Six months ago Radiohead released the ninth album of their storied 31 year career. As ever, they didn’t disappoint. A sprawling, emotional masterpiece, A Moon Shaped Pool is filled to the brim with soaring ballads and layered, experimental rock songs. It’s their best since 2007’s In Rainbows.
What’s even more interesting though is what’s on it. Essentially an assortment of tracks that’ve previously existed in some form or another, the album features only three completely new songs (not including pre-release single ‘Daydreaming’) – ‘Decks Dark’, ‘Glass Eyes’ and ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Thief’. The rest are – while mostly exquisite – old live favourites , reworked demos and in the case of bonus track ‘Spectre’, rejected Bond scores. They’ve really cleaned out the cupboard on this one.
The decision to dredge up these long lost gems is a confusing one. Radiohead have been nothing if not creative over the past three decades, so why have they suddenly seemingly run out of songs? Have Thom Yorke and co decided to finally shut up shop? Is this the last Radiohead album we’ll ever get?
Well, hopefully the answer is no. And for those worrying the Fab Five are wiping the slate clean by unloading any remaining material, don’t. There’s plenty more where that came from. Just check out these nine unreleased treasures we’ve rustled up. Who knows, maybe we’ll get proper studio-recorded versions next time around. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?
Probably the most well known of the entries in this blog, ‘Lift’ has been likened to In Rainbows track ‘Nude’, not a bad comparison. Guitarist Johnny Greenwood actually confirmed the band were recording a new cut of the ’90s rarity back in June last year. Sadly, it hasn’t made the final tracklist for this album. But we’ve still got countless live clips to enjoy, including this outstanding 1996 rendition from Holland’s Pinkpop festival.
‘I Froze Up’
First performed by Yorke solo in a 2002 webcast, this touching piano ballad surfaced again in 2010. Later part of the Atoms For Peace supergroup tour, it’s been popular on diehard fan forums ever since.
‘Skirting On The Surface’
This ‘Karma Police’-esque ballad first debuted in 2009 at an Atoms For Peace LA show. It was actually another piano-led tune before Yorke re-worked it for Radiohead. He’s on acoustic in the below live version from 2012.
‘Cut A Hole’
First performed in the same set as A Moon Shaped Pool track ‘Identikit’ in Miami, 2012. As you can see below, the crowd loved it.
‘Open The Floodgates’
“Don’t bore us, get to the chorus,” sang Yorke in 2009 when this keys-led (yes, again) ditty first reared its melancholy head. Only a short one, it’s more heart-softening magic from the mercurial front man.
This live staple’s been kicking about since the ‘90s. It strangely went missing completely from ‘95 to 2002, where it re-emerged at a show in Salamanca, Spain. Originally titled ‘Man-O-War’, this clip is from 1998 rockumentary Meeting People Is Easy. It shows the band tried to record the track properly, but however hard they try, they can’t seem to get it the way they want.
‘Follow Me Around’
Reportedly attempted during the OK Computer sessions, this darker song has more than a touch of Nirvana’s ‘Pennyroyal Tea’ about it. Which is no bad thing. It’s been played live by Yorke in various capacities, from Radiohead and Atoms For Peace gigs to solo at Latitude in 2009.
‘Come To Your Senses’
Only a snippet, but a good one at that. From a 2006 soundcheck in Berkeley, California.
‘Wake Me (Before They Come)’
Another soundcheck out-take, this actually untitled track (it’s known by the chorus’ lyrics) comes from a 2008 show at LA’s Hollywood Bowl. Quite a few state-side secrets on this list eh? What about us Brits, Thom?
Another early stunner, this clip comes from a 1996 support slot for Alanis Morrisette. Yorke has reportedly said he thinks it sounds a bit like Joy Division. We’re not too sure about that, but it is wonderful all the same.