in January 2010, isn’t your typical covers album—Gabriel is reinterpreting an array of bands with orchestral re-imaginings. The will be the usual tributes to established icons—David Bowie, Talking Heads, the aforementioned Radiohead—but he also proves he’s been keeping up on groundbreaking music even though his last full-length came out in 2002. The Arcade Fire, the Magnetic Fields, Bon Iver, Elbow and Regina Spektor will all get the orchestral treatment by the man who wants to be your Sledgehammer.

Don’t relax those raised eyebrows yet—apparently, the artists Gabriel reinterprets will be returning the compliment by doing a song of his at some undisclosed point. Maybe the Magnetic Fields will give us droll version of “Solsbury Hill”? We can dream…

We got to thinking about our other favorite crossover moments between indie artists and classic rockers, including some of the above-mentioned artists. Remember when the Thin White Duke performed “Wake Up” with the Arcade Fire? Or more recently, when blue-eyed soul legend Michael McDonald appeared with art-rockers Grizzly Bear (not that we didn’t all see that one coming). And of course, there was the time Daryl Hall had the electro-pop/cheese-funk duo Chromeo over to his house for a jam session.

Any other couplings between established acts and up-and-comers that—in your eyes—we forgot to mention?

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