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Philip Selway: Tiny Desk Concert

Philip Selway knows how to surround himself with talent. Best known as Radiohead's longtime drummer, Selway also presides over richly rewarding collaborations on his gorgeous, ruminative solo records.

For his Tiny Desk concert, Selway brought in a fresh group of high-octane partners in the form of former Antibalas drummer Chris Vatalaro — "There is absolutely no way I am playing drums in front of Chris, ever," Selway said as he introduced the band — as well as four members of the brilliant American Contemporary Music Ensemble. (A similar ACME lineup graced the Tiny Desk with Max Richter in early 2020, in case you feel like revisiting it and having a li'l cry.)

For his part, Selway performed three songs from this year's Strange Dance — his first solo project in nearly nine years — with a mix of deep warmth and wry, self-effacing modesty. It's an approach that suits his kind, lived-in songs, which echo everyone from Nick Drake to, in their gentlest moments, bands like Pink Floyd and The Kinks.


  • "The Heart Of It All"
  • "Picking Up Pieces"
  • "There'll Be Better Days"


  • Philip Selway: vocals, piano, guitar
  • Chris Vatalaro: drums, bass, vocals

American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME)

  • Clarice Jensen: artistic director, cello, vocals
  • Ben Russell: violin, vocals
  • Laura Lutzke: violin, vocals
  • Kal Sugatski: viola, vocals


  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Director/Editor: Maia Stern
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter 
  • Videographers: Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Catie Dull 
  • Audio Assistant: Hannah Gluvna
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Michael Zamora
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Hazel Cills, Kara Frame 
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a host, writer and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist and guest host on All Songs Considered. Thompson also co-hosts the daily NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created with NPR's Linda Holmes in 2010. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)