Daughter first popped up on our radar when we heard the London band's song "Landfill" while preparing for SXSW early last year: Achingly pretty and melancholy, the track builds to an absolute gut-punch of a line — "I want you so much, but I hate your guts" — that conjures a pitch-perfect mix of gloom, desire and hostility. The group has since released a full-length album, this year's lovely If You Leave, but Daughter was kind enough to resuscitate "Landfill" for this stripped-down performance at the Tiny Desk. As you'll see and hear, that aforementioned gut-punch is a recurring specialty for the band: In all three of these sad, searing songs, singer Elena Tonra showcases a remarkable gift for coolly but approachably dishing out weary words that resonate and devastate. --STEPHEN THOMPSON Set List "Youth" "Landfill" "Tomorrow" Credits Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius, Stephen Thompson; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Parker Miles Blohm, Chloe Coleman, Denise DeBelius
Views: 4524749 NPR Music
In the spring of 2013, songwriter and R&B singer Sevyn Streeter released a song called "It Won't Stop," which she's called her "baby." Over the year and change that's followed, the song has sunk into our collective consciousness through commercial radio play and a music video viewed more than 35 million times, and on the recommendation of a growing group of critics and fans. The lyrics are vernacular, warm, unpretentious, while the performance demanded by the music is not for the meek. Away from a studio — and air conditioning — in a New Orleans boxing gym, Streeter executed with muscle and grace. --FRANNIE KELLEY SET LIST "It Won't Stop" CREDITS Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Frannie Kelley; Event Manager: Saidah Blount; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Colin Marshall, Olivia Merrion, Kiana Fitzgerald; Special Thanks: Friday Night Fights Boxing Gym, Mark and Rachel Dibner of the Argus Fund; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann.
Views: 339571 NPR Music
June 4, 2018 | Bobby Carter -- Daniel Caesar and his band had a clear vision for their Tiny Desk performance. While already confined to a small space, they opted to congregate at the piano, where producer and music director Matthew Burnett sat to create what feels like a fly-on-the-wall moment. We're presented a purity that's nearly impossible to capture on an album. The success of Caesar's debut LP, Freudian, has created a groundswell of fanfare and exposure for the 23-year-old singer-songwriter. It was nominated for two Grammys and won two Junos (Canada's equivalent to the Grammys). We've seen him perform on Late Night with Seth Meyers, pop stars are serenading him with his own songs and his set at this year's Coachella festival was one of the most buzzed about (behind the queen Bey, of course). Caesar's is an organic ascent that's yet to reach its peak. Caesar carries a coy aura about him, until he opens his mouth to sing. The years of training in church, fused with natural talent, is on full display. Supporting vocalists Camille Harrison, Danah Berry and Nevon Sinclair are in tow for the whole ride, providing some of the richest harmonies we've heard at the Tiny Desk. I found myself fixated on the playful manner in which the band members interacted with each other. Caesar didn't hold back with the set list. He performed his three most-streamed songs (a combined 249,000,000 plays on Spotify alone), including "Best Part," which included a Tiny Desk guest appearance by NPR Music favorite H.E.R. Set List "Japanese Denim" "Get You" "Best Part (feat. H.E.R.)" MUSICIANS Gabriella Wilson (H.E.R.), Ashton Simmonds (Daniel Caesar), Adrien Bent (Drums), Saya Gray (Bass), Matthew Burnett (Piano), Nevon Sinclair (Vocals), Danah Berry (Vocals), Camille Harrison (Vocals) CREDITS Producers: Bobby Carter, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, CJ Riculan, Kara Frame; Photo: Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR.
Views: 6133542 NPR Music
Oct. 30, 2017 | Abby O'Neill -- Can you believe it? Yes, those are The Roots packed behind the Tiny Desk. Black Thought, Questlove and the crew carved out a few hours in their hectic Tonight Show schedule to visit NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. Why travel four hours for a 12-minute concert when you own the late-night airwaves? The answer can be found in the lyrics to The Roots' new song, "It Ain't Fair." Armed with the incredible vocalist Bilal, The Roots performed the signature track from Detroit, a film about the race riots in 1967. "It Ain't Fair" glares unflinchingly, takes a knee and raises a fist against the societal construct that has systematically denied equality of experience to those "presumed inferior," to quote one of Bilal's verses. And it achieves all this while covering its heart with its right hand. This reflective hymn tenderly yanks your heart strings and offers a window into the ethos of those who would like to stand for the flag but cannot in good principle, lest these same evils continue to exist. Those lucky enough to be in the Tiny Desk audience witnessed masters at work. Black Thought is truly one of the most intelligent emcees ever, and his razor-sharp lyricism was on full display. Questlove, a musical and cultural historian nonpareil, was both a metronomical and moral anchor. It felt like the culmination of decades of academic rigor and boom-bap sessions, fittingly backed by a seven-piece horn section. Bilal's falsetto-laced vocals and warm resonance evoked powerful messaging reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield's "Don't Worry," delivered with the eccentricity of Prince. Late last year, Common premiered "Letter to the Free" at the Tiny Desk and later won an Emmy for the song. It wouldn't surprise me if "It Ain't Fair" becomes another award-winning performance when the Oscars roll around early next year. This is a song that deserves to be heard in the millions of households that watch The Roots every night. Set List "It Ain't Fair" MUSICIANS Curtis L. Jones Jr (Trombone), Arnetta Johnson (Trumpet), Hiruy E. Tirfe (Sax), Richard L. Tate II (Sax), Joseph Streater (Trumpet), Norman J. Bradshaw (Trombone), Damon Bryson (Sousaphone), Ahmir (Questlove) Thompson (Drums), Tarik (Black Thought) Trotter (Emcee), Bilal Oliver (Vocals) CREDITS Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Alyse Young; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.
Views: 8395343 NPR Music
October 02, 2015 by SURAYA MOHAMED In 2012, my kids introduced me to Lianne La Havas' debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough? One play and I was hooked; I've been a fan ever since. Her music works for any activity, any emotion. The first time I saw La Havas live, I was unprepared for the experience: Her music touched my heart in a way I'd never experienced before. I cried through the entire performance. Her music was that powerful, with lyrics woven together with beautiful harmonies; it pulled emotions out of me I didn't even know existed. La Havas is soulful yet playful, raw and vulnerable in a commanding kind of way, and her new second album, Blood, is as amazing as the first. In this Tiny Desk performance, she plays two new songs — "What You Don't Do" and "Unstoppable" — as well as "Forget," from her first album. She and her talented collaborators, James Wyatt on piano and Frida Mariama Touray on backing vocals, rehearsed this special arrangement during the sound check just moments before the performance. It's wonderfully intimate, with just guitar accompanied by vocals that embellish without getting in the way. If you're like me, you will never get enough. Blood is available now. iTunes:https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/blood/id986317401 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Lianne-La-Havas/dp/B00X6X3QWC Set List "What You Don't Do" 00:00 "Unstoppable" 04:00 "Forget" 08:41 Credits Producers: Suraya Mohomed, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Nick Michael, Julia Reihs; Production Assistant: Kate Drozynski; photo by Jun Tsuboike/NPR For more Tiny Desk Concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 11602571 NPR Music
August 15, 2016 by BOBBY CARTER • Good luck trying to classify Anderson .Paak and his band The Free Nationals. Much of their sound is layered atop a soulful hip-hop foundation; from there, your safest bet is to call it a hodgepodge of genres in the best way possible. Guitarist Jose Rios and bassist Kelsey Gonzalez inject a hard-rock edge into the Hi-Tek-produced "Come Down," this set's opening number. When you hear them play the first few jazz chords of "Heart Don't Stand A Chance," it's hard to simply call this R&B. It's been a slow build for .Paak, who released a few mixtapes before his 2014 debut album Venice. This year has marked his official breakout with Malibu, on which he did what so many in his position fail to do: He capitalized. After bursting into the