Words: Simon Opie
Amanda Palmer - 'Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele'
Amanda Palmer, of the on-hiatus Dresden Dolls and following a long struggle, formerly of Roadrunner Records, has released a new EP featuring Radiohead covers played mostly on the ukulele. So is it a novelty record?
It’s not an especially promising, or even entertaining, start as the EP opens with three early Radiohead songs played in a fairly sparse fashion. 'Fake Plastic Trees', 'High And Dry' and 'No Surprises' lack dynamic and are somewhat in the style of coffeehouse delivery as practiced by the Phoebe character from 'Friends' – albeit on the ukulele.
But then the piano gets added to the mix and a really engaging version of 'Idioteque' results. It’s terrifically good, and is followed by 'Creep' from a (hungover) soundcheck in Berlin, which is pretty interesting, and then a wonderful version of 'Exit Music (For A Film)' where the piano makes a welcome return. To close, there’s a live performance of 'Creep' from a show in Prague, which finally puts the idea in context and provides a demonstration of Ms. Palmer’s tremendous onstage presence. So no, I don’t think it’s a novelty – the best tracks are quite brilliant, fresh, and very musical.
The EP is offered in various packages ranging in price from 84 cents for the basic download to over 1,000 dollars, admittedly with add-ons, such as a personal Skype performance by Amanda, to justify the astronomical prices. At 84 cents it’s a fantastic deal and depending on your point of view (and wealth) you may be happy to pay quite a lot more. Her fans seem to agree. 4,000 digital EPs have been sold already and the vinyl copies are all gone. Most impressive of all, $15,000 of music and merch was bought in just three minutes.
And should you enjoy the EP, I recommend you also check out the album 'Das Mandolinenorchester', on which Cobra Killer re-interpret their own songs accompanied by Kapajkos, an Eastern European mandolin orchestra.
'Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukelele' was released on July 20th. Stream and purchase here.
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