Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Radiohead Effect

Well, I am very sorry for the absence, all. It has been an interesting year for me, and bit by bit, all the sordid details will be revealed. I'm a bit older, not much wiser, and a little more beaten up, but I am still here, ready to fulfill the musical needs of people like me who are tired of hearing the same ol' shit by people like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears:!.mp3

But, I'll make my return in a very humble fashion, and attempt to explain the concept I've termed "the Radiohead Effect":

Some bands manage to produce a shitty debut album that manages to succeed commercially, either through the strength of a hit single or by riding the crest of a current musical trend. Nada Surf, for instance, attained their initial popularity with one of the all-time worst songs ever recorded, "Popular". Ten years later, however, they produced one of the greatest pop-rock albums ever recorded, "The Weight is a Gift", and continue to make amazing records that defy the shittiness of their debut. A more famous example is Radiohead. After they'd apparently fallen off the face of the earth once "Creep" faded off the charts, I'd written them off as the next Soul Asylum. But, ten years later, they were the most innovative, interesting musical outfit since Can.

Now, the Australian band Silverchair was the LAST band I would've expected to benefit from The Radiohead Effect. Most everyone remembers them for their (admittedly) decent single, "Tomorrow", in which the singer croons in his best Jim Morrison over Nirvana-esque soft-LOUD-soft-LOUDER-soft arrangements. (as an aside, my most vivid memory of this album was nearly blowing out my roommate's shitty Pioneer speakers with the bass-tastic intro to "Israel's Son". I would defy L'Trimm, Fannypack, or 2 Live Crew to reproduce such frequencies). I haven't been able to GIVE my copy of "Frogstomp" away for the past ten years, so I had written off Silverchair, along with The Toadies, as relics that would eventually find themselves on a "Grunge-Mania!!!" comp CD.

But, it turns out Silverchair has been making amazing pop albums for the past ten years. I have to admit, they are very good at making Matthew Sweet/Cheap Trick-style power-pop, and are virtually unrecognizable from the dull grunge of "Frogstomp".

Turns out Australia is good for something besides 'roos, Road Warrior, and Yahoo Serious: