What is it? : Literally just a bunch of Radiohead songs played masterfully on piano with beautiful tone and dynamics throughout. This one, even beyond most of the others here on Pressing Concerns, feels like a missed opportunity. It’s as if there is a pitch suspended over homeplate, just waiting for the Industry to knock it out of the park, and the decision makers either can’t see this thing levitating right in front of their faces or are concerned with 20-year-anniversary repressings to the point that they won’t even acknowledge it.
Why should it be on vinyl? : Christopher O’Riley’s homage to Radiohead songs hits a few different sweet spots. For starters, it has the immediate and categorically massive brand recognition of what is arguably the biggest and/or best band in the world. Secondly, it has the pedigree of O’Riley himself, whose work has been lionized for decades not only as a top-shelf purveyor of classical piano covers, but also as an NPR host. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, this record is directly in the Venn diagram middle zone of both fans of 90s alternative (of which there are, like, a lot) and people who are discovering jazz and/or ambient forms of music for the first time in meaningful ways. If we were to then add to that group the amount of people who have discovered or rededicated themselves to vinyl listening in the past ten years, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this could sell in the tens of thousands with very little investment in marketing.
But alas, that will not happen as of the time of this writing. Not only does Discogs not show any vinyl ever being pressed for this officially or unofficially, but a search through the rest of the internet is similarly fruitless. 2003 was about 5 years before anyone new that a vinyl boom was coming, and it isn’t yet the time period people are looking toward when deciding what needs to get reissued.
Brief tangent about Record Store Day… Isn’t THIS the type of release that we should be expecting on RSD? I know that it is fun and that some collectors get hype about multicolored variants by psych-rockers and borderline useless ephemera like 3-inch record players and whatnot, and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone their right to dig that stuff and chase it, nor the obvious ability to cash in for those who put it out. But at the end of the day, shouldn’t we be expecting things like this? Middle- and/or lower-tier releases that never got attention at time of release but could have a fresh new life on wax now that it’s all the rage? My thoughts on RSD’s intention versus the practical realities of its execution are documented and known, but when it comes to releases like this languishing in the ether in danger of being completely forgotten, it is an idea that is truly upsetting.