During their expansive 2006 tour, Radiohead workshopped a number of songs that wound up on 2007’s masterful In Rainbows. They also performed “Spooks,” a minute-long instrumental doodle driven by tense surf-rock guitars. While Radiohead never released a studio version of the track, “Spooks” now exists in alternate form for the soundtrack of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, with guitarist Jonny Greenwood reworking the arrangement alongside Supergrass members Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey.
This new version – available to stream at Stereogum – is more atmospheric than the Radiohead track, with the original descending guitar line slowed and twisted into a Robby Krieger-esque drone. Joanna Newsom – who also appears in Inherent Vice – offers gentle, unobtrusive narration over the hypnotic riff and jazzy drums.
Hear the earlier live version below.
When the “Spooks” news first began circulating, various outlets reported that the soundtrack would feature a full-on Radiohead version. Greenwood corrected one news report on Twitter, while also taking a cheap shot at his band’s old interpretation: “It’s better now than the Pixies/surf pastiche it was,” he wrote.
Greenwood composed the full score for Inherent Vice, with the soundtrack – featuring “Spooks,” along with nine Greenwood compositions and songs from Neil Young, Can and more – set for release on December 15th via Nonesuch. A vinyl edition will follow on March 3rd. The film, an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel set in the psychedelic Sixties, is out on December 12th and stars Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Owen Wilson.