Yesterday, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke caused a frenzy amongst his fans by posting a mysterious photo of a white 12-inch record, which was reposted by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. Nobody's quite sure what this record could be, though here are some educated guesses:
1. A New Radiohead Album
Let's get the most obvious one out of the way first: could this be the next Radiohead album? The band confirmed earlier this year that they would be entering the studio in September, but if you check your calendar, you'll notice that it's still September, and Radiohead has never worked that quickly before. Maybe they've taken a new approach and recorded the entire album live and raw in just a few days, or maybe they were lying about the September recording sessions and wanted to drop the album when we least expect it. Either one of those would be pretty cool.
2. A New Radiohead EP
Back in the '90s and early '00s, Radiohead would occasionally release EPs to tide fans over between albums, and they were great: 1994's My Iron Lung and 1998's Airbag/How Am I Driving? are essential for Radiohead fans, so maybe this mysterious white record is actually a new EP. They haven't released one since 2004's COM LAG (2plus2isfive) (which was flawed but still had the indispensible "Gagging Order"), so they're about due for a new one.
3. A Radiohead B-Sides Compilation
Every diehard Radiohead fan probably has their own collection of B-sides and rare tracks in their iTunes library (I know I do), but the band has never released an official one, so maybe they've finally decided to do it. If they included all of the right songs (I'm thinking "Talk Show Host," "Maquiladora," "How I Made My Millions"), a B-sides compilation would go right up there with the other Radiohead classics.
4. A New Thom Yorke Solo Album
Thom Yorke's first, and so far only, solo album was 2006's The Eraser, and though he hasn't hinted at any plans for a new solo album, his surprise DJ sets recently might be indications that he's working on something, perhaps in the realm of more abstract electronica such as Aphex Twin or Flying Lotus.
5. A New Atoms for Peace Album
The fact that this mysterious record photo came from Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich might mean that this has nothing to do with Radiohead, but rather Yorke and Godrich's band Atoms for Peace. That would honestly be pretty disappointing, because even though the first Atoms for Peace album (2013's Amok) was good, pretty much everybody would prefer a new Radiohead album instead.
6. A Different Thom Yorke/Nigel Godrich Collaboration
Maybe this record has nothing to do with either Radiohead or Atoms for Peace, but an entirely new collaboration between Yorke and Godrich. I enjoy everything both of them have done (even Godrich's band Ultraista is vastly underrated), so this would be an exciting prospect, though I can't imagine anyone other than Radiohead freaks really caring at all.
7. Nothing At All
Maybe this is all some practical joke to get Radiohead fans and music journalists worked up over nothing. Maybe Thom Yorke thought it would be hilarious to take a photo of a blank white record and see some chump on the Internet write a list about what it could possibly be. That would admittedly be pretty funny, though that chump would probably be crying for a day or so before he started laughing.