Important Vinyl Update … The Artist: Radiohead. The Album: “There There” single. The Store: Plan 9. The Price: $6.
Welcome to the B-side of the discussion of B-sides! After Justin Townes Earle whet my appetite with his cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Racing in the Streets,” I poked around online for other fun B-sides. Quick side note – I’m a huge eBay tease. I tend to use my watch list not to monitor items I’d like to win in an online auction, but as a shopping list for the record store. Something about buying vinyl online is less satisfying, less eventful, and makes me feel like I’m cheating on my local record stores. That’s why I was so excited when I noticed a record behind the counter at Plan 9 that I’d seen on eBay the night before: a promotional copy of Radiohead’s “There There” – the first single off their 2003 album, Hail to the Thief. Though I’m a big fan of “There There,” I was even more intrigued by the single’s B-side, a song I’d never heard called “Paperbag Writer.” Turns out it’s a really cool and haunting bass-driven song with an creeping electronic beat and some truly creepy strings. As with a lot of Radiohead throwaways, it could really be the best song off another band’s album (or a fantastic track on a horror movie soundtrack), and the fact that it was discarded is a testament to the band’s greatness. Most of all, I love that I’m still discovering things about Hail to the Thief eight years after the album’s release. Such is the magic of B-sides! You can preview “Paperbag Writer” below, and you can buy it on iTunes as part of the There There EP, which features another B-side, “Where Bluebirds Fly.” And if you’re vinyl-inclined, keep an eye out for an upcoming series of 12″ King of Limbs remixes, with the first arriving in early July.