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When Radiohead were held to ransom by hackers, they shrugged and put 18 hours of unheard material online for free. But for other artists, having music leaked can be devastating

In 1997, Radiohead imagined a future in which technological dependency and out-of-control consumerism had merged to form a dark, digital void. OK Computer, the bands third album, painted prescient pictures of riot police at political rallies and anxious lives lived in suburbs surrounded by endless motorways. The digital advances promising to bring us together, it seemed to warn, would instead corrode and cause chaos.

Last weeks big Radiohead news wouldnt have sounded out of place on that albums technosceptic vision of tomorrow. The band had been hacked, guitarist Jonny Greenwood revealed on Tuesday, and 18 hours of unreleased music from their OK Computer sessions stolen. Pay $150,000, they were warned, or this archive would be uploaded to the internet for free. The only thing more frustrating to frontman Thom Yorke than the situation, fans joked, was the fact he hadnt thought to mention sinister cybercriminals holding people to ransom on OK Computer in the first place.

The group responded to the threats with a shrug. Instead of complaining much or ignoring it, Greenwood wrote on social media, were releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion. Minutes later, a waking days worth of untitled, unedited offcuts and demos appeared on the streaming service for fans to sift through. The move was heralded as a victory for artists and a middle finger to pirates, who for two decades have derailed album release campaigns by uploading illegally obtained music, often months in advance.

A lot has been written about the financial cost of leaks since the advent of sites such as Napster. One report by the Institute for Policy Innovation, an American thinktank, estimated that internet users have downloaded $12.5bn worth of pirated music every year since 1999. Less has been made of the emotional trauma of the artists whove seen music, often unfinished, stolen from their private vaults and uploaded without consent.

This month, Madonna said she felt raped after her 2015 album Rebel Heart leaked online before shed even announced it. There are no words to describe how devastated I was, she told the New York Times. Jai Paul, the influential R&B star in the making, was similarly distressed after his debut album was hacked and posted in full online, and he disappeared from public view for six years. Returning with his first music since 2013 this month, he told of how he suffered a breakdown of sorts and withdrew from life, consumed by trauma and grief.

Jai
Jai Paul

No one else seemed to view the situation in the same way I did: as a catastrophe, he wrote in an open letter. The hardest thing to grasp was that Id been denied the opportunity to finish my work and share it in its best possible form having [my] dream torn up in front of me hit me pretty hard. Not everyone, in other words, is able to react with the nonchalance of Radiohead.

Mutya Buena says she knows exactly where Jai Paul is coming from. The former Sugababes singer and member of cult pop group MKS was at home for Christmas in 2016 when a demo version of a comeback album surfaced online. Fans started messaging me links to the leak. We still have no idea how it happened, she recalls. It hit hard. We had paid people for studio time. We paid for beats. We paid for travel, for food. The amount we spent trying to get this album together, only for it to leak and for us to not have the chance to make any money from it Its too depressing to think about.

Having any sense of agency ripped away hurt more than the financial blow, she says. The effort, the time, the sweat, all the days in the studio that went into making those songs it was all for nothing. All the things we sang about were personal. You want your fans to hear it all together, you want to be able to put out your work your way. It was horrible. Rather than release music already floating around the internet in a half-finished state, the trio shelved the record. Three years later, they have yet to release any new material.

Effort,
The effort, the sweat, the studio time all for nothing Mutya Buena (centre) with the Sugababes. Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Leaks are often difficult for artists to overcome psychologically because they represent violation of their privacy and their creativity, says the charity Help Musicians UK. Musicians have told us how important their creative output through making music is to them, not just to make a living but also in terms of their identity and self-worth, says spokesperson Joe Hastings, explaining that any situation that undermines that creative output is bound to cause serious distress.

Theres no shortage of artists who could attest to this. SZA, who has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, called a leak of unfinished material last year scary. Marina (formerly Marina and the Diamonds) has described hacks as paralysing, disrupting her ability to write new songs to replace the ones ruined by being leaked early. The more leaks that happen, the slower I work, she wrote in 2011 after calling police to investigate how songs of hers emerged online. The thought of people invading my privacy and listening to half-assed unfinished songs that I write at 3am on a tour bus does not make me feel too relaxed or creative.

