Okay Computer

We salute you
By WILL SPITZ  |  July 17, 2007

The last thing the world needs is another Radiohead-covers album, especially a front-to-back tribute to OK Computer, which has already gotten the reggae, string-quartet, and who knows what other treatments. Nonetheless, to honor the tenth anniversary of the Greatest Band in the World’s landmark third album, Stereogum gives us OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer, a free download featuring a minor who’s who of indie acts (John Vanderslice, the Twilight Sad, My Brightest Diamond, etc.), some of whom don’t make us want to stick sharp objects into our ear canals. We’ll save discussion of what it means for the music industry when a blog legally releases an album for free over the Internet for another time. For now, here are a couple of highlights and a couple of lowlights from OKX.

Doveman, “Airbag”
NYC solo artist Doveman reimagines OK Computer’s jarring opening track as a subdued piano-and-pleasant-electronics-driven march — and the result is stunningly beautiful.

Cold War Kids, “Electioneering”
Just when we were ready to defend Cold War Kids against the chorus of haters, they go and drain every ounce of spirit from one of OK Computer’s most raucous, intense tracks by pitting Nathan Willett’s grating vocals against nothing but a plodding drum beat and some barely there piano tinkering. Unlistenable and, to be honest, offensive.

Marissa Nadler feat. Black Hole Infinity, “No Surprises”
Nadler lets the melodic and lyrical strength of the song speak for itself with her spare acoustic-guitar-and-vocals rendition, for which Providence’s Black Hole Infinity provide chilling back-ups. Spine-tingling stuff.

Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble, “The Tourist”
Everything’s going along fine in FHPE’s creepy, outer-spacy version of the album’s closer (which we were never wild about, to be honest) until the “Hey, man, slow down” section, at which point they thought it would be a good idea to throw in some cyborg-chipmunk vocals and a silly-sounding melodic line (a heavily-effected banjo?) and ruin the whole thing. Yikes.

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