Radiohead have released a haunting new single, “Daydreaming,” from their much anticipated – and as-yet-untitled – ninth studio album, which arrives digitally on May 8th and in all physical formats on June 17th. They also unveiled an elaborate, maze-like video directed by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson.
The clip stars frontman Thom Yorke, who walks through a series of interconnected locations – an apartment, parking garage, hospital, house, laundromat, beach – and eventually climbs a snow-capped hill to an eerie cave. “Daydreaming” is the sonic inverse of the band’s recently released single “Burn the Witch,” using a glacial Jonny Greenwood score and ambient keys to anchor Yorke’s vocals. “Dreamers, they never learn,” he croons. “It’s too late / The damage is done.”
In the weeks leading up to the LP – their first since 2011’s The King of Limbs – Radiohead teased the impending album arrival in a series of mysterious, obfuscated ways that’s become the band’s norm. After months of rumors regarding The King of Limbs‘ follow-up – fueled by reports of Radiohead establishing an LLC and the promise of a June release by someone at the band’s management company – a cryptic leaflet teasing the unreleased song “Burn the Witch” popped up in U.K. fans’ mailboxes on April 30th.
The following day, Radiohead surreptitiously erased their internet presence, including the deletion of the official website and their Facebook and Twitter accounts. (Thom Yorke also wiped his Twitter account clean.)
On May 3rd, the band reactivated their Dead Air Space official site with new single “Burn the Witch” along with the track’s sinister, stop-motion video inspired both by the British children’s series Camberwick Green and the cult 1973 film The Wicker Man. The video was directed by Chris Hopewell of Jackknife, the same production company that helmed Radiohead’s 2003 video for Hail to the Thief‘s “There There,” and hinted at themes including Islamophobia and the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe.
Radiohead followed up the conclusion of their King of Limbs tour in November 2012 with over three years of silence – although, in that time, the members embarked on solo projects, notably Yorke’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes and Atoms for Peace‘s Amok – before releasing their new song “Spectre,” their unused theme for the James Bond film of the same name, on Christmas Day. Yorke also debuted a pair of new songs – “Silent Spring” and “Desert Island Disk” – at his solo Pathway to Paris concert in November.
Radiohead’s hiatus officially came to an end when the band announced that they’d be playing a handful of European festivals, including a gig at the Primavera fest that would feature what organizers promised would be the debut of their new album; however, that claim was later refuted. The band continued to tack on North American festival dates (Lollapalooza, Osheaga, Outside Lands and Austin City Limits) along with Los Angeles and New York concerts.
The band also transferred ownership of their pre-In Rainbows catalog to XL Recordings, a move that seemed to forecast the imminent arrival of a new album.