Not even pops grandest stars are safe: Shits crazy, Rihanna told fans on Instagram earlier in March after an album of unreleased tracks found its way on to file-sharing sites, and she joined Beyonc, Charli XCX, Skrillex, Karen O, Bjrk and Lana Del Rey in the annals of artists whove had albums worth of tracks stolen and uploaded against their wishes.

Hacks like these can happen in a multitude of ways. In the past, studio workers, label employees and journalists given early access to the music have been accused. (In 2015, new albums by Beach House, Destroyer and Mac DeMarco were circulated online months ahead of release when a server belonging to the music site Spin was breached.)

Shits
Shits crazy Rihanna. Photograph: Nigel Waldron/Getty Images

Occasionally the artists themselves can be unwittingly at fault. In 2008, Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox posted a link to a new song on his blog saved on a personal server, unaware that other people could then access all the rest of his files uploaded to that server. Unfinished versions of two new albums leaked. Whoever posted this, YOU ARE FUCKED I cant understand how you go on living, he wrote in an angry open letter to the dickwads responsible, before realising it was partly his doing.

These days, most leaks occur when music has been uploaded to cloud-based storage online: hackers break passwords, access the music and share it. Its thought most hacks are carried out for the sheer devilry, with extortion incidents in the manner of Radioheads rare. It happens for the same reason that led to the 2014 release of hundreds of celebrities personal photos: because hackers can. Adi Lederman, the Israeli hacker responsible for the leak of Madonnas Rebel Heart, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, but elsewhere the law has struggled to keep up.

As hacking becomes a fact of life, are more artists hard drives likely to be prised open? Radiohead fans dont seem to have minded being given 18 hours OK Computer rehearsals that trace the evolution of an album that went on to redefine 90s rock. But elsewhere, leaks of unfinished songs risk destroying the albums mystique. In the case of Jai Paul, MKS and other, these leaks can lead to the disintegration of the albums themselves.

The good news for artists is that a world where people are downloading less and streaming more generates less of a demand for leaks among fans. Leaks have definitely slowed down as a music industry issue in this streaming-led age, but they still do harm artists in quite significant ways, says analyst Tim Ingham of Music Business Worldwide. Millions of dollars are still spent by record labels honing the music and image of new stars. A hack or leak of music recorded while an act is still developing can play havoc with a carefully planned record company roadmap.

When acts are globally established, like Radiohead, that sense of fragility is all but gone, Ingham explains. The artist can turn around and have some fun with it. For artists without that sort of clout or financial stability, leaks still pose an ominous threat. The wait for a fitter, happier, more productive music industry goes on.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/jun/17/hackers-music-industry-leaks-radiohead

The Ohio institution will select its 2019 cohort at a ceremony in Brooklyn next March

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has revealed the list of nominees for induction into its 2019 cohort. Def Leppard, Devo, Janet Jackson, John Prine, Kraftwerk, LL Cool J, MC5, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Roxy Music, Stevie Nicks, the Cure, Todd Rundgren, Rufus and Chaka Khan and the Zombies are all in consideration for the historic honour.

Artists become eligible for selection 25 years after the release of their first record. An international voting committee of more than 1,000 artists, historians and members of the music industry will select five or six of these acts for induction into the Hall of Fame. Fans are also eligible to vote: the top five artists selected by the public will be tallied along with the committees votes.

Radiohead were among 2018s potential inductees, but declined to attend the ceremony. The bands guitarist, Ed OBrien, said at the time: As a British band, its one of those things that its very lovely to be nominated, but we dont quite culturally understand it. Its a very American thing. Us Brits are very bad at celebrating ourselves.

Def
Def Leppard in 2017.

It is likely to be welcome news to Def Leppard. In 2017, guitarist Phil Collen said it was pathetic that the English heavy metal band had yet to be nominated for the award. Were a rock band that sold 100 million albums, most of them, actually, in America, Collen told Blabbermouth. Were a real rock band, weve been together for 30, or nearly 40 years, and the fact that thats not recognised is kind of a bit weird.

LL Cool J was also nominated for the 2018 list. If the New York rapper is selected for the 2019 group, he will be the seventh hip-hop act to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, following Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, NWA and Tupac Shakur.

