D.C. production duo Thievery Corporation will become the latest high-profile independent act to experiment with online album distribution/promotion, as their latest full-length, Radio Retaliation, will be available to stream in its entirety via iLike and Facebook on Friday, Sept. 19th —- four days before the official September 23rd release date. No stranger to political statements, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton‘s move certainly comes with a message: While media consolidation/homogenization of the airwaves has made terrestrial radio anything but a healthy market for musicians, the Internet can provide a direct avenue between artist and audience, free from dilution.

The group’s outlet of choice, iLike, is advertised as “the Web’s leading social music discovery service,” and is currently one of the most successful applications for online networking giant, Facebook. Users will be allowed to stream the new record while viewing original videos of the duo explaining the album, elaborating their approach, getting out the message, etc.

The iLike debut will differ from other big-name distribution models like Radiohead‘s “pay-what-you-want” download of In Rainbows last year, focusing instead on using online social networking as a promotional tool. Thievery Corporation’s announcement will attempt to capitalize on the Internet’s pre-release publicity potential, in a day and age when even hardened anti-piracy warriors like Metallica have come to terms with the inevitable album leak. Radio Retaliation‘s launch will mark the first “worldwide listening party” event between iLike and Facebook, which tout 30 million and 100 million users worldwide, respectively.

Recorded in the District, Retaliation is the duo’s fifth studio full-length, to be released on their own Eighteenth Street Lounge Music. “Outernational” seems to be the phrase of choice to describe the duo’s globe-trotting sound —- an eclectic amalgam of groove-infused influences that range from afrobeat to electronic. According to Garza, Retaliation will be similarly genre-encompassing, and not without overt political tones.

Fans can access the stream via Thievery Corporation’s iLike/Facebook page starting this Friday, September 19th, and will be available for exclusive preorder on iTunes until the official September 23rd release. In the meantime, you can check out a preview on their MySpace page.