Radiohead are currently back in the studio putting the finishing touches on the "best album we've ever made," guitarist Ed O'Brien announced during his guest DJ spot on BBC 6 Music this weekend, adding that the LP will hopefully be released by the end of the year. "It's genuinely exciting, it's very different from what we did last time. It's so good to be making music with a band that you feel is as good as it's ever been," O'Brien said of the group's anticipated follow-up to 2007's In Rainbows.
Telling host Adam Buxton (via AtEase) wrapping up the record "feels it's in touching distance," O'Brien added that "bursts of energy" could derail the band slightly, but he sees the group exiting the studio with the final product within "a matter of weeks."
O'Brien didn't offer up any specifics regarding the upcoming disc, but Yorke has debuted nearly a dozen new tracks — "The Present Tense," "Lotusflower," "The Daily Mail" and "Mouse Bird Dog," just to name a few — over the last year while touring solo or with Atoms for Peace. However, Yorke hasn't confirmed whether those fresh songs are bound for the follow-up to his solo record The Eraser or Radiohead's next disc.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, Radiohead last unleashed the track "These Are My Twisted Words" as a free download to fans late last year. "I'm an eternal optimist, but I truly believe we can shift massively on this [next] record. That's the thing we all know, that we feel in our bellies as we're rehearsing — we're on a big move here. We're definitely on a journey," O'Brien told Rolling Stone last year about the band's new direction.
During the interview and mixtape session for BBC Music 6, O'Brien also chatted about the laborious In Rainbows recording sessions and the band's desire to make recording "fun" again, the influence producer Nigel Godrich has had on the band (he's produced every Radiohead album since OK Computer) and the band's tour documentary Meeting People Is Easy. O'Brien spun records by XTC, Brian Eno, Diplo, composer Eumir Deodato and, of course, Radiohead. Listen to O'Brien's guest DJ spot for six more days on the station's site.
Now that Radiohead have confirmed they have new music, the question remains how will they release it? In 2007, the band unveiled In Rainbows with a game-changing "pay what you want" method, which was followed by a physical release on TBD Records two months later. Despite the fact that most listeners downloaded the album for free, the band made more money from their open-ended price scheme alone than it from all sales of Hail to the Thief, their last album for EMI. Radiohead have gone on record saying In Rainbows's unique release was likely a one-time deal, but Yorke has since called the record biz a "sinking ship."