If Stevie Nicks makes the 2019 class, it will mark her second induction to the Hall of Fame. She is a member of Fleetwood Mac, who were inducted in 1998. She would become the first woman to be inducted more than once. As of 2017, 22 male performers had been inducted twice or more, with Eric Clapton receiving three inductions as a solo artist, with Cream and with the Yardbirds.

Snubbed
Snubbed again? … Bjrk performing in Barcelona, May 2018. Photograph: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

The Zombies have been nominated multiple times. In 2017, keyboardist Rod Argent told Billboard that the psychedelic band would be flattered, gratified and absolutely delighted to be inducted. I know there are some people that actually portray themselves as unaffected and dont care and, Oh, well, it would be nice, but, really I dont get it. Its not something that I particularly want. Were not those people at all.

There are likely to be complaints from the US about the Halls perceived snubs artists including Bjrk, Kate Bush, Roberta Flack, Whitney Houston, Depeche Mode, the Monkees and Chic are considered overdue for induction. The ceremony holds great significance in the American music industry, but does not command similar significance in the UK.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame organisation was established by the late Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun in 1983. The museum opened in Cleveland, Ohio in 1986. That year, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Elvis Presley became the first inductees. Aretha Franklin became the first female inductee in 1987. In 2018, Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues and Nina Simone were selected for induction.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2019 induction ceremony will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on 29 March.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/oct/09/radiohead-stevie-nicks-the-cure-2019-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-nominees

The singer-songwriter tweeted its true about the lawsuit, saying Radiohead are asking for 100% of the publishing royalties to her track Get Free

Radiohead are suing Lana Del Rey over her song Get Free, which they say bears similarity to their 1993 breakthrough hit Creep.

Del Rey tweeted: Its true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasnt inspired by Creep, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court.

As it stands only Del Rey, along with co-writers Kieron Menzies and Rick Nowels, are credited on the track, taken from her album Lust for Life which topped the charts in the US and UK on its release in July 2017. Radiohead have not yet commented on the lawsuit.

Radiohead were themselves previously sued over the song by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, who claimed it bore resemblance to their song for the Hollies, The Air That I Breathe the pair were added to the songs credits and share royalties with the band.

Del Rey is the latest in a string of high-profile artists to be accused of copying. Ed Sheeran settled out of court with a pair of songwriters after similarities were found between his song Photograph and the Matt Cardle song Amazing, and also retrospectively added the writers of TLCs No Scrubs to the credits of his enormous hit Shape of You. Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne were added to the credits for Sam Smiths Stay With Me in 2014, while in 2015 Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were successfully sued by Marvin Gayes estate for $7.4m, after it was found that their Blurred Lines plagiarised Gayes track Got to Give It Up.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jan/08/radiohead-lana-del-rey-creep

Two of the channels libertarian comedians are slagging off the British band and their fans after Thom Yorke and co were nominated for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Name: Fox News v Radiohead.

Age: About two weeks old.

Appearance: Almost entirely on Fox News.

What is it? Some kind of remix? Its a feud.

Who are the combatants? On the one hand, Fox News; more specifically, Greg Gutfeld and Kat Timpf.

Ive never heard of either of those people. Timpf, a millennial libertarian comedian, is a frequent guest on Gutfelds comedy libertarian chatshow on Fox.

I didnt know there was such a thing as a funny libertarian. It turns out there isnt, but they plough on.

And on the other hand? The popular beat combo Radiohead, formed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in 1985.

Its hard to imagine two such entities squaring off. I thought Fox News was entirely devoted to hating immigrants, Muslims and Hillary Clinton. If it is trying to diversify, its off to a shaky start.

How did all this come about? It began during a televised discussion about Radioheads recent nomination for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Timpf described the bands fans as strange, malnourished and sad, and their music as elaborate moaning and whining over ringtone sounds.

Slagging off Radiohead the one area where the US is still 10 years behind Britain. After some pushback from fans, Gutfeld and Timpf revisited the topic last week, with Gutfeld referring to Radiohead as the poor mans Coldplay.

That remark proves he knows the names of two British bands, and almost nothing else. On another Fox News show, Gutfeld called for Radioheads music to be banned from public places, and referred to them as the poor mans Air Supply.

Watch Kat Timpf take on Radiohead

That doesnt work either. He sounds like a cut-price Jeremy Clarkson. All the bad-mouthing culminated in a spoof ad featuring Timpf as someone suffering from Radiohead lice.

