Why Have Radiohead Vanished From The Internet? And What Does The Bird Mean?

Over the weekend (April 30), Radiohead fans on their mailing list received a postcard with the words ‘Burn The Witch‘ emblazoned on it. The following day (May 1), the band’s online presence began to fade away, until their social media pages and website were completely blank. All posts were gone on the band’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Thom Yorke’s own Twitter profile. Then, this morning (May 3) an animated bird appeared on Radiohead’s Instagram page, supposedly another clue to what fans believe is the imminent ninth album from Radiohead.

Some fans speculate it’s all to do with LP9’s tracklisting. Here’s how Radiohead may be teasing the contenders…

1. Why have Radiohead disappeared from the internet?

Thom Yorke debuted a laid-back guitar track called ‘Silent Spring’ at a solo show in Paris last December, during which he paused and said, ‘This is Jonny’s bit’, meaning it must be a Radiohead track. This track title is one way to explain why they would go into online shutdown – and over an appropriately vernal weekend, too.

Another theory is that they’re teasing a song called ‘The Present Tense’ – a song they’ve also played live before. That makes sense in a more metaphorical way – their social media pages show no trace of the past. Here’s what that song sounds like.

Finally, an important thing to note here are the two businesses they’ve set up in the last few months: one called Dawn Chorus LLP, and another called Dawnnchoruss Ltd. Setting up a new company before releasing a new album is something they’ve done before (on ‘In Rainbows’ and ‘The King Of Limbs’) to prevent the success or failure of one album from affecting their others. This whole process of shutting down their social media pages and website happened on the first Sunday in May – also known as International Dawn Chorus Day.

2. Why have they posted a video of a bird singing?

Ok, so they might have been teasing ‘Silent Spring’ on International Dawn Chorus Day, but what if they’re teasing another song called ‘Dawn Chorus’? That’s what some fans on Reddit believe. In March 2009 Thom Yorke told Chilean presenter Andrés Viál, “There’s one called ‘Dawn Chorus’ I’m trying to finish at the moment that’s really great… I think.” Could it finally be ready?

A video posted by Radiohead (@radiohead) on

The above video, at least, hints at the dawn chorus, although it’s probably part of a potential ‘Burn The Witch’ video, as you’ll see below…

3. Why did they send out postcards saying ‘Burn The Witch’?

On Saturday Radiohead fans received the below postcard in the post. Some people think it could be the name of the new album.

Fans have also noted the presence of that title on the bottom left bit of this artwork from ‘Hail To The Thief’’s album booklet.

Here’s an early draft of those lyrics, according to citizeninsane.eu:

Thom said he’d finished the lyrics as long ago as 2005.

Radiohead have also just shared the below video on their Instagram, with what looks like a witch-burning in it. This is probably the claymation video that’s on the way – along with the bird one above – and we’re guessing it’s called ‘Burn The Witch’. If you compare it to the sound files of tiny snippets they’ve played of it live in the past, it sounds similar enough that we’re sold:

A video posted by Radiohead (@radiohead) on

Keen-eyed fans have noted that the video is probably made by director Chris Hopewell, who yesterday (May 2) wrote “you’ll have to wait till tomoro to see the whole thing.” (via DIY)

4. Why did Thom Yorke tweet a photo of a skylight on April 1?

This one – since deleted, obviously:

Some people think it could be to do with a song they’ve played before – here in 2012 – called ‘Cut A Hole’. Apt, right?

5. What did Thom Yorke’s cryptic New Year tweet mean?

“The end of hollow words”, Thom wrote on January 1, accompanied by a strange, glittering image that you can see here. Could he be referring to their track ‘Ful Stop’?

That would also fit another tweet that followed the Panama Papers scandal last month, where he wrote, “no bigger than a ful stop”. Speculation that the song will appear on the new album seems justified – hear it below.

READ MORE: Radiohead’s Ninth Album – 15 Tracks That Could Be Included