spotlight with his appearances on Dr. Dre's Compton LP, he immediately prepped the release of Malibu. The album sculpted an entirely new lane for Anderson .Paak. He can rhyme with best of 'em, and his vocal styling, reminiscent of '70s and '80s greats, is invigorating when set against today's tender R&B elite. Before all that, he's a drummer-slash-bandleader. I've experienced three separate presentations of this band. First, there's the recorded version, on which .Paak collaborates with some of hip-hop's finest producers. Then, their tight stage show hits you in the chest with 90-plus minutes of pure energy. In the midst of a whirlwind tour, they stopped by the Tiny Desk and reworked three cuts from Malibu, along with an audience request that shocked even them. They stripped down and pulled back just enough to fill the room. Malibu is available now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/malibu/id1065681363?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Malibu-Anderson-Paak/dp/B0192ZU8TG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471013450&sr=8-1&keywords=Anderson+.Paak+malibu+Music Set List: "Come Down" "Heart Don't Stand A Chance" "Put Me Thru" "Suede" Credits: Producers: Abby O'Neill, Bobby Carter, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Claire Hannah Collins, Nickolai Hammar; Production Assistant: Sophie Kemp; Photo: Cameron Robert/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 34595745 NPR Music
Sept. 27, 2017 | Abby O'Neill -- Reggae has long been the most vivid musical escape for me. Its soul-cleansing riddims always feel familiar and cozy, like rushing into your lover's arms after a significant time away. This is especially true for roots reggae, whose staccato guitar licks, billowing bass, and sonic splashes on a canvas of negative space, are like salve for the soul. The mid-tempo pulse varnishes heads with Kool-Aid grins and daydreams of living beachside amid nature's unrestricted beauty. Given all that, you can understand why I've been obsessed with Chronixx lately. At a time when dancehall has been dominating the Jamaican soundscape, its refreshing to hear the man born Jamar McNaughton carrying the roots-revival torch for a younger generation and expanding upon the footprint left by his world-renowned predecessors. Chronixx and his band Zincfence Redemption paid a long-awaited visit to the Tiny Desk to perform three songs from his sophomore album, Chronology. Set List: "Skankin' Sweet" "Majesty" "Spanish Town Rocking" Musicians: Jamar McNaughton "Chronixx" (vocals); Evan Mason (keys); Stephen Coore (guitar); N'Namdi Robinson (guitar); Hector Lewis (percussion); Adrian Henry (bass); Oliver Thompson (drums) Credits: Producers: Abby O'Neill, Niki Walker, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Tsering Bista, Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri; Production Assistant: Jenna Li; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 2395186 NPR Music
March 4, 2016 by FELIX CONTRERAS Monsieur Periné hails from Colombia, a country known for its Afro-Colombian cumbia, as well as New York-style salsa. Instead, however, the band has embraced 1920s-era, guitar-driven jazz from the U.S. The unlikely inspiration has resulted in a large and international following, as well as a Latin Grammy not too long ago: Monsieur Periné was named 2015's Best New Artist. Words don't do this band justice. Play the video and discover Monsieur Periné's magic for yourself. Caja De Música is available now iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/caja-de-musica/id1000830433 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Caja-De-Musica-MONSIEUR-PERINE/dp/B00YJKH3AM Set List: "Nuestra Canción" "Sabor A Mi" "La Muerte" Credits: Producers: Felix Contreras, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Colin Marshall, Kara Frame; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Brandon Chew/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 4064825 NPR Music
June 11, 2018 | Sidney Madden -- It's a good thing the weather was gloomy the day Jorja Smith rolled in for her Tiny Desk concert. Even though the skies threatened rain and thunder, the overcast light lingering in our dimmed office space allowed the teardrop pendant lights, hung from the ceiling by her lighting team, to cast the desk in a warm, honey-hued glow. And while the nimble guitar strings and double-time drums of her supporting band was enough to dizzy the focus in the room, it was the U.K. singer's slow, silky cadence that anchored the performance in tranquility. As Smith worked her way up the scales to each high note in "On My Mind" (a track usually sung over a reverberated garage beat) and "Teenage Fantasy" (a ballad to love lost written when she was 16), there wasn't an ounce of pressure evident in her face or body language. When she closed her eyes to deliver the rap verse of "Blue Lights," the anti-injustice song that first positioned her as a SoundCloud darling in 2016, a hush fell