Now theyve gone too far. Theres nothing funny about head lice. This sketch certainly proved that.

What did Radiohead do in retaliation? Not a lot. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood changed his Twitter bio to include the phrase strange, malnourished and sad, but then he changed it back again.

So they won the feud. They didnt really even turn up for it, but yeah.

Do say: Fox News where music criticism comes to die.

Dont say: I think youll find most of us Radiohead fans are happy, conventional and dangerously overweight.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/media/shortcuts/2017/oct/31/knives-out-why-fox-news-declared-war-on-radiohead

A prequel to the blockbuster nature documentary series will feature (ocean) Bloom, an orchestral reworking of Radioheads song Bloom

Radiohead have teamed with Hans Zimmer, the Oscar-winning composer for The Dark Knight, The Lion King and Gladiator, on a new piece of music called ocean (Bloom) that will appear on a prequel to the BBCs flagship nature documentary series Blue Planet II.

The track is an orchestral reworking of Bloom, Radioheads song from their 2011 album The King of Limbs, with Thom Yorke rerecording his vocals for the new version. Bloom was inspired by the original Blue Planet series, so its great to be able to come full circle with the song and reimagine it for this incredible landmarks sequel, Yorke said.

The popular natural history series will again be narrated by Sir David Attenborough, and will be scored by Zimmer.

Zimmer, who also created the music for Planet Earth II, will also compose the theme and score for the new BBC series alongside Jacob Shea and Dave Fleming, his co-composers in music production company Bleeding Fingers.

[Zimmer] is a prodigious composer who effortlessly straddles several musical genres so it was liberating for us all to work with such a talent and see how he wove the sound of the series and Bloom together, Yorke added.

Zimmer said: Bloom appears to have been written ahead of its time as it beautifully reflects the jaw-dropping lifeforms and seascapes viewers are introduced to in Blue Planet II.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/14/radiohead-hans-zimmer-blue-planet-2-soundtrack-bloom

The artist and Oxford University lecturer, who separated from Yorke last year after 23 years together, had cancer

Rachel Owen, the former long-term partner of the Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, has died aged 48.

The artist and Oxford University lecturer, who had cancer, separated from Yorke last year after 23 years together. They have two children Noah, 15, and Agnes, 12.

Owen had been in poor health for the last year but continued to teach Italian into her last months. Her death on Sunday was announced by Pembroke College in an obituary posted online on Monday.

She was an internationally renowned artist, mixing photography and printmaking, while her scholarly work focused on Italian medieval literature. Her PhD subject was the illustrations of the early manuscripts of Dantes Divine Comedy.

One of her last artistic projects, a series of prints inspired by the cantos of Dantes first book of the Divine Comedy, will be exhibited at Pembrokes JCR art gallery next spring.

Yorke and Owen met as art students at Exeter University. They announced the end of their relationship in August 2015.

Rachel and I have separated, Yorke said in a statement at the time. After 23 highly creative and happy years, for various reasons we have gone our separate ways. Its perfectly amicable and has been common knowledge for some time.

Their breakup is said to have influenced Radioheads latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool. On the track Daydreaming, the repeated phrase half of my life is believed to refer to the time Yorke had spent with Owen, and on Identikit, Yorke repeats the phrase broken hearts make it rain.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/20/thom-yorkes-ex-partner-rachel-owen-dies-at-48

I saw Radiohead play in Berlin on the day the World Trade Center was attacked. On Sunday they were back in the city and so was I

Fifteen years ago I made the fateful decision to travel from my home in New York to Berlin to see Radiohead perform. At the time, I worked as a radio producer at the BBCs New York bureau, and the date on my ticket had yet to acquire its tragic significance: 11 September 2001. Like many other people, that day is seared into my brain: a day of horror, disbelief, anger and sadness, and all of it for me forever associated with the sublime music of Radiohead.

Last Sunday, Radiohead were back in Berlin, performing as the headlining act of the Lollapalooza Berlin festival, the date of their show falling on the 15th anniversary of 9/11. I made the trip back to see a band that had provided a significant soundtrack to my life so far, believing this moment would be among other things a point of reflection on that dark day. It seemed unlikely that the bands famously taciturn lead singer, Thom Yorke, would say anything about that historic anniversary, and yet there always seems to be a heartbreaking line in his elliptical lyrics that says it all. And its too late / The damage is done, Yorke sings in the recent song Daydreaming. That feels about right to me.

