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Radiohead – 2012 New Album Preview

Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Let’s just get this out of the way up front: Radiohead haven’t rung up the Diffuser hotline and told us they’re working on a new album. We have no idea what the band is really up to. In fact, they could very well not be planning to release anything in 2012. But if time has taught us anything Radiohead-related, it’s that you can never assume anything — so we’re just going to go out on a (king of) limb(s) and speculate.

Since releasing ‘The King of Limbs’ last year, the band has been its typically secretive self, surfacing as a “secret act” at Glastonbury and flash-releasing a video for a new song, ‘Suitcase,’ before debuting more new material (‘Identikit,’ ‘Cut a Hole,’ and ‘Skirting on the Surface’) on their just-launched world tour. So does that mean we can look forward to hearing these tracks on the next Radiohead record? Pshaw! Of course not.

So what can we say about where the band’s muse seems to be heading? Well, it’s worth mentioning that last year, they added virtuoso Portishead drummer Clive Deamer to their live lineup, continuing their increased focus on the more rhythmic approach they took when recording ‘Limbs.’ And while we’re busy looking toward the future, it might be helpful to look back at some of the band’s quotes from that last album — such as Yorke’s revelation to NPR that they took a looser, more improvisational approach to those sessions.

“Almost every tune is like a collage: things we’d pre-recorded, each of us, and then were flying at each other,” he said at the time. “You get to a point where you think, ‘OK, this bit needs a big black line through it.’ It’s like editing a film or something…That’s one of the ways we move on musically, is having to force ourselves to learn this thing. It’s a backward process, but it really exists in another way once you can actually play it.”

Whether that method will carry over to their next release remains to be seen, but it seems safe to say that no matter what they end up recording, they’ll do it their own way. Take a look at these clips of Radiohead performing new material on their current tour and see if you can hear the outlines of a new record:

Radiohead perform ‘Identikit’

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Radiohead perform ‘Cut a Hole’

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