"This album is more accessible. I think
it has the energy
and songcraft of The Bends.”
——Capitol's Rob Gordon


New Album Already Making Waves
They’re the world’s largest cult band, and Capitol Records is preparing to expand that committed fan base even further.

U.K. art rockers Radiohead are readying their much-anticipated sixth album, Hail to the Thief, for a June 10 release in the U.S. The disc, recorded during just two weeks of sessions in Los Angeles with regular co-producer/mixer Nigel Godrich, is a return to a more song-based sound. The 14 tracks include first single “There There,” the propulsive “2+2=5” (with the title lyric, which is “not just” a swipe at Dubya, according to the band) and the stark ballad “I Will,” which contains only Thom Yorke’s vocal and keyboard.

Capitol President Andy Slater says the label is once more following the band’s lead in marketing and promoting the new release. “Radiohead set the tone for the album, which, for the most part, dictates the best way to present them in the marketplace. They’re one of the most important record-makers in contemporary music, intertwining and connecting with both graphic arts and film. The key with a group that delivers such a high degree of excellence is to sell the record with dignity.”

Of course, any semblance of dignity was lost the moment Slater mistakenly took our call.

The band’s last studio album, Amnesiac, came out in June 2001, debuting at #2, with 230k sold its first week. That record went on to sell 760k OTC in the U.S. The Grammy-winning (for Best Alternative Album) Kid A, released in Oct. 2000, sold 200k its first week, debuting at #1, with a million sold to date in the States alone. A live album, I Might Be Wrong, hit retail in Nov. 2001.

“There There” is already Top 10 in PoMo Specialty airplay. “Radio has been very receptive,” adds Slater.

Despite unprecedented security precautions, Hail to the Thief has been available in rough-mix form on the Internet for a month, though label VP Marketing Rob Gordon says that shouldn’t deter the band’s fanatical following: “They want the whole package—the lyrics, the artwork—to support the band in its music. This album is also more accessible. I think it has the energy and songcraft of The Bends.”

Press and marketing initiatives include:

—On-campus snipes/graffiti wall campaign with song lyrics and phone tree info number.

Spin cover (July), Blender.

—Touring the U.K. through May, then Euro festivals, including Glastonbury (6/28).

—U.S. tour mid-August through October.

—Headlining “Field Day” show on Long Island (6/7).

—Taping MTV “2$ Bill” show at N.Y’s Beacon Theatre (6/5).

Bolex Brothers (Adventures of Tom Thumb)-directed video added to MTV2 Blowtorch rotation, where it’ll air every hour on the hour.

—Huge syndicated/cable TV ad campaign (6/5).

—Rectangular wallet special-edition CD (100k only) folds out like a road map.

—Listening events at college campuses.

Landmark Theaters to air video before regular film screenings.

DirecTV to preview U.K. concert footage in July.

—One song from the album premiered each week during three consecutive episodes of CSI.