On that late summers evening at Treptower Park, the events of 15 years ago perhaps seemed far away, even as the worldcommemorated. Certainly the mood among the estimated 60,000 people who attended this concert was mellow and positive a far cry from the heightened, edgy state of alert that defined the 9/11 concert, which took place in an outdoor amphitheatre in Wuhlheide Park. The coincidence of the dates wasnt missed by the German newspapers, which recalled the 2001 event as a spooky and rainy night.

If anyone needed reminding that the repercussions of 9/11 were still being felt, the very location of Lollapalooza Berlin was testimony to that. The festival was supposed to take place on the grounds of the now-defunct Tempelhof airport, where its debut was held in 2015. But in the year since, Germany has welcomed more than a million refugees and, as of two weeks ago, is currently housing nearly 1,500 refugees at Tempelhof, according to several German newspapers. Its not difficult to make the connection between the legacy of 9/11 and the present refugee crisis resulting from war in Syria and violence in the Middle East.

Radiohead started their set on Sunday with the first five tracks from their newest album, A Moon Shaped Pool. The stage was drenched in red light as the band opened up with Burn the Witch, Jonny Greenwood using a bow on his electric guitar to approximate the nervy col legno strings that open the track. Yorke sings, This is a low-flying panic attack. That urgency gave way to the drifting beauty of Daydreaming, and soon we were inside that melancholy ambience the mystery of music able to change the nature of the air that is specific to Radiohead.

The atmosphere on 11 September 2001 was of a different order, an extraordinary sensory event in my life. I remember a series of impressions: the walk from the S-Bahn through the dark forest of the park; the rain starting to pour; my awareness of being deep within the former East Berlin, a novelty for me that seemed to add historical darkness to my sense of place; the banks of fluorescent white lights on the stage (my friend commenting that this was a homage to David Bowies 1976 White Light Tour); a state of vulnerability and anxiety and, perhaps, guilt over going to a musical event after the horror of the day. If apocalypse was upon us as many felt then all we needed was a soundtrack, and who better to supply it than Radiohead, a band whose music charted fear, alienation and paranoia, but also made it OK to feel those things. And here we were, the band kicking off with sampled German talk radio before the raspy fuzz of the bass loop that defines The National Anthem: Everyone is so near / Everyone has got the fear.

Thirty-eight minutes passed before Yorke said: Im trying not to say anything. Well, what the fuck are you going to say after today? You know. Theres absolutely nothing to say. After that, the band launched into a ferocious version of Airbag, from OK Computer, Greenwood ripping the opening/closing guitar riff with a vengeance. Was there a sense that the band was out of sorts? Why wouldnt they be? Then, after the disorienting affect of Pyramid Song, something happened. Yorke said: So who here doesnt know about it? Everybody knows what Im talking about? Clearly some people did not. You dont know what Im talking about? You dont know about the aeroplanes in America?

Somebody tell them, said Yorke. Ill tell you.

Yorke explained what had happened in New York and Washington DC. There was still a degree of uncertainty about the facts (and in 2001, it wasnt as if people had iPhones to give them updates). I was already aware of the news, having been glued to BBC World television all day long in a friends flat, watching the pictures from New York with disbelief and here was Yorke talking about it. It was surreal and unsettling. So thats why, you know, things are a little mute tonight, Yorke says. Im sorry about that. This is called Paranoid Android.

If the crowd was looking for some kind of communion in its fear and anxiety, in its grief and empathy, Paranoid Android was the song that opened the floodgates. By the time the song broke into its hymn-like invocation, with Yorke singing, Rain down / Come on rain down on me / From a great height, it was both a lament and a glorious catharsis.

Thom
Thom Yorke and Colin Greenwood (back) perform at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, 16 August 2001. Photograph: STR/Reuters

Toward the climax of the concert, Yorke returned to the news, dedicating the song You and Whose Army (albeit in a hesitant manner) to the Bush administration. The playground posturing of the lyrics with their Come on if you think / You can take us on line is undercut by the defeated air of the music. Theres nothing triumphant here, but it was a song that perfectly captured the mood of weary defiance. And so to the final encore, Street Spirit, with Yorkes introduction articulating an unspoken fear: This is hoping George W Bush doesnt declare world war three.

