There was once a time, long, long ago, when the casual music listening world would generally only learn about a new release when the single turned up on the radio, when the LP showed up on the NEW THIS WEEK! rack at the record store, or when they read a review after the fact of the release. Obsessives who pored over gossip columns in music magazines might have learned about a release maybe a month or so early. Today, of course, online fora can be all abuzz about a forthcoming album before its songs have even been written, and when a band’s fan base is as massive and rabid as Radiohead’s, the speculation begins ridiculously early—the apparently now defunct Green Plastic had a thread on the subject almost a year ago! Two of my favorite sites for Radiohead übergeekery, Citizen Insane and TKOL Part 2, have proffered some credible speculation as to what the still-hypothetical Radiohead album #9 might contain, based on hints dropped in interviews, info gleaned from the Atoms For Peace Reddit AMA, new songs registered with ASCAP, and fan videos of unreleased songs performed in concert. With Atoms For Peace’s tour precluding any Radiohead activity in the second half of 2013, and with the two songs recorded at Jack White’s Third Man studio in spring of 2012 seeming increasingly unlikely to surface the more time passes, I thought it might be an agreeable diversion to post an assortment of unreleased material that’s considered by the informed fandom likely to turn up on the next album. Understand this is intended to be neither exhaustive nor predictive, and I’m fully aware that that the more deeply fervent Radiohead fans among you already know some of this stuff and I unhesitatingly acknowledge how totally cool you are for having heard songs before most other people. Truly, the world is yours. This is just about having some fun and checking out some lesser-known but quality material by a great group whose last album is almost three years behind us and whose next offering remains a tantalizingly huge question mark. So off we go!
To start, there’s the very pretty “Skirting on the Surface.” It was a live staple of Thom Yorke’s solo performances over four years ago, but Radiohead took to playing it out in 2012. Though the solo piano versions one can find are quite stunning, I went with full band here.
Next up, “Identikit.” It’s been performed live a zillion times, and it’s known to be one of the songs from the Third Man sessions. There were plenty of versions of this on YouTube, but I got a kick out of this fan video cut from old cartoons.
“Cut A Hole” is another mighty nice tune that’s had some live exposure.
Infuriatingly, the only apparently extant version of “Come To Your Senses,” the existence of which has been known since 2006, and which was explicitly cited as a contender for a new recording by Thom Yorke in his October 2011 Rolling Stone interview, cuts off before even a minute passes. What’s there sounds awesome, reminiscent somewhat of Hail To The Thief‘s “Go To Sleep,” a big favorite of mine. I’m kind of rooting for this one to get finished and released one of these days.
“The Present Tense” is a contender that’s been performed this past fall on the Atoms For Peace tour, which doesn’t necessarily take it out of the running:
We’ll end this with “Full Stop,” often spelled “Ful Stop” based on a possible misspelling from a page of rehearsal notes that turned up in an eBay auction. It started appearing in concert in 2012.