UPDATE: In a tweet to Pitchfork, Jonny Greenwood has clarified Radiohead’s involvement in the new song on Inherent Vice. “Except it’s really a half idea we never made work live,” wrote the Radiohead guitarist. “I rewrote it and got Supergrass to play it. It’s good, but not very rh!”
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is already one of the most anticipated films of 2014, and now there’s even more reason to look forward to the first big screen adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel: According to reports, an unreleased Radiohead track called “Spooks” appears in the film. Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood composed the music for Inherent Vice — he also scored the director’s There Will Be Blood and The Master — and as Slate reported from the Inherent Vice premiere at the New York Film Festival, the end credits confirm that the new Radiohead track features in the movie.
Although Radiohead fans won’t be able to hear “Spooks” until Inherent Vice opens December 12th, the song title is familiar to them: Prior to the release of In Rainbows, when Radiohead was still road-testing the new tracks that would later appear on their groundbreaking LP during a 2006 tour, “Spooks” was among the new tracks the band was experimenting with. The one-minute-long surf rock instrumental was closer in sound to Dick Dale and the Ventures than Kid A and Atoms for Peace:
After nearly 20 live performances of the track, “Spooks” ultimately didn’t make the In Rainbows cut or reach B-side status, and Radiohead eventually abandoned it, but it appears not totally as Greenwood has seemingly resurrected it from those In Rainbows sessions and added it to Inherent Vice, a psychedelic noir based in the early-1970s that fits the California vibe of the track. However, in the past Radiohead has stripped song titles off tracks and applied them to completely different songs, like “Reckoner,” so it’s possible the Inherent “Spooks” is a different tune entirely.
The resurfacing of “Spooks” is just the latest surprise from the band in the past few weeks. On September 26th, with Radiohead reportedly in the studio working on their ninth LP, singer Thom Yorke unexpectedly released a new album dubbed Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes via BitTorrent.