Stadiums & Shrines
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Consider me slightly floored by the four charming tracks that make up Lonesome. They came over with the humblest of notes from one Allister Izenberg, and do indeed suit a scene like the one above. Lonesome he is, but each spin reveals more hints of sunlight through his bedroom blinds that would have one believe Allister isn’t the miserable kind of alone, but rather, the restlessly inventive.

Bird chirps, loon calls, saloon pianos…Lonesome had me intrigued too, so we ended up trading a few e-mails:

DS: Age 19, from Los Angeles, what else should we know about Allister Izenberg?

AI: That’s all you really should know about Allister Izenberg 🙂

DS: I’ve made some assumptions about how Lonesome was recorded. Fill me in.

AI: The recording process was lonely, dark, with my heater blanket, and sleepytime tea.

DS: Did you have any other records with you? Specifically The White Album? “Little Swan” has this “Don’t Pass Me By” / “Honey Pie” thing going on. “Allodoxaphobia” plays with a melody from the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack, which results in a unique yet equally moving song.

Allister Izenberg | Little Swan

Allister Izenberg | Allodoxaphobia

AI: There’s always some Beatles somewhere, and for “Allodoxaphobia” I was alone one night in my room and I was watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and it was so beautiful and I was so touched by Jon Brion’s piece I decided to make my own song out of it not thinking anyone would hear it besides my friends.

DS: You’re doing some west coast shows with Stereo Total. Excited? Have you toured much?

AI: I am so excited to go on tour and take these pups to the stage. I toured opening for Roger Daltrey (The Who) in my last band which was pretty sweet, we played some amazingly beautiful venues which I wish to revisit one day. The band broke up due to musical differences, we were called Paper Zoo. So stoked to go out though, so stoked.

DS: Very cool man, best of luck. Mind if I .zip up this EP and mediafire it out?

AI: Sure, zip that up.

Allister also mentioned he went to high school and played some shows with Will Wiesenfeld (Baths). Must be something in those water fountains.

Thank you, Internet. And thank you, Thom Yorke.

Last Tuesday, the man blogged that he and his buddies (Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco) put a band together for fun and felt like playing some shows in LA. The outside world was instantly alerted via blog/tweet/text tidal wave. Tickets were made available less than a day later. And in one browser’s refresh, sold out.

Thom Yorke, arguably the most vital and prolific artist of our generation (try me), can do that. He can rally four master musicians for a “jam” at the Orpheum Theatre. He can (generously) invite relative unknown art-house locals (and appropriately named), Lucky Dragons, to open. He can turn his own solo album from skeletal, electronic ice, to full-blooded, freewheeling fire. He can unite music nerds with Hollywood’s elite** under one long, standing ovation, before the show even starts.

Yes, spectacle lived in the basic idea of Radiohead’s frontman taking cues from the bassline of Red Hot Chili Pepper’s greatest asset. It easily could have sorta-worked (a common fate for ‘supergroups’), and we’d all still walk away with something memorable. Hardly possible though, understanding what these guys consider “par”. Thom may have played it off to press that they’d be short and rough, but who really believed him? We got The Eraser from start to finish, an intimate Yorke solo set, and a grooving finale’ of material, old and new. At no point was anyone ‘off’ or did anything sound like they hadn’t written it together, 10 years ago.

To think, all this time, The Eraser was a sprawling dance-punk album in disguise. Its opening track sent a current up the theatre walls that was probably never equaled. It simply, shocked. Feeding off each other, Flea’s crouching shimmy paired eerily well with Yorke’s piano (and later, Yorke’s famous kid-tweaking-out-alone-in-his-bedroom dance moves). Dueling percussion cracked each track’s former synthetic shell wide open. And Nigel (who is to Radiohead what George Martin was to The Beatles) brought it all together sonically with a keyboard/mixer and some guitar shaping of his own. Bottom line: live instrumentation wins.

Serpent-charming “Skip Divided” showcased Flea on melodica (and Yorke on sex). Suddenly-funky “Harrowdown Hill” let Flea do what he does best, go slap-wild. And “Cymbal Rush” sealed it.

Yorke came back alone and contemplative with a few stunning new ones. The band then returned for a closing punch. Yorke dedicated “Paperbag Writer”, a Radiohead b-side (and personal favorite) to Colin Greenwood, who was in attendance – sort of his way of saying: yes, I know Flea is owning it right now, but you’re still our bassist, k love you 🙂

It was hard not to think the last two songs, some of the newest in the bunch, were composed with a translation like this in mind.

Per usual, I could go on…here’s the setlist (linked to videos):

01 The Eraser
02 Analyse
03 The Clock
04 Black Swan
05 Skip Divided
06 Atoms For Peace
07 And It Rained All Night
08 Harrowdown Hill
09 Cymbal Rush

Solo encore:

10 Lotus Flower (Moon Upon A Stick)*
11 Open The Floodgates*
12 Super Collider*

Encore w/ band:

13 Paperbag Writer
14 Judge, Jury & Executioner*
15 The Hollow Earth
16 Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses

* NEWish

How it started (not my video or bro banter):

I’ll add that experiencing this with Ian, a bigtime RHCP fan (that Old Prospector!), was a pretty cool step in the history of this here website. Stay tuned.

** Anne Hathaway, Tobey Maguire, Edward Norton, Woody Harrelson, Don Johnson, Cillian Murphy, Danny Masterson, most of Radiohead (and less confirmed, Bruce Willis, Jim Carey, Anthony Keidis…)