It's been ten years since Radiohead released "OK Computer," and no album since has been "fitter, happier or more productive."
Appropriately, the anniversary of Radiohead's dystopic vision of an automated future is being best celebrated online. After all, the Internet is filled with dudes who "talk in maths," as Thom Yorke sang on "Karma Police."
To commemorate "OK Computer," the music blog Stereogum.com commissioned a full cover album: "OKX: A Tribute to 'OK Computer,'" (http://www.stereogum.com/okx). The site turned to a dozen indie acts and buzzed-about artists — the sort of bands the site likes to hype — to put their spin on the album's 12 tracks.
Among them are Cold War Kids, My Brightest Diamond, Twilight Sad, John Vanderslice, David Bazan and others.
The results are impressively adventurous arrangements that are most memorable for their evident passion for Radiohead's great album. Most of the artists also contributed notes on their memories of "OK Computer."
Bazan, who plays here with his band Black Cloud, recalls first hearing "Let Down": "Days later it dawned on me that it was possibly the saddest and most beautiful single the radio would ever play."
This is not the first album released by Stereogum. The site, founded by editor-in-chief Scott Lapatine, has also put out year-end digital albums featuring mash-ups of the year's memorable tracks.
Stereogum is in this way braving a path beyond the standard blog snark and toward an active role as a sponsor of interesting music projects.
PitchforkMedia.com, which years ago established itself as the epicenter of indie music online, has also moved beyond an outside critical perspective.
The site last weekend hosted its second annual music festival in Chicago, where it boasted one of the summer's best lineups, including Sonic Youth, Cat Power, Stephen Malkmus, the New Pornographers, Yoko Ono and GZA. Naturally, full coverage of the festival, can be found on Pitchfork.
But both Stereogum's "OKX" and the ever-growing Pitchfork Music Festival show that music Web sites might be the curators of tomorrow. Here's hoping more sites get into the act.