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Everything You Need to Know About Thom Yorke’s New Recording Project

The Radiohead frontman is giving us something to smile about.

by Jeevin Johal

There are two kinds of Radiohead fans: those who prefer “old Radiohead” for their easily digestible breed of guitar-driven rock and sad sap balladry, or those who obsessively gush over the more abstract and experimental soundscapes of their later work. Both groups are essentially split by what came before and after OK Computer. But now, with Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood’s new project, The Smile, the two collectives finally have a reason to harmoniously rejoice. 

Here are five things that will give any Radiohead fan a reason to smile.

A Seemingly Uncharacteristic Name

Seems an odd choice to name the band after such a cheerful expression given the themes of impending doom that often surround their music. But, don’t fret! Inspired by a Ted Hughes poem of the same title, Yorke made sure to explain that it’s, “not the smile as in ‘ahh’, more the smile of the guy who lies to you every day.” Phewf! Just when you may have thought the guys were going soft on us.

Oxford Boys

It’s no secret these English blokes spent their youth consuming the tunes of the time, from the Smiths to New Order. Bands whose songs Radiohead have covered on more than one occasion. And after listening to the first single, “You Will Never Work in Television Again,” it’s clear they’re feeling a tad nostalgic, borrowing janky guitars and steady beats from their post-punk forefathers while adding a twist of hypnotic charm. 

Real Drums?!

It’s a running joke in Radiohead lore that despite often touring with two drummers, their recordings rely heavily on the blips and bloops of programmed beats. This time around it appears that Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner will be playing a pivotal role in the band’s three-piece lineup, adding a definitive punch to their math rock vibes. A departure in style from his usual gig in the more freestyle, Shabaka Hutchings-led jazz group. 

Where’s the Special Edition Boxset?

Radiohead is known for their elaborate boxsets, vinyls, and merch, but there’s actually no news on how or if the trio will be releasing any physical copies. However, we can assume given their track record of unleashing elaborate collector’s items, there will be something the Radiohead sleuths out there can get their sanitized hands on. And if we’re lucky, the package will contain original artwork from Yorke’s alter ego, Dr. Tchock and frequent collaborator Stanley Donwood. 

In The Flesh

The coffee will be flowing as The Smile plans to broadcast three livestreams on so that people in Europe, the Americas and Asia, can all snag a front row seat, no matter what the timezone. Shot “in the round,” these streams will also feature a cinematic element by award-winning director, Paul Dugdale and will be produced by Driift.

The show times are as follows: 

BROADCAST #1: London – 8pm Sat. / New York – 3pm Sat. / Los Angeles – 12pm Sat. / Sydney – 7am Sun. / Tokyo – 5am Sun.

BROADCAST #2: London – 1am Sun. / New York – 8pm Sat. / Los Angeles – 5pm Sat. / Sydney – 12pm Sun. / Tokyo – 10am Sun. 

BROADCAST #3: London – 11am Sun. / New York – 6am Sun. / Los Angeles – 3am Sun. / Sydney – 10pm Sun. / Tokyo – 8pm Sun.

All three Broadcasts will also be available to ticketholders as unlimited on-demand replays for 48 hours. Grab your virtual ticket here