over the room in awe of her precision. Though Smith's boldface collaborations to date range from Drake to Kali Uchis, her debut album Lost & Found is free of featured acts. Much like this Tiny Desk performance, those 12 tracks show off Smith's talent in a minimalist way — musing about life and love with the ambiguity and sense of agency that only comes with newfound freedom. After she finished, but before retreating to the comfort of Supreme sweats, Smith and her band bestowed the Tiny Desk with a blue lava lamp signed by every member. Keep an eye out for that Easter egg in future episodes. Set List "On My Mind" "Teenage Fantasy" "Blue Lights" MUSICIANS Jorja Smith, Femi Koleoso, Benjamin Totten, Mutale Chashi, Amane Suganami CREDITS Producers: Sidney Madden, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Beck Harlan, Bronson Arcuri; Lighting: Tyler C. Trofatter; Production Assistant: Bobby Carter; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
Views: 9890803 NPR Music
The first thing you might notice about this video is the change in surroundings: NPR recently moved to a new building, and though we worked to make the Tiny Desk as visually similar as possible to the old space — a process we recently documented with the help of OK Go — the ceilings are higher, the square footage more generous and the surfaces lavishly unsullied. The visuals will surely evolve in the months and years to come, as more tchotchkes and coffee stains accumulate on, around and behind Bob Boilen's desk. In the days leading up to this hotly anticipated performance by The National — recorded at the obscenely early time (for touring bands anyway) of 10:30 in the morning — we'd gotten word that the group would strip its sound way down for the occasion, sticking to two acoustic guitars and a bit of hand percussion. What we got instead was a fully fleshed-out septet, complete with horns and piano; the band showed up at 9:30 to rehearse and sound-check. Though singer Matt Berninger had barely rested his voice from a show in the area the night before, The National dutifully performed gorgeous acoustic renditions of four tracks from its fine new album, Trouble Will Find Me. Its members even treated the hundreds of worshipful gawkers to Building 2.0's first-ever Tiny Desk encore, in response to a roar of applause that could be heard in the far reaches of the newsroom downstairs. Here's to many more. --STEPHEN THOMPSON Set List "This Is The Last Time" "I Need My Girl" "Pink Rabbits" "Sea Of Love" Credits Producer: Bob Boilen; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Kainaz Amaria, Parker Blohm, Denise DeBelius,Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; photo by Hayley Bartels/NPR
Views: 3349412 NPR Music
Beirut arrived at the NPR Music offices dusty and exhausted following a weekend at Bonnaroo in Tennessee. But after some much-needed showers, the band brought infectious joy to its short set behind the Tiny Desk. Set List: "East Harlem" "Sante Fe" "Serbian Cocek" For more videos and to subscribe to the Tiny Desk Concerts podcast, visit npr.org/tinydeskconcerts.
Views: 2429845 NPR Music
Oct. 27, 2017 | Felix Contreras -- Natalia Lafourcade is a successful singer-songwriter whose voice and music live on the edge of pop, but maintain a distinct independence. A few years ago, while Lafourcade was traveling Brazil, she felt a great nostalgia for her native Mexico and its folk music. When she finally returned home, she immediately called some friends for the kind of party that is ubiquitous in Latin America: lots of social drinking, lots of food and lots of guitars and singing. Classic folk songs were on the playlist and a good time was had by all. Someone recorded the informal jam session and Lafourcade's management team heard the tapes. "This is your next record!" they told her. That record, Musas: Un Homenaje al Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de los Macorinos, Vol. 1, was a commercial and critical hit, and received a Latin Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. It only made sense for Lafourcade to bring her Musas tour to the Tiny Desk. The performances are an ode to a magical time in Mexican popular music, one that is revived with every note this singer and her band perform. One important historical note: The two older gentlemen on the video are Juan Carlos Allende and Miguel Peña, two revered musicians who played with the iconic ranchera singer Chavela Vargas. Set List "Soledad y el Mar" "Mi Tierra Veracruzana" "Tú Sí Sabes Quererme" MUSICIANS Natalia Lafourcade (vocals), Ernesto Anaya (traditional Mexican guitar), Uriel Herrera (drums), Jorge Molina (double bass), Juan Carlos Allende [Los Macorinos] (acoustic guitar), Bernardo Ruiz (electric guitar) CREDITS Producers:Felix Contreras, Bronson Arcuri; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith, Tsering Bista, Maia Stern; Production Assistant: Jenna Li; Photo: Liam James Doyle/NPR For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.
