A number of credible music outlets — NME, Spin, and Stereogum, to name a few — are passing along a supposed long-lost Radiohead track called "Putting Ketchup in the Fridge" that has recently surfaced online. As with so many too-good-to-be-true Radiohead rumors these days, it's probably fake. [Updated below.]
Let's start with the most obvious giveaway: that stupid title. Radiohead has had its share of strange song names over the years, but none of them were so asinine as to describe the placement of a condiment into a kitchen appliance. So where did that name come from? Probably the same place the leak came from: that all-night roadside troll diner known as 4chan.
The leak originates to this thread, where a poster to the /mu/ music board going by "Anonymous" writes, "ask a guy who has an unreleased radiohead song anything." Pressed by salivating /mu/ trawlers, he explains:
yeah, its pretty good, b side material kinda thing but yeah. ive had it for like 2 years or so now. was supposibly stolen by my friend who used to work for EMI and burned onto a cd-r.
Right. After cockteasing the board for a while, the song is uploaded in full, though the leaker says the track title is "Haven't Got a Prayer/Haven't Got a Hope." So how did it go from that to "Putting Ketchup in the Fridge?" Somewhere between 4chan and the great internet wilds, it was renamed with a direct reference to a 4chan meme that involves a screengrab of Seinfeld's George Costanza making an incredulous face:
According to several accounts, Costanza's reaction face was popularized through 4chan's /sp/ (sports) board in 2011, posted in a discussion thread about whether ketchup should be kept refrigerated or at room temperature.
So that explains where we get that dumb title people keep slavishly retweeting, like lost scripture from the Book of Thom. But what about the song? Might it still be legit?
Well, no. Have you ever heard of a band called Figures? That's okay, we didn't either. But a tipster tells us that's probably the artist behind "Putting Ketchup in the Fridge." Here's another Figures track, called "Seeping Nest." You might see how they could be confused for OK Computer-era Radiohead. Their own YouTube page acknowledges as much: "We are definitely not Radiohead, though big fans."
Radiohead, whose last tweet came on Dec. 19, has yet to deny the song is theirs. We're going to go out on a limb and say it's forthcoming. The king of limbs, in fact!
UPDATE: Well, our hunch was correct. CNN had a segment (including a screengrab of this page) on the song, in which they interviewed Christopher Stoba. Stoba is a guy from Toronto who stumbled onto the lost Radiohead track, only to realize he was hearing his own song — a demo track from 2001 called "Sit Still." He's since abandoned his music career to open a bakery.