Radiohead – Burn The Witch [VIDEO]

The Verge recaps:

After slowly disappearing from the internet and releasing a few short teasers through Instagram, Radiohead has released a stop-motion video for their new song “Burn the Witch.” It’s the band’s first piece of new music since their almost-Bond theme “Spectre,” which was released last Christmas, and it’s the first single from the band’s upcoming, as-yet-untitled ninth studio album. (The band hasn’t released an LP since 2011’s The King of Limbs.)

The video is set in a stereotypical English village β€” there’s a sign that says “Model Village,” just so there’s no ambiguity β€” that quickly turns sinister when its inhabitants get down to the titular witch-burning. (It takes place in a giant wooden effigy that looks like something out of Burning Man.

  • Gerry Fisher

    Yeaaah…I see a lot of “witch burning” intentions and behaviors lately. Not one of the more endearing parts of human nature and group psychology.

    • another_steve

      Witches were the “others” of their day.

      Today we have Mexicans, LGBTs, etc.

      • Gustav2

        Yeah, but I was hoping that Heidi girl was going to get it.

        They are the worst.

      • clay

        and, according to the video, aristocratic bureaucrats?

        • another_steve

          I laugh when I read about “aristocratic bureaucrats,” on both left and right blogs. Anyone who has ever worked in government (I did, for 26 years) knows that the average U.S. Government bureaucrat is perhaps the most obedient and sheepish human being on the planet.

          Occasionally there’s real innovation and independence in government bureaucracies, but more often than not the innovators and the independent are either silenced or punished by the reigning overlords.

          • clay

            I’m merely reacting to the video of the bureaucrat being chauffeured while he sips his tea.

  • bkmn

    After watching the ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ episode with Scott Foley where he learned his ancestor who was in Geo. Washington’s personal protection detail was later hanged for witchcraft, I realized it does not take much to rev up people to incite violence.

  • Iain Gardener

    For those who might not. Be British and of a certain age extra creepiness is supplied by the fact that the video is a direct reference to the 1970s children’s show Camberwick Green.

    • bryan

      With flagrant flashes of The Wicker Man.

      • Patrick Thomas

        And the Abbots Bromley horn dance.

    • Shy Guy
      • Iain Gardener

        This was my childhood, Camberwick Green and Trumpton

  • clay

    More “Wicker Man” than “Burning Man”, imho.

    • TuuxKabin

      You saw the original, from around ’72? It was a double bill with ‘Don’t Look Now’. Was a shattering experience.

      • billbear1961

        Jesus, that film TERRIFIES and SICKENS me to the core!

        CJ and a friend of ours can watch it and hardly bat an eye.

        Meanwhile, I’m screaming: “Someone should drop an atomic bomb on those depraved monsters!

        There is a fundamental injustice and TERROR that unfolds in that dreadful film.

        If I stop to think about it, it makes me ill.

        It must be one of the most profoundly disturbing films I’ve ever seen.

        I’ve only watched it twice.

        After a viewing, it takes a decade before I can watch it again.


        • TuuxKabin

          I have a high tolerance for uncanny horror and that is probably the best example. I can understand your revulsion too.

          That the fundamental injustice turns on the man of justice, the investigator, intrigued me and how he was lured to the island to search for the missing girl. It was sensual and terrifying.

          After sitting thru that I thought of leaving, but not knowing what ‘Don’t Look Now’ was about, altho I should have guessed it would be another strange story, it being a Daphne DuMarier story, I wanted to see Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, so I set thru the intermission numb, and watched another sensual and ultimately terrifying story. It almost brought me to tears.

          I was plotzed when I left the movie house.

          • billbear1961

            I don’t think I’ve seen the second film–we’ll have to look for it.

            They are MERCILESS with that investigator–they don’t even knock him out, but burn him ALIVE and FULLY conscious.

            I don’t remember if we hear him scream in agony–I do NOT want to think about it.

            People capable of such absolute, merciless DEPRAVITY deserve to suffer the very WORST of fates.

          • Oshtur

            Here I thought Lord Summerilse got it right – they get their sacrifice, he gets to be a martyr and sit at the right hand of God – win win.

          • billbear1961

            Yes, I remember that grinning fiend’s rationalizations–his attempts to justify or excuse what they were doing.

            If the investigator had given into temptation and screwed one of his temptresses, he wouldn’t have been a virgin–and would have been SPARED.