Views: 7630847 NPR Music
June 1, 2018 | Bobby Carter -- I learned a few things while watching Tom Misch perform at the Tiny Desk that should've been obvious to a longtime fan like me: He produces beats with a live audience in mind. As much as his drums slap, guitar is the foundation for most of his songs and he showcases a burgeoning talent on the instrument throughout his set. I first caught wind of this UK wunderkind in 2014. Crafting his own instrumental projects and remixing tracks by artists ranging from Busta Rhymes to Lianne La Havas, Misch steadily garnered a dedicated following on SoundCloud. From there, he collaborated with other London artists and released EPs of original music on the platform. Misch's style doesn't revel in what's going on in pop music today; like a handful of other artists from the UK, his interpretation of hip-hop and R&B is a continuation of what the greats who came before him started. A healthy dose of that inspiration is drawn from the late J. Dilla, while Misch's up-tempo dance numbers align him with the Kaytranadas of the world. In 2016, Misch — still just 21 years old at the time — decided to dabble more in songwriting and explore that soothing timbre of his voice on Reverie, and all of a sudden, his potential rose exponentially. Misch and the band arrived bright and early to get situated behind the Tiny Desk and rehearse. Misch has said before that he isn't a jazz purist intrinsically, but the way he opens up a guitar solo or jams with saxophonist Braxton Cook, jazz music certainly runs through him. If you haven't heard of Tom Misch before this performance, now's a good time to catch up. Check out his breakthrough album, Geography, as well as his earlier collaborations, then come back and watch his Tiny Desk again for a true appreciation of his growth as an artist. SET LIST "It Runs Through Me" "I Wish" "Movie" MUSICIANS Tom Misch (guitar/vocals), Tobias Tripp (guitar/violin/vocals), James Creswick (bass), Jamie Houghton (drums), Joseph Price (keys), Braxton Cook (saxophone) CREDITS Producers: Sidney Madden, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Beck Harlan; Production Assistant: Stefanie Fernández; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
Views: 6016942 NPR Music
Aug. 6, 2018 | Bobby Carter -- There was a shift in Mac Miller's boisterous demeanor as he started the third of his three-song Tiny Desk set. It's the first time he's performed tracks from his new album, Swimming, in front of an audience. On "2009," he rubbed his chin with clinched eyes, looking like a young man who's beginning to crack the code. Backed by a piano loop and a string quartet, he reflected on his journey's peaks and valleys thus far. I ain't asking why no more I know I'll take it if it's mine I don't stay inside the lines It ain't 2009 no more Yeah, I know what's behind that door With nearly a decade under his belt at 26 years old, these words ring like an artist twice his age. We were introduced to Mac Miller via 2011's XXL Freshman Class, which featured a special crop of MCs such as Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and YG, all of whom are now considered in the upper echelon of hip-hop. After his big splash, he's been able to find a groove and consistently release quality rap records, ultimately keeping his name in the conversation with the other young greats. His 2011 album, Blue Slide Park, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the first independently distributed debut album to do so since 1995's Dogg Food by Tha Dogg Pound. These consecutive triumphs amassed plenty of fame, fortune and insurmountable obstacles, causing a stumble here and there. Throughout the years, however, Mac has brushed himself off and put it in the music. For this performance, Mac Miller invited frequent collaborator Thundercat, who graced the Tiny Desk last year and will join Mac on tour this fall. Thundercat put on a dazzling shaker routine and played the deep centerpiece bass line on "What's The Use?" These Swimming iterations don't veer far away from the recorded versions, but here, his lyrics seem easier to interpret under live instrumentation. Set List "Small Worlds" "What's the Use? (Feat. Thundercat)" "2009" Musicians Mac Miller (Vocals), Thundercat (Bass), Justus West (Guitar), Klynik (Keys), Joe Cleveland (Bass), Kendall Lewis (Drums), Robin Fay-Massie (Violin), YaShauna Swan (2nd Violin), Lelia Walker (Viola), Melanie Hsu (Cello) Credits Producers: Bobby Carter, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Beck Harlan, Khun Minn Ohn; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
Views: 19936294 NPR Music
