On A Friday appear in the 'before they were famous' category. If you can't tell by the pic, On A Friday was the name of Radiohead before they became... Radiohead. Thom Yorke's antics were plastered down and far more loved back in the early days of the Oxford band. On A Friday was a short lived name; however it built the foundations for Pablo Honey and even The Bends, two of the most overlooked Radiohead albums. Pablo Honey is considered their worst album, and I've always been pissed off by this claim that it's 'bad'. It features several killer alternative rock / punk tracks with excellent lyrics, it's an album that’s constantly overlooked because of their magnificent career.
It comes as a shock to me that newcomers Alt-J have jokingly said they're better than Radiohead. Keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton said: "We're doing better than Radiohead!" Which was an answer to vocalist Joe Newman, who said: "Have you heard their very first thing, when they were called On A Friday? It's really fucking bad." These comments were sparked by NME's style of reporting where they attempt to spark comments that are usually kept behind doors. NME obviously brought up a question alike 'people are comparing you to Radiohead, what do you make of this?’ I'm not saying NME asked that, I don't know... I don't read NME. But that’s the kind of question that would get Alt-J geared up with confidence. Side note: Who's actually comparing Alt-J to Radiohead? I mean seriously... Who would do such a sinister thing?
In response to Alt-J's comments, have you heard "Mr. B"? Go and listen to Mr. B, then come back to NME and say how lyrically outstanding they were in 1990. It's a politically influenced anti-war track with a fantastic chorus and brilliant acoustic verses. I think An Awesome Wave is a spectacular debut album, but not one track on that album compares to the sheer imagery and power of Mr. B's second verse, "Death wears a big hat and a thin red tie. He dances in front of all the cameras. Death has a satchel his buddies carry. And in it inside is the key to the world."
This interview with Alt-J can be read in this week’s edition of NME (October 24th), buy it if you want to read about Muse, Blur, Noel Gallagher and one or two average indie rock bands. I must note that although Alt-J commented negatively about Radiohead's demo years, they still disregarded the 'alleged' comparison to Radiohead as: "Premature."
You can find Radiohead's early material all over the internet, just search On A Friday into YouTube and you will be able to listen to the demo tapes yourself. Second side note: These records are lo-fi demo tapes and not debut material. Pablo Honey was Radiohead's debut album, and I have a right mind to say it's complete and utterly better than An Awesome Wave. What do you think?