          • Oshtur

            Yep. Considering how many pagans were burned I just consider this a bit of tit-for-tat. The constable was an insufferable prig, he deserved to die just for that.

            I have the collectors edition shipped in the laser etched wooden box. Standard May Day movie viewing…

          • TuuxKabin

            And what better way to go, then sacrificial.

          • billbear1961

            I know it was “just a movie.”

            But I tend to take things terribly seriously.

            Even as a child, I was “sober as a judge,” as my grandmother used to say.

            My gloomy outlook on life, on people and the world made her say, more than once, that, already as a teenager, I thought “like an old man.”

          • TuuxKabin

            Maybe a former life influence? From the ice age? Hence your avatar? =;-}

          • billbear1961

            CJ chose my avatar for a HOST of reasons–he thought it fit my personality in a variety of ways (not all of them good).

          • TuuxKabin

            We followed the same conclusion to that story. And we are talking about the original version, correct?

          • Oshtur

            Oh yes, the Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle.

            Summer isle: They do love their divinity lessons.

            Howie: But they’re naked!!!

            Summer isle: Of course! Its much to dangerous to jump through the fire with their clothes on!

        • clay

          Hated the Inspector, hated Lord Summerisle, couldn’t kill the Inspector off quick enough for my tastes so I could move on from the idiotic island.

          But maybe that’s just because I was in Kansas.

          • billbear1961

            He was a prig, BUT he thought a child had been murdered.

            NO ONE deserves such a fate, except perhaps those capable of inflicting it on OTHERS.

          • clay

            Even by the standards of that time, he was a shit at investigating it.

          • billbear1961

            Was he?

            I really don’t remember–I was so overwhelmed by what happened to HIM.

            I do remember no child had been harmed–it was just a ploy to get him out to the island.

            How they were so SURE he was a virgin, I don’t remember.

            Yes, he was unmarried–had never BEEN married–and was very religious.

            But we know what HYPOCRITES the extremely religious almost ALWAYS are.

          • billbear1961

            You are a tough one, butch.

            I was a basket case after that damned film.

        • CityWOOF

          You might want to stay away from the recent sequel, The Wicker Tree!

      • billbear1961

        Yes, shattering is EXACTLY the right word.

        The damned film makes me cry and RAGE.

        • TuuxKabin

          I love me big ol’ bears to be sensitive.

          The other film, “Don’t Look Now” may not be to your comfort level. I suggest CJ screen it first.

          It has some Hitchcock inspiration to it. The editing, from past, to present, to precognition and the play of water and the color red are compelling. There is a controversial love scene that ‘upsettled’ Warren Beatty, as he and Julie Christie were a couple at the time. And the thread thru out the film, dealing with the lose of a child, that in the end . . . well, never mind Dollingk, I hope you can find it and not be too bothered by it.

          I suspect, if CJ like “The Wicker Man” he’ll enjoy “Don/t’ Look Now”. They were released as a double bill because of similar plot developments and horrifying conclusions.

          Now, back to cartoons.


          • billbear1961

            We’ll look into it.

            Yes, I think cartoons are an EXCELLENT idea.

          • greenmanTN

            Have you ever seen “Picnic At Hanging Rock”? It might not be your cup of tea, but it is beautiful filmed.

          • TuuxKabin

            Correct, it was not my cup of tea, I prefer to have the story ‘wrapped up and resolved’ even if it leaves multiple interpretations. Picnic at Hanging Rock didn’t do that for me, but yes as you mentioned, it was beautifully filmed.

            There was another Australian film, ‘Walkabout’, Directed by Nicholas Roeg about a young brother and sister left in the outback to survive. The ending, as bleak as it is, is resolved to be what it is.

            Both Peter Weir and Nicholas Roeg are very good directors, imho.

          • greenmanTN

            I like them both too.

            One of my favorite gay-themed novels is Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley. Maximillian Roeg, son of Nicholas, played one of the main roles in the movie.. (See? I really did have a point in bringing it up!) The book is a lot better than the movie.

          • TuuxKabin

            You always seem to have a good point. Dream Boy? Never heard of it. I’ll add it to the library list. Thanks!

          • greenmanTN

            What really impressed me was how spare the language is. Where another author might have used 6 words or write a paragraph, Grimsley just needs one word, almost like a poet distills meaning. You can read it in an hour or so but IMO it sticks to you a lot longer.

