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Radiohead side-project The Smile debut new material – and pedalboards – in surprise rehearsal livestream

The Smile
(Image credit: The Smile/Instagram)

The Smile, the new project composed of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke and drummer Tom Skinner, unexpectedly livestreamed their rehearsal yesterday (December 2), offering a glimpse into their latest material and guitar rigs.

Footage of the stream has been uploaded to YouTube (thank you, identikit), and showcases three songs, Look at All the Pretty Lights, Free in the Knowledge and You Will Never Work in Television Again.

Jonny Greenwood can be seen playing a Fender P-Bass throughout the stream, even deploying his trademark violin bow on the instrument.

The footage also offers a glimpse at Greenwood’s pedalboard, which has hardly changed over the decades, but now offers a number of fresh additions for the new project.

Our ageing eyes spotted an Electro-Harmonix Freeze and Nano POG, off-’board Strymon TimeLine, and what looks to be an Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer.

Otherwise, most of Greenwood’s staples are present and correct, including the Boss OD-3, EHX Small Stone, Akai Head Rush and Boss RE-20. We can’t quite spy the Marshall Shredmaster, though.

Another camera angle also offers a look at Thom Yorke’s pedalboard, which is a) gargantuan, and b) slightly harder to discern.

We can make out multiple Boss RE-20s, a Line 6 DL4, EHX Nano POG, Death By Audio Echo Dream 2, MXR Distortion+, TC Electronic Ditto X4, plus an EarthQuaker Devices Rainbow Machine and Astral Destiny. But don’t quote us on those.

There’s also Yorke’s long-favored Telenordia Kompressor and Treble Booster. As for the rest, answers on a postcard, please.

Guitars-wise, Yorke leans on his Bigsby-equipped Epiphone Casino, while Greenwood has a blonde Telecaster and Les Paul Goldtop waiting in the wings, as well as the aforementioned Precision Bass.

As for the material itself, we’re getting strong indie-rock/Sonic Youth vibes, harking back to Radiohead’s guitar-driven roots.

The Smile made their official debut at Glastonbury earlier this year, and in interviews since the performance, Greenwood has indicated their debut album is “just about finished”. Hopefully last night’s livestream means we don’t have too much longer to wait.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.