Music Features

So, You Want to Get into Radiohead?

The alt-rock legends' fifth album Amnesiac turns 20 years old today.

By: Chris Lever/Shutterstock

When it comes to a band as versed as Radiohead — whose fifth album Amnesiac turns 20 years old today — it's nearly impossible to imagine the sheer quantity of all their recorded material.

Much to the appeal of diehards, the British alt-rock legends have made their intimidatingly expansive history a little easier to parse. In January 2020, they launched the Radiohead Public Library, an infinite-scroll database filled with virtually every TV performance, newly-reissued merchandise, iconic live shows, B-sides, music videos, and plenty more. It's all neatly sorted by studio album, making it easy for fans to fully dive into their favorite era. But, for those not in the loop, the Radiohead Public Library might make getting into the band even more daunting.

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Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

Space and music work quite well together (indeed, the space opera is a genre in and of itself).

Our desire to connect and commune with extraterrestrials—despite the many, many risks this entails—has frequently melted into our music, intertwining with our longing to connect with others and to find meaning in and beyond the limits of our world.

Now that we have proof of aliens via the Pentagon, and because signs of life were just detected on Venus, and particularly because we're all longing for escape during this terrifying time on Earth, could there be a better time to sing out in an attempt to reach the extraterrestrial realm?

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Music Lists

Our 8 Favorite Covers from Musicians in Quarantine

Are you bored in your house? So are these artists.

Stars, they're just like us—stuck in their homes and probably pretty bored.

Here in the states, we're going on a month and a half of practicing social distancing. We could very well go the rest of 2020 without being able to safely attend large gatherings like concerts, which is a huge bummer for both musicians and their fans. Thankfully, plenty of singers have turned to the magic of the Internet to help us get our live music fix, and there's nothing that spices things up quite like a good cover of somebody else's song.

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11 Musicians Who Predicted the Future

These songs predicted the future.

The future, they say, is dark—not dark as in bad, just dark as in uncertain. But sometimes, people find ways to see in the darkness. Music seems to be one of those ways, and popular music in particular tends to be a harbinger of times to come.

Music's foremost clairvoyants include Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and Kanye West, all of whom predicted the apocalyptic ennui and digitized realities that would define the future (or, our present). But other artists have had uncanny bursts of foresight inside their songs, envisioning distant political events and even predicting their own deaths. Here are some of music's strangest accurate predictions.

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When Thom Yorke's MiniDisc archive was hacked by an unnamed assailant last week, the Radiohead lead-singer was asked to pay $150,000 to retrieve the 18 hours of stolen live recordings.

The sessions were all unnamed tracks made during the band's OK Computer days back in 1997, and Yorke reacted how anyone would react to the theft of demo art made in their late 20's: "It's not v interesting," he wrote. "There's a lot of it… as it's out there it may as well be out there until we all get bored and move on." The band let the 1.8-gigabyte collection fly free, charging £18 ($23) for the whole package. "It's only tangentially interesting," wrote guitarist Johnny Greenwood of the release, "and very, very long."

Similarly, last Monday, it was announced that more than 100 songs by Indiana-based rapper Ugly God were also being held for ransom. The rapper shrugged it off. "I accidentally emailed [the songs] to some fan and [he] wants me to pay him or he says he'll leak them," Ugly God wrote on Twitter. "I refuse to buy my own shit from some fan. So if 100+ songs leak, fuck it."

Leaks and piracy in the music industry aren't uncommon, as artists themselves occasionally threaten to leak their own music, yet a common misconception has always been that an artist is emotionally or monetarily affected by leaked music. The same narrative tried to be spun about music piracy a few years ago. "When you download or stream from a pirate site, pirates profit from online ads or subscriptions," wrote Forbes. "So while you are saving a few dollars, you are also effectively taking away an artist's well-deserved gains and re-directing them…[to] criminals." But in 2018, Spotify was sued for 1.6 billion dollars in a lawsuit that claimed the streaming giant "took a shortcut" to avoid paying royalties to artists and record labels. The suit came after Spotify was forced to pay an additional $20 million in outstanding royalties in 2016.

Even Tidal, the Beyonce and Jay-Z-owned streaming service that claims to be the first ever musician-owned service of its kind, has been accused of faking streams and ripping off independent artists. While it remains difficult to determine what's "fair" to the artist in the age of streaming, hackers and pirates should realize that artists will never succumb to their demands, because artists only make around $7,000 per million streams, anyway. "When cassettes became popular. [People were like,] 'Wait a minute, the listener is in control? No!' And to me, I was like, 'F— yeah, man!'" Foo Fighters David Grohl said about song leaks. He went on, "The first thing we should do is get all the fucking millionaires to shut their mouths, stop bitching about the 25 cents they're losing." It's been clear for years that artists don't benefit from music sales nearly as much as labels and streaming services, hence why they've been the only ones who aggressively fight to quell piracy. "I do not care," Liam Gallagher said in a now-archived interview with Shortlist magazine. "I hate seeing all these rock stars complaining. At least they are downloading your music [you] fucking idiot, and they are paying attention to you."

Additionally, trying to prevent a leak is so taxing that it's become a form of counter-espionage. For Jay-Z and Kanye West's highly anticipated Watch The Throne, the production team maintained "John le Carré-style CIA operative tactics" to keep from springing a leak. "All recording sessions took place in private hotel rooms and all outside producers had to submit beats in person–no e-mail, in other words," wrote Pitchforkof the process. "So, there's your solution to the leak problem, musicians: biometric fingerprint-readers on hard drives and flying producers to meet with you in person." These exhaustive prevention efforts simply aren't worth the trouble. "Despite the mp3 waning as a music commodity, it still retains incredible value as a tool for circulating music." wrote Pitchfork. "For the rest of the world, album leaks are simply an established part of the game." Yet as minimal as a pirate's damage may be to an artist's career, having art stolen can still be upsetting. "As things unfolded I went through a number of phases, but the immediate, overriding feeling was one of complete shock." wrote Jai Paul of the 2013 leak of his debut album Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones). "I felt numb...I felt pretty alone with everything, like no one else seemed to view the situation in the same way I did: as a catastrophe." Even so, the leaks catapulted Jai Paul into underground pop stardom. So the question still remains for those holding tunes hostage: Was this ever destined to work in your favor?


Lil Dicky and Grimes are Kickstarting a New Wave of Climate Change Protest Music

After a long period of silence, popular musicians like Grimes and Lil Dicky are taking notes from Joni Mitchell and have started to release climate protest songs—but will their efforts be enough to launch a movement?

Photo by Jayy Torres on Unsplash

For his new video "Earth," Lil Dicky managed to rally some of pop music's titans to form a truly unique visual and auditory experience.

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