As a gaggle of videographers, musicians, industry types and hangers-on stepped gingerly through tall brush to enter a dilapidated section of Fort Adams in Newport, R.I., you couldn't blame us for feeling like unwitting participants in a horror movie. Standing amid hundred-year-old rubble as the 2011 Newport Folk Festival clattered merrily in the distance, we were either going to capture two breathtaking minutes of music or get eviscerated by maniacs as part of The Newport Witch Project. Thankfully, we made it out with the footage you see above. Like a ray gun that shoots weaponized gorgeousness, the Vermont trio Mountain Man fit an awful lot of moony harmonies into this all-too-brief performance of "Sewee Sewee." As a self-explanatorily named group called The Seeger Clogging Allstars clomped away behind them, Mountain Man's three members — Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath — sang and stared sweetly into each other's faces. If the scene above once seemed destined to devolve into a grisly horror movie, at least we had a choir of angels on hand to escort us into the afterlife. See more Field Recordings: http://www.npr.org/series/144918893/field-recordings Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Mike Katzif Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait Special Thanks to: Stephen Thompson Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins.
Views: 290123 NPR Music
In a Manhattan studio, some of the musicians behind Planetarium play the album's beautiful closing track. By Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey Early on a spring morning in Manhattan, Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Nadia Sirota gathered at Reservoir Studios in Manhattan to play a song first performed five years ago and an ocean away. "Mercury" is the closing track off Planetarium, a song cycle about the planets by Stevens, Dessner, Muhly and James McAlister. The work was originally composed on commission for the Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, and first performed there in 2012. Five turns around the sun later, Planetarium will arrive in recorded form on June 9 via 4AD. "Mercury" is one of the most intimate songs on the record, a quality that's emphasized by its spot just after the 15-minute, ambient, electronic epic, "Earth." Where the record's other songs foreground synthesizers and spastic electric drum samples reminiscent of 2010's The Age of Adz, "Mercury" largely rests on Muhly's gentle piano work and Stevens' beautiful vocal. Where once, in the original live performances, the song swelled to a cinematic rush on the order of Illinois, it's now spare and elegant. Its warm intimacy is all the more apparent in the group's live performance, which features Dessner of The National lightly doubling on guitar Stevens' wordless refrain at the song's close. Like many of the pieces on the record, its lyrics are a constellation of the cosmic, the personal and the mythological. The song, named for the messenger god, is a perfect musical setting for the feeling of having something dear carried away from you. "All that I've known to be of life / and I am gentle," Stevens sings. "You ran off with it all." "Life is so abundant here, and yet we're so obsessed with the exterior of here," Stevens told All Songs Considered's Bob Boilen in a companion interview. "That's what's so interesting, there's a sort of beautiful, perfect order to life on earth that's so mysterious and so profound. And yet, as people, we really fuck it up. We're so dysfunctional. And we seek guidance from the exterior world — from the heavens — to help us understand our purpose here, and to sort of create a sense of order." Credits: Producers: Bob Boilen, Ben Naddaff-Hafrey; Director: Mito Habe-Evans; Editor: Nickolai Hammar; Violist: Nadia Sirota; Audio Engineering: Daniel Availa, Fritz Myers, Josh Rogosin, James Yost; Videographers: Annabel Edwards, Mito Habe-Evans, Nickolai Hammar; Series Producer: Mito Habe-Evans; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins; Special Thanks: St. Rose Music, Mark and Rachel Dibner of the Argus Fund;
Views: 600385 NPR Music
