In the age of online leaks, an album’s release date has little remaining meaning, but somehow Radiohead has managed to bring back that shared listening experience, as confirmed today by music fans everywhere who listened to the band’s eighth album, The King of Limbs. Similar to the release of 2007’s In Rainbows, The King of Limbs announcement and release were about a week apart. Though forgoing the “It’s up to you” pricing system, it’s being offered as a direct download from the band’s website, with a deluxe “newspaper” version containing both vinyl and CD to be released later. Though tomorrow was already marked on calendars as “New Radiohead Day,” the band surprised us again by releasing the album a day early.

On first listen, The King of Limbs is similar to Amnesiac, not an immediate album by any means, but one that is remarkably layered. 2009’s single ‘These Are My Twisted Words’ also shares a similar aesthetic. Forgoing In Rainbows’ melodies, it’s very experimental, electronic and percussion-driven. Very little guitar is present. The King of Limbs also stands out as Radiohead’s shortest album, just shy of thirty-eight minutes.

In those thirty-eight minutes we have these eight songs to appreciate. Opener ‘Bloom’ sets the tone for the first half of the album, based around Thom Yorke’s voice and a spastic drumbeat, a pattern which continues through ‘Morning Mr. Magpie,’ ‘Little by Little,’ and the instrumental ‘Feral.’ The standout here is ‘Lotus Flower,’ accompanied by an excellent video of Yorke dancing. The album slows down in the latter half, with the ‘Pyramid Song’-esque ‘Codex’ and ‘Give Up the Ghost.’ ‘Separator’ closes the album with the ominous words “If you think this is over, then you’re wrong,” giving rise to conspiracy theories that this is just the first of two discs.

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— , February 18, 2011    2 Comments


August 15, 2008, Molson Ampitheatre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The fates seemed destined to make my first experience at a Radiohead concert a terrible one. Between the torrential downpour, getting stuck in the muddy lawn of the Molson Amphitheatre, and being surrounded by a group of drunken assholes, I was finding it a little hard to get into the show. Luckily, the rain stopped the minute the band walked on stage, and I managed to ignore the jerks for most of the show. Walking through the Exhibition, there were two rainbows ending directly at the amphitheatre, which I now know was a good omen.

The opener was 15 Step, going in line with the new album. The light show kicked in after the second verse, and it was pretty impressive. I knew beforehand that In Rainbows would be played in its entirety, so the rest of the set would have to be made up of older material. While all the albums (minus Pablo Honey) got some representation, they surprisingly skipped out on their mainstream hits (by which I refer to stuff like Karma Police, Just, and the like.) That’s not a complaint, as you can see below it was a pretty diverse set. Notable surprises were Talk Show Host and Climbing up the Walls. The atmosphere was just haunting. Other highlights for me were All I Need, Wolf at the Door, Planet Telex, and Street Spirit. Planet Telex in particular had the best moments of the light show, with a psychedelic rainbow backdrop on the stage. Thom Yorke’s thanks for braving the elements was followed by advice to find someone to take home and get warm. While the stage banter was light, what was given was enjoyable.

I could’ve used Fake Plastic Trees or Let Down, but I was pleased with what I got. The only song I would’ve booted off the setlist was Pyramid Song. Not my cup of tea. Hopefully my next Radiohead experience will be drier and closer to the stage, but it was definitely an awesome show.

15 Step
There There
Morning Bell
All I Need
Pyramid Song
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
The Gloaming
Wolf at the Door
Faust Arp
No Surprises
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Climbing Up the Walls

First Encore
Like Spinning Plates
Talk Show Host
Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Second Encore
House of Cards
Planet Telex
Everything in Its Right Place


— , August 17, 2008    2 Comments

Covers are tricky. If you don’t do justice to the song, you run the risk of being in the shadow of the original artist. Often the better covers are those that do something a little different, but those that revel in the awesomeness of the original can be enjoyable too. I feel the need to share some of my favourites in a possibly reoccurring segment known as Duck and Cover, because I thought that was clever.

The Dismemberment Plan – Close to Me

This is a cover of one of the Cure’s more upbeat songs (they exist, I assure you), and the reason I started listening to the Dismemberment Plan. Gone are the handclaps, saxophones and Robert Smith, in are guitars, bongos, Travis Morrison and a couple of DJs. Record-scratching is probably not the first thing to come to mind when doing a cover of this song, but honestly, it adds so much to the atmosphere that I prefer this to the original. This is a great example of where going into a completely different direction works.

Radiohead – Ceremony

Performed during a webcast at the end of last year, this is a fairly straight-forward cover of New Order’s first single. Nothing is really altered from the original song, but it is a solid rendition no matter how you look at it. Plus it sent me on a 4-month New Order bender that hasn’t ended yet.

Final Fantasy – Fantasy

I never thought I’d willingly be listening to a Mariah Carey song, but Owen Pallett has done it. In a surprisingly faithful and un-ironic performance with only his voice, violin, and a loop pedal. You’ve probably already heard this, but it needs to be heard again.

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— , March 9, 2008    Comments Off on Duck and Cover

The first ever Ca Va Cool mix includes some highlights from the writers’ favourite albums, EPs, and singles of 2007. Pretty representative of what was important this year in indie pop, rock, and dance (indie being a sound, attitude, and aesthetic, rather than commercial means). This was a team effort, and you know what they say about herd mentality: it’s never wrong.

01. Spoon – The Underdog
02. Shout Out Louds – Tonight I Have to Leave It
03. Tokyo Police Club – Box
04. The Teenagers – Homecoming
05. The Shins – Australia
06. Radiohead – House of Cards
07. Basia Bulat – I Was a Daughter
08. M.I.A. – Paper Planes
09. The New Pornographers – My Right Versus Yours
10. Panda Bear – Comfy in Nautica
11. The National – Slow Show
12. Miracle Fortress – Maybe Lately
13. Two Hours Traffic – Stuck for the Summer
14. LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
15. Jens Lekman – The Opposite of Hallelujah
16. Handsome Furs – Handsome Furs Hate This City
17. Feist – Past in Present
18. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.
19. Stars – Window Bird
20. The Cribs – Moving Pictures
21. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Satan Said Dance
22. Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
23. Band of Horses – Is There a Ghost
24. Arcade Fire – The Well and the Lighthouse
25. Au Revoir Simone – Sad Song

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— , December 25, 2007    4 Comments