Today Radiohead’s eclectic album release tie-in, an honest-to-god newsprinted copy of a one-off periodical titled The Universal Sigh, along with the CD copy of The King of Limbs, was released. Being lucky enough to be just a 15 minute train ride from one of two spots in Boston where it was being distributed, I took a break from school to make an afternoon of it.
Low and behold, as I approached the record store, two requisitely-cute hipster girls were waiting, complete with newspaper bags from old times, to hand me my copy of this bizarre “periodical.” A really cool part of the whole thing was that they snap a picture of you with the paper, and they’re all posted to the official ‘Universal Sigh’ page. I’m on the second page of the Boston (Newbury Street) location; try to guess which one I am! Hint: I am the boringest white guy.
The paper in question is a curiosity which doesn’t disappoint. There’s a lot of free-verse, poetry type stuff, as well as a few essays and pieces of artwork, and even some lyrics from ‘Morning Mr Magpie‘ My favorite weird thing is the center page has a ton of weird phrases, arranged in typographically interesting ways. I like it because I can’t help but hear it as read by the ‘Fitter, Happier’-Mac-voice-guy.
My favorite essay is the last one, a Twilight Zone-esque post-apocalyptic piece by Stanley Donwood, who has done a lot of album artwork for Radiohead in the past. And speaking of the guy, when I went inside to actually buy the album Newbury Comics was doing some type of promotion where I got a print of a painting titled ‘Divided Wood’ by Donwood, inspired by King of Limbs. You can see it in the grainy photo I took of all my Radiohead loot at the top of this post.
I’m still trying to digest the album at this point. With most stuff, I don’t have qualms about punching up a few thoughts after 10-15 listens, but every single Radiohead album I’ve heard has needed to be processed, and that takes time. Even then, when I put something together in April, I doubt that will be the final word. It never is, with these guys.
While I was at the record store, I also picked up the new Broken Bells EP, and the most recent full-lengths from the Strokes and the Sounds, so it’ll be nice to have some new material in rotation.