When Radiohead’s Thom Yorke launched his latest solo tour at Teatro Verdi in Florence Monday night, those in attendance were treated to the debut of a new song. He kicked off the encore with “The Axe,” an eerie, frigid, beat-driven electronic track the likes of which we’ve come to expect from solo Yorke in his ponytail era. High-pitched drones create a queasy backdrop for Yorke’s gnarled ruminations.
When works this stark and tuneless dominated Yorke’s 2014 solo LP Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, I was convinced they’d grow on me eventually. Four years later, that seems more like wishful thinking; that album is almost certainly the nadir of his recorded output thus far. Maybe the studio recording will elevate “The Axe” to a new level, but as of now it doesn’t exactly have me stoked at the prospect of new Yorke solo material.
Maybe you’ll disagree? Check out footage below — and if you’re in the mood for something warmer and more welcoming, stick around for his performance of “Atoms For Peace” from 2006 solo debut The Eraser.
Yorke’s main band will be back on the road this summer.