We know it’s coming. We’ve seen the signs. But how imminent is the new Radiohead album? We’re betting on ‘very’, and here’s why.
Yesterday morning the floodgates opened. Several European festivals announced they’d booked Radiohead to headline in the summer of 2016. Primavera in June is chronologically the first, but OpenAir and NOS in July follow up pretty quickly. For three festivals like that to announce in such a short space in time suggests they were all holding to an embargo, but who was enforcing it? Maybe Radiohead, because they’d be the first big stage of the album dropping?
Along with those festival announcements, a new piece of artwork appeared on the band’s W.A.S.T.E. store. All stoney and featuring blanked out figures. It matches up with their current header images on social networks too. Is it a theme?
In December 2010, Radiohead started a new company, Ticker Tape Limited. In February 2011, ‘The King Of Limbs’ arrived. Set up to deal with all their financial gubbins for the record, that’s a three month gap. In October of last year, the band started another new business – Dawn Chorus LLP. Three months on from October would be… oh, look.
Think about it, Radiohead have always had a flair for the shock drop. From the previously mentioned ‘Spectre’ arriving over your Xmas dinner, to previous album ‘The King Of Limbs’ and its incredibly short notice – it would be more shocking if they actually gave us proper warning for LP9. With delays at vinyl pressing plants all over Europe, Radiohead could quite easily drop the download version now and have the physical land nicely before the summer festivals. That kind of split release has never bothered them before.
Chieftain Mews, Radiohead’s elusive (but private) Twitter hype man, has returned. First seen in Radiohead film “The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth Of All Time” before heading to The Internet to offer clues around the release of ‘In Rainbows’, ‘The King Of Limbs’ and ‘Thom Yorke’s Tomorrow Modern Boxes’, the account is only active prior to the release of new material. He’s been confirmed to be the real ‘thing’ by Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood and has spent the past 24 hours teasing fans about an imminent treasure hunt and sharing mathematical equations. We’re no scientists but something is afoot.
Of course, if one fan hadn’t screwed up their question, this whole article could be purely academic.
Does anyone know when the new Radiohead album is supposed to come out?
— Geoff Barrow (@jetfury) January 19, 2016
Well, Geoff, if we were reading between the lines, we expect you do. And if you’re tweeting things like that, we expect it’s soon. Given the fact that the bands have a relationship – Thom Yorke joined Barrow’s Portishead onstage as recently as last summer at Latitude – it’s not beyond the realm of expectation to think he may be in on their schemes, is it now?
In October 2014, Thom Yorke shared some early notes for the as-of-yet unreleased Radiohead song ‘Present Tense’ (though it was rumoured to be on the rumoured ‘The King Of Limbs pt.2’). In amongst the scrawled “Britney Spears”, “lights that dance” and “free beer”, he’s circled the phrase ‘hollow words’ twice.
On January 1st this year, he tweeted “the end of hollow words”, alongside an image, perhaps suggesting the album is finished and, new year, new Radiohead.
This one is maybe for the true believers only. Radiohead site AtEaseWeb is renowned the world over. One user, italo, has been hinting at ‘insider knowledge’. He’s interviewed the band before, and as Reddit puts it, is “trusted”. He’s hinting at a May release for physical, with a much sooner download release.
“I do have an email from my job’s HQ back in July 2015 mentioning the month of release (which I’m now inclined to believe it’s the physical one and not the download) and this comes straight from their booking agent, with whom the company has a great relationship. This is why I’m so convinced of the release month, even if I heard about this in July. This is a major band securing their tour dates way in advance… don’t get surprised they registered their new company in october as they were probably very aware of a deadline they set for themselves just to be able to tour this year.”
Yeah, we know, but it might be true.
Why release their rejected Bond theme right at the end of 2015? The film had been out a while, and Thom probably didn’t have a vendetta to settle with Sam Smith. What better way to clear the decks for a new album early in 2016 than pipe up with a reminder of their brilliance over the holiday period. Even fellow comeback kings LCD Soundsystem couldn’t match the impact of brand new Radiohead.
In Paris last December Thom debuted two new songs ‘Desert Island Disk’ and ‘Silent Spring’ alongside ‘Present Tense’ and ‘Bloom’. ‘Silent Spring’ even features a gap for ‘Jonny’s bit’. Check that one out below.
Before Radiohead, the band were called On A Friday. Today is Friday. Clearly the new Radiohead album will be dropped today. Unless you’re reading this after Friday, in which case, definitely next Friday. Definitely.