(11.14) We have the Covid lockdown to thank for new British band, the Smile. Like so many bored and frustrated musicians around the world, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke recruited a drummer, Tom Skinner of Sons of Kemet, and started noodling around. The trio began performing around London, and last May, released an album, “A Light for Attracting Attention.” The Smile will be making its American debut this Monday at The Vets Auditorium.
Composer Jonny Greenwood’s remarkable talents have been in great demand by film directors for well over the past decade. The New Yorker interviewed him last December:
Wider audiences became aware of Greenwood’s singular voice in 2007, with the release of Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood.” The smoldering cluster harmonies of “Popcorn Superhet Receiver” unfurled during the almost wordless sequence in which Daniel Day-Lewis’s character prospects for oil. More collaborations with Anderson followed—“The Master,” “Inherent Vice,” “Phantom Thread”—alongside scores for films by Lynne Ramsay and Tran Anh Hung.
Yorke and Greenwood were also part of the Venus in Furs “super group cover band” assembled for the excellent 1998 “Velvet Goldmine” soundtrack (Michael Stipe, producer). Made-up rock songs and covers for movies are usually as terrible as the actors’ wigs; this is the unique exception. One music writer agrees: “Velvet Goldmine’s soundtrack is both a beast and hidden gem amongst other, more-discussed film soundtracks.”
More recently, their concern for the environment brought Yorke and Greenwood into a collaboration with Hans Zimmer on a song for David Attenborough’s “Blue Planet II.”
Monday night’s show runs 2.5 hours, with intermission. Robert Stillman in support. No cameras allowed. Children under 6 years of age not permitted. Pitchfork reviewed the album.