Thom Yorke’s my older brother

I have a secret. It’s not that Radiohead is my favorite band. Or that I used to be (and to a much smaller degree still am) a giant fanboy. My secret is that leadsinger Thom Yorke is my older brother.

How else can you explain the number of bands that I’ve been introduced to by Radiohead (through their webcasts, radio playlists, openers, and collaborations)? A quick glance through my iPod reveals that a virtual who’s who of my musical taste has been stolen from Radiohead: Autechre, The Beta Band, Can, Clinic, DJ Shadow, Four Tet, Laika, Liars, Louis Armstrong’s version of “St. James Infirmary,” Magazine, Neu!, PJ Harvey, Sigur Rós, Sparklehorse, Tricky. No mere band could have that much musical influence. Only an older brother could have that.

So when my older brother Thom Yorke posts a playlist on their website, Dead Air Space, I pay attention. And on November 4th, Thommy (as we family members call him), furthered his stranglehold over my musical taste, giving me a musical noogie, posting Sibylle Baier’s “Forget About.”

Sibylle Baier was a German actress in the 1970s who, before deciding to be a stay-at-homemom in America, was involved in a few Win Wenders movies. Despite her music appearing in one of Wender’s films, she never pursued a musical career. But in 2006, a tape of her home recordings from 1970-1973 made its way to Orange Twin, and they released Colour Green. Baier’s guitar pallette is heavy on Leonard Cohen, but she has a piercing, fragile voice. The album, for reasons more than its back-story, is ghostly.


Sibylle Baier, “Softly” [Buy]

Both her thirty-years late recognition and bare folk reminds me of Vashti Bunyan, who released only one album in 1970 (Diamond Day) but was encouraged by her cult popularity to make a sophomore album in 2005. Another thirty year span that was very much worth the wait. Especially if, like me, you came late to the game didn’t have to wait at all.

Vashti Bunyan, “I’d Like to Walk Around in Your Mind” [Buy]

Thom also posted Fleet Foxes member J. Tillman’s “Crosswinds,” but sorry big bro Thom: I’ve been listening to him for years. Great song, though. The younger brother has become the master?

J Tillman, “Crosswinds” [Buy]

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