          • CityWOOF

            Saw that recently. GREAT.

        • greenmanTN

          If I have any religion at all it’s the beauty of nature.

  • Amazing. Beautiful. This is gorgeous!!!

  • LDinMN

    Feel the burn…

  • Forrest

    Religion helps to do shit like this (not the music… the burning)

  • billbear1961

    But ONLY, of course, if the “witch” is LGBT.

  • witch

    Lots of paganism, now I have to explain to my friend

  • Brad Lathem

    God I love Radiohead. Hoping for an ultra-deluxe vinyl edition

    • Bryan

      You got that right.

    • Clungeflaps

      Talk Talk and Can both do Radiohead much better than the band themselves.

      • Brad Lathem

        I like Can alot but I’m not the sort of person to only listen to older stuff and snub my nose at anything that isn’t some “classic.”

        Talk Talk puts me to sleep sleep though

        • Clungeflaps

          I love Talk Talk’s final 2 albums, they were incredibly ahead of their time. They aren’t for everyone, if you have to have immediate gratification, post-rock isnt for you.

          • Brad Lathem

            The one with the tree on the cover is the one I listened to, and honestly it bored me to tears. *shrugs* different strokes for different folks

          • Clungeflaps

            Yeah, that one is my favorite. I love pretentious Eno/Fripp-esque artsy fartsy wankery.

          • Brad Lathem

            My girlfriend likes that kinda thing. I like stuff like Pavement, Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, etc

            I see the appeal it’s just not my personal cup of tea

          • Clungeflaps

            I didn’t like it when I was younger. I actually started liking it after I begun producing music.

        • Bryan

          Can can be hit or miss for me, Future Days in particular is exceptional.
          Tago Mago is great.

          • Brad Lathem

            I mostly like Damo. :p

      • I think Can is way more Radiohead-like than Talk Talk and besides, what a shitty way to think of music.

        • Clungeflaps

          Check out Spirit of Eden, and Laughing Stock. It’s clear Thom Yorke ripped a lot off of Talk Talk from those 2 albums.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Song was OK. If you want really awesome pagan musik you really need to listen to Inkubus Sukkubus. One of my all time favorite bands.

    • TuuxKabin

      Inkubus Sukkubus was our nick name for the 38 Geary, and The Dirty Thirty for the one that runs from south of Market, up to North Beach.

    • Friday

      Do wish they’d gone another direction with the name, …for years I presumed it was just more stupid metal on the theme or something. πŸ™‚

  • i’ve always been Meh on the Radiohead stuff. it’s nice that people still make funny videos, however.

  • Clungeflaps

    I really like Pablo Honey a lot, but I just find their later stuff to be really lacking. After ‘The Bends’, they just sound like a bootleg hybrid of Aphex Twin, Kitchens of Distinction, Can, and ‘Colour of Spring’-era Talk Talk.

    I realize I’m the only indie fan in here, I doubt any of you know those bands.

    • Cousin Bleh

      I don’t think I’ve ever met another Kitchens of Distinction fan in my life. But Strange Free World is a helluva album.

      • Clungeflaps

        Thom Yorke has said that he is a big fan of KoD.

    • ken

      Here’s a playlist of every song I ever liked. Indie enough for you?

      • Clungeflaps

        Eh, it’s OK, but could stand to be better. And you have Lourde songs in there so that’s a big deduction.

  • Long-time Radiohead fan and eagerly looking forward to their next album. I have to admit I enjoyed the video more than the song, though.

  • CityWOOF

    Joe has clearly never seen “The Wicker Man”. You should check it out, it’s a masterpiece!

    • TuuxKabin

      The 1973 original. And watch it as a double bill with ‘Don’t Look Now’. They were released as a double bill by the production studio. Similar ‘incidences’ leading to a gory end.

      • CityWOOF

        I’ve never seen Don’t Look Now. I will check it out! I also did rather enjoy The Wicker Tree, the sequel from a couple of years ago. Very low budgie, but pretty good.

        • TuuxKabin

          That was with Nicholas Cage?

          • CityWOOF

            No, that’s the remake of The Wicker Man (so bad). The Wicker Tree is an actual sequel by the same team that made the original Wicker Man, and features Christopher Lee! It does not have the same kind of impact, really, as the it’s predecessor, but it’s enjoyable in its own twisted way. And there’s a very hot guy in the lead male role πŸ™‚