Cover of Christopher O'Riley's Hold Me To ThisA great deal of my time this week has been spent researching apartments in San Diego and so I have not been able to work on writing as much as I’d like, but I did get to spend a number of hours revising the synopsis and query letters for my novel to send to prospective literary agents, which is exciting. Summing up the book in 6-10 sentences and making it interesting enough to grab an already swamped agent’s attention is harder than writing the 87,000 manuscript itself. Never before has so much pressure rested on one paragraph. That said, though, it is an interesting and engaging challenge.

Anyway, while working on that this week I’ve mostly been listening to instrumental versions of Radiohead. I love the band themselves, but I find their records often too distracting to work to, simply end up singing along instead of focusing on my own stuff. There’s probably many different instrumental versions of Radiohead out there, but I’m just going to focus on the two records I actually have. (If you know of any others please note them in the comments below).

Cover image of String Quartet Tribute to RadioheadFirst, I have to say I was late to the Radiohead party. I remember loving Creep when it first came out when I was 10 or so. A few years later, however, I was fully convinced that punk rock was the only music of any importance and anything remotely in the mainstream was by default awful. It was an unfortunate stance to take but did allow me some years later to become fully immersed in Radiohead courtesy of a beautiful Italian girl I was crazy about. We’d stay up for hours drinking and listening to Radiohead and it was happy, happy days. Until it wasn’t. Regardless, after she was out of the picture I had at least some great music to show for the time invested. During my junior year of college I lived in a house in DC that was within walking distance of a Best Buy. One night I stumbled into there (stumbled is an accurate word for that entire period of time in my life) and found The String Quartet Tribute to Radiohead: Enigmatic. I had never heard of it before, and was nearly always skeptical of covers, but took a chance and fell in love with it from the first notes of the first track, Motion Picture Soundtrack. Just absolutely beautiful. I can’t count the times I’ve listened to this while writing letters or working on fiction.

The second instrumental album of Radiohead covers is called Hold Me To This by pianist Christopher O’Riley. Actually now that I look this up it turns out to be the second album of Radiohead covers he did, the first being titled True Love Waits, after my favorite Radiohead song. I once again found this album by accident while browsing though the library stacks. It is an altogether different take on their songs than the string quartet but just as beautiful and just as inspiring to write to.

And because now I know it exists:

For more in this series see Music To Write To