And fade out again. Fifteen years later, I still recall all the coiled anxiety of that moment. We didnt know there would be wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a direct consequence of the September 11 attacks. But we knew there would be something. Of course we couldnt go home after the adrenaline surge of this epic concert. We walked to a bar, not quite knowing what to make of this strange mixture of uplift and dread, a combination that Radiohead have mastered. As my friend and I walked through the streets of Berlin, it was still raining, but we had already submitted to this. It felt only appropriate after such an invocation. And it afforded us one advantage: the concert posters advertising the Radiohead concert plastered on billboards and walls around the city were soaked through. The glue was wet. This allowed us to peel them off cleanly and roll them up like treasure maps. The black posters bore the image of a weeping devil, with the date in European format printed beneath, in bold white lettering: 11.09.2001 BERLIN. Eventually I framed the poster, which now adorns my living room wall in New York a prized possession.

Of course Yorke didnt mention the 9/11 show at the Lollapalooza Berlin concert on Sunday. He was never going to. But it was all there in the songs, which, despite the balmy weather this time around, took me right back to the scene of the most important, emotionally charged gig Ive ever experienced. At the end of the set, I joined in with the crowd and we sang, For a minute there / I lost myself.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/sep/13/radiohead-911-concerts-15-years-apart

Right now, there are more opportunities than ever to enjoy the communal experience of watching the worlds great bands at the peak of their form

Few bands, youd think, could open a Friday night headline set at a festival with five songs off the new album. Fewer could do it and still keep an audience in the tens of thousands, onside. And yet, there was a moment watching Radiohead earlier this month specifically, in the middle of Karma Police, on their second encore where two things seemed inarguable: the first, all tedious hype aside, they really are one of the greatest live acts of our time. Sorry. But I cant think of another band right now for who playing an actual hit, a mainstream crowd favourite, is a rare mythical treat rather than a festival-goers standard expectation.

And yet, their much-blogged performance of Creep at Nos Alive in Portugal wasnt even the highlight of the set; Radiohead have hit the point in their live careers where their staggering back catalogue is almost incidental. Almost. (For what its worth, a mid-set triple punch of Reckoner, Everything in its Right Place and Idioteque went straight from guts to hearts to lumps in throats.) A love letter for anyone who will see them headline Lollapalooza in Chicago on Friday night: theyre on peak form, I promise.

Peaking:
Peaking: Thom Yorke at Nos Alive in Portugal. Photograph: ddp USA/Rex/Shutterstock

The other thing, worth taking stock now that were midway through the season, is that we really are living through the golden age of festivals. This is really it. Its easy to scoff, given the saturation of a market flooded with endless arenas in which you can see a familiar lineup on a three month loop, but consider the flipside: you can now witness any number of acts slickly oiled to deliver the performances of their lifetime, at any given weekend, delivering at a level unthinkable two decades ago. Governors Ball, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Panorama, Austin City Limits … Well done, the artists yes. But audience appetite also shows few serious signs of abating: weve hit festivus maximus and weve barely even registered it.

Lisbons 10th edition of Nos Alive was a case in point. It was a blockbuster spectacle, not built on the new or avant-garde but about canonical bands at the peak of their live powers. And so, transcending an astroturfed concrete carpark next to a beach were a litany of artists lab-tested for festival conditions: Arcade Fire, Pixies, Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Tame Impala, even Robert Plant (for whom the sorry best that my notes amounted to were: Robert Plant … is on). Watching each of them, you forgot that the dominant music geeks of the day stopped caring about bands sometime at the turn of the decade, preferring artful, game-changing practitioners of beats, atmosphere and production. Few of which, its worth pointing out, translate to the massive communal experience that festival audiences now seem to demand.

Regine
Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire at the WayHome music and arts festival in Oro Medonte, Canada. Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Its a situation where the likes of Arcade Fire, a band with neither a new album to promote or an absence too fondly missed, still take absolute control. Even as they arrived on stage to headline Saturday night, a seven-piece seemingly teetering on the brink of falling apart, they revved everything up to fifth gear: Keep the Cars Running, No Cars Go, Rebellion each more bonkers to take in live than the last. By all accounts, it was a performance gracefully repeated at Panorama in Long Island last weekend.

