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Watch The Smile Play Three Songs for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

Group offered three of the more mellow songs from its beloved debut LP, 'A Light for Attracting Attention'
Photo: Dannah Gottlieb

The Smile’s maiden North American tour may be over, but the group has today (Jan. 3) provided fans a New Year’s treat in the form of a three-song performance for NPR’s famed Tiny Desk Concert series taped in November.

The group, which features Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, played “Pana-vision,” “The Smoke,” and “Skirting on the Surface,” three of the more mellow songs from its acclaimed 2022 debut album A Light for Attracting Attention. The Smile was joined by saxophonist Robert Stillman, who also served as the opening act at the band’s recent shows.


In typical self-deprecating fashion, Yorke tells the onlookers after the first song, “they said I could talk, but I can’t talk, because it’s too early in the day. That’s why I’m wearing sunglasses. That’s what you do when you get old if you’re a rock star.”

NPR’s Bob Boilen calls the performance “surely my musical highlight for 2022” and adds that the group arrived at the office early “to test out several tunes and figure out just what made sense behind my desk — minus the volume and effects that shape the album’s sonic landscape. For roughly 90 minutes, the Tiny Desk crew was treated to a casual rehearsal, witnessing the band’s creative companionship work itself out.”

Ahead of its Los Angeles tour finale late last month, the Smile released an EP of its performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July. An accompanying video included the new song “Bending Hectic,” one of several the group unveiled over the course of its 2022 roadwork.

The Smile has yet to announce any activity for 2023. Meanwhile, Radiohead remains dormant and has not performed live since August 2018. Its most recent album, A Moon Shaped Pool, was released in 2016.