Radiohead simultaneously tipped their hat to the past and the future Thursday during their third unannounced webcast of DJ sets and live tunes, which included a new song with the refrain "I am a wicked child."
As the show got under way on the band's Web page (www.radiohead.com), someone offscreen held up handwritten placards, reading such things as "BUFFERING" and "NET CONGESTION." The gesture recalled the famous 1965 video of Bob Dylan dropping placards with the lyrics to "Subterranean Homesick Blues," while at the same time poking fun at the computer hang-ups that have plagued Radiohead's forays on the Web.
This time out, the British group played one new tune, with the "wicked child" chorus. With a camera focused on the group from above, the band appeared tired and the sound was raw. "I wish I could be good," singer/guitarist Thom Yorke sang over lazy-sounding music that had the feel of mid-'70s Rolling Stones.
Most of the event featured DJ sets from Yorke and guitarist/keyboardist Jonny Greenwood. They played records ranging from dark techno to vintage big-band numbers to classic rocker Neil Young's "Down by the River."
Throughout, the webcam was focused on whoever was DJing, with occasional interruptions for shots of eyeballs, heads, kitchens, traffic and a cat chasing a mouse. At one point, viewers watched a tea bag lowered into a cup with a band logo, while another shot showed someone loading a dishwasher.
Radiohead are slated to release the follow-up to the acclaimed OK Computer (1997) in the fall, according to a U.S. spokesperson at Nasty Little Man publicity. That disc brought the UK heroes mainstream success in the U.S., with such modern-rock hits as "Karma Police" and "Paranoid Android" (RealAudio excerpt).
During a surprise webcast in December, the band debuted the song "Knives Out," which is expected to be on the upcoming disc. According to online band diaries, Radiohead have considered more than 20 tracks for the LP, including "Egyptian Song," "Kinetic" and "Cuttooth."
Earlier this week, Radiohead announced several European tour dates for June and July. The outing will take them through France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece and the UK; they'll then move on to Israel for three shows.