And thats the thing. Back in summers gone, a standout festival show might be remembered as one per summer: Nirvana, Reading, 1992; Pulp, Glastonbury, 1995; Daft Punk, Coachella, 2006. At this point, in 2016, you could do one every weekend from June through to September in Lisbon, you had a genuine handful in two nights. Even John Grant, not a man best known for being giddy in sound or spirit, was flushed, excitable and taken aback; set-closer Disappointing went fully disco, thanks to a crowd more up-for-it than any Ive seen in the five weekends of festivals Ive been to so far this year.

Festival culture is, of course, now embedded into the fabric of summer, taken for granted. The transition from when they were only ever for serious music fans to anyone even mildly into music, plus their dad is complete. For any farmer with a spare field, theres no better opportunity to open up the land: your time is now.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jul/28/lollapalooza-panorama-golden-age-festivals

A new wave of male indie artists, such as Car Seat Headrest, Palace Winter, Kevin Morby, Alex G and Whitney are not afraid to show their sensitive side

As pops foremost females furiously demolish all in their path think Beyonc, walloping the windows of parked cars with a baseball bat on Hold Up, or Rihanna, gunning down her boyfriend in a strip club on Needed Me pure melancholy hangs over their male counterparts.

Sorrow seeps from songs by Yung Lean and Zayn Malik, Radioheads A Moon Shaped Pool is a sea of sadness and torment, Views reaffirms Drakes place as raps leading sad lad and James Blake spends the 17 tracks of The Colour in Anything locked in a loop of loneliness and isolation. A new Frank Ocean album is on its way and Id wager it wont be packed with upbeat bangers about sunshine and lollipops.

But this grey cloud floating over music made by men extends beyond the cinematic scales of the major league artists. A new wave of indie artists such as Car Seat Headrest, Palace Winter, Kevin Morby, Alex G and Whitney recall the introversion, awkwardness and introspection spearheaded by post-grunge, Gen X artists of the late 90s a period of music in which rock was transitioning following the end of grunge and the birth of Britpop.

It addressed those who felt alienated from mass culture. Only these new artists face a different sense of outsiderness from society a future with no pension, mortgages or upward mobility. Add to that the gradually dissolving stigma surrounding male sensitivity and the secluded set-up of independent bedroom artists, and youve got yourself all the components of a gloom revival.

The accessibility artists have to their fans also allows for wider discussions about more sensitive lyrical content. Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest makes lo-fi rock that is brutally honest and touches on mental health and sexuality. He also openly elaborates on them online. Most recently, in support of his new album, Teens Of Denial, Toledo set up his own Reddit AMA.

The fan Q&A platform allowed for a range of questions, from the sprawling If you could give the entire youth of America one bit of advice, what would it be? to the specific Do you ever feel ashamed of how much of your sexuality you reveal in your lyrics? Having grown up in the age of the internet, able to share and express his feelings with strangers, Toledos ability to connect with fans on this emotional level maintains a relationship with them, and therefore enforces his career. He is also unafraid to mock this morbidity:

car seat headrest (@carseatheadrest) May 9, 2016

early outline for album bio pic.twitter.com/h7S5tV1ROt

Toledo is not alone. This new throng of solemn young males often reveal a lighter side of themselves on social media. It enables them to be the sad lad in the studio and the idiot elsewhere; so as not to scare off those who feel on the outskirts only occasionally.

I recently interviewed Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek of Chicago Americana group Whitney about their debut album, Light Upon the Lake, and the way in which they tap into a weird, vulnerable mind state. They agreed that it was easier to be an emotional man these days and as a result make wistful songs about growing up and falling in and out of love. Their social media tells another story, however. It is mostly centred around nude selfies, weed and girls. Its an approach thats also benefited the career of Mac Demarco; a hopeless romantic who, on record, is broken and blue, but is as known for his fraternity-styled ridiculousness as he is his music. Its almost as if these men are multifaceted beings, or something.

Perhaps the arrival of this new melancholy mood is why the Last Shadow Puppets return this year seemed so incongruous. It was a campaign which featured apologies for misogyny and surreal, swaggering stage performances by Miles Kane and Alex Turner that seemed more like a parody than anything genuine. There was a general sense of entitlement about it. A lack of self-awareness. A lack of sincerity. The antithesis of the new indie sad lad.

Back in March, a piece in the Telegraph proclaimed: Millennial men have gone soft. It cited a study which revealed the diminishing capabilities of the modern man apparently only one in five millennial men are confident fixing a dripping tap, two-thirds of millennial males are unable to change the oil in their car and three in 10 men are comfortable with the assembly of flat pack furniture. Maybe theyre too busy cradling their guitars, making sensitive Microsoft Paint art and talking about their feelings on the internet. If that means theres more music as affecting and beautifully crafted as this new wave, then long may the more gentle gender prosper. Besides, millennial women are fully equipped to fix up the house anyway. Right after theyve finished smashing it up.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/may/25/indie-sad-lads-car-seat-headrest-alex-g-whitney-palace-winter-kevin-morby

Bands first album since 2011s The King of Limbs appears on Apple Music and Tidal ahead of physical release in June

Radiohead released their long-awaited ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool, on Sunday night.

The album is available on iTunes, Apple Music and Tidal, but has yet to arrive on the main streaming platform, Spotify. It was mistakenly posted on Google Play earlier on Sunday but was soon taken down, and has not yet reappeared on the platform.

The release was announced by the Oxford group on Twitter:

Radiohead (@radiohead) May 8, 2016

Our new album is now available here https://t.co/DGGTPLPAh0 and here https://t.co/TzZ2gPWH8v pic.twitter.com/AdnPXfWJyx

Fans had expected movement from the band after they deleted all content on their website last weekend.

Then on Tuesday they posted a video for a new song, Burn the Witch, which is the first track on the album. The video, which uses animation in the style of the Trumptonshire trilogy, the childrens animations made in the late 1960s, has had more than 10m views on YouTube.

A
A scene from the Radiohead video Burn the Witch.

Its animator, Virpi Kettu, said the band may have wanted to increase awareness of the issue, especially the blaming of different people the blaming of Muslims that leads people to want to metaphorically burn the witch.

On Saturday, another track followed, Daydreaming, which has a video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, whose films include Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood.

In the six-and-a-half-minute video, frontman Thom Yorke walks through spaces including a hotel corridor, an empty home, a hospital, a shop floor, a forest, a snowy mountain, a beach and a vacant car park. It has had just over 3m views in little more than 24 hours online.

Guardian music writer Harriet Gibsone said of Daydreaming: It loops and shifts as if trapped inside a dreamlike state until Yorkes journey ends, curled up in a mountain cave; Jonny Greenwoods lush orchestration adding to its cinematic suspense.

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A scene from Radios Daydreaming video.

Radioheads last album, The King of Limbs, came in 2011. Since then, the bands members have worked on various solo projects. Drummer Phil Selway released his second solo album, Weatherhouse, in 2014, while Yorke toured and recorded with Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco on the Atoms for Peace project. His solo album, Tomorrows Modern Boxes, was released in 2014.

The Radiohead album is also available to download from amoonshapedpool.com and will be available on vinyl and CD from mid-June.

For 60, $86.50 or 76 fans can acquire a special edition that contains the 11 tracks across two pieces of vinyl and one CD, with another CD of additional tracks, 32 pages of artwork and a digital download available now.

The package, which ships in September, contains a piece of a half-inch master tape from an actual Radiohead recording session.

The tape degrades over time and becomes unplayable. We thought rather than it ending up as landfill we would cut it up and make it useful as a part of the special edition. A new life for some obsolete technology… Each loop contains about of a second of audio – which could be from any era in the bands recording past going back to Kid A. You may have silence, you may have coloured leader tape, you may have a chorus… Its a crapshoot. We have copies. Dont worry.

The 11 tracks on A Moon Shaped Pool, which happen to appear in alphabetical order, are:

Burn the Witch

Daydreaming

Decks Dark

Desert Island Disk

Ful stop

Glass Eyes

Identikit

The Numbers

Present Tense

Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief

True Love Waits

Ful stop is the longest track at 6:07, while Glass Eyes is the shortest at just 2:52.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/may/08/radiohead-release-new-album-a-moon-shaped-pool