Bob Boilen | October 28, 2016 - My first experience seeing Joseph was in 2014 as an opening act in New York City. It was just the twins Meegan and Allison Closner and their older sister, Natalie Closner, and it was clear then they had something special. Over these two years, Joseph's sound has grown beyond the Closners' harmonies. Now, you're likely to see them with a band or hear songs from their latest record, which is filled with sounds far beyond voice and acoustic guitar. It's been a treat to witness Joseph's journey, but I was also fairly thrilled that for their Tiny Desk the sisters stripped it down to their original setup: three voices and one guitar. It's those essentials that will likely remain their strength, and hearing these songs from I'm Alone, No You're Not outside a studio setting felt not necessarily better, but certainly friendlier. Now that this band has 5 million listens (and that's only counting one song on Spotify), my guess is you may have missed this earlier sound. Here's a chance to hear the songs you love the way they could have been. I'm Alone, No You're Not is available now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/im-alone-no-youre-not/id1115881921 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Im-Alone-No-Youre-Not/dp/B01FXSI6BI SET LIST: "White Flag" "I Don't Mind" "Canyon" MUSICIANS: Allison Closner (vocals); Meegan Closner (vocals); Natalie Closner (guitar, vocals). CREDITS: Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Nicole Boliaux; Editor: Nicole Boliaux; Production Assistant: Anna Marketti; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 1223108 NPR Music
May 16, 2018 | Bob Boilen -- It was daylight but the music was dark and moody. And despite having the office lights turned on high, it was Khruangbin's trance-inducing tone that set the mood and carried me away. This trio from Houston, Texas is heavily inspired by 1960s and '70s funk and soul from, of all places, Thailand. That musical passion has taken them on a journey that, these days, incorporates music from Spain, Ethiopia and the Middle East. Khruangbin's largely instrumental music is grounded in Laura Lee's bass, with Mark Speer playing those melodic, richly reverbed guitar sounds and Donald "DJ" Johnson on drums and piano. Two of the three songs performed at this Tiny Desk Concert are from their 2018 album Con Todo El Mundo, which is dedicated in part to Laura Lee's Mexican-American grandfather. He'd often ask her how much she loved him and the response that pleased him most was when she would say, "con todo el mundo," (with all the world.) The third track in this performance is one of the band's first forays into vocals, from their 2015 debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You. "White Gloves" gently pays homage to a "classy lady" who was "a fighter" and who "died in a fight." Its open-ended lyrics could imply a battle that was violent or an illness. It isn't clear. What is clear is the reverence in the song and in this music — music that strays from typical instrumental songs with heavy beats. This is music to sway to and to lift you beyond the day to day. SET LIST "Maria También" "August 10" "White Gloves" CREDITS Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kara Frame, Dani Lyman; Editor: Ben Naddaff-Hafrey; Production Assistant: Joshua Bote; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
Views: 3055300 NPR Music
Young, soulful English singer Jessie Ware has a powerful voice, but it's used with grace. Her singing brings warmth to electronic music and swoon to her own pop, so it's no surprise that her visit to the Tiny Desk was filled with casual poise and spontaneity. Ware's dramatic nightclub shows are fleshed out with a full band, but here she's able to convey all that emotion with just a guitarist (Joe Newman) and that voice. To add to the casual flair of the day, Jesse Boykins III — the opening act on a tour which brought her through Washington, D.C. — came to watch the Tiny Desk, and Ware asked him to sing with her, unrehearsed. That confident ambition seeps right through the screen in this performance. -- BOB BOILEN Set List "Say You Love Me" 0:52 "Wildest Moments" 5:32 "Champagne Kisses" 9:43 Credits Producers: Bob Boilen, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Morgan McCloy, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: Carlos Waters; photo by Carlos Waters/NPR
Views: 1472588 NPR Music
May 31, 2016 by BOB BOILEN • It's been a joy to hear the music of Andrew Bird shift and change. Bird's early music, from the late '90s, was steeped in hot jazz and blues music from the early days of the phonograph, then later shifted to new technologies using loop pedals to layer voice, whistling and violin. His lyrics often have a calculated quality, filled with abundant wordplay and observations. This year, Bird made one of his most personal albums, Are You Serious. So it felt appropriate that he would play some of his most personal work in this most intimate of settings, the Tiny Desk. For this performance of three new songs, Bird came with a stripped-down acoustic band: just drums, upright bass and acoustic guitar, with Bird himself on violin. It functioned something like a hot jazz ensemble, with no effects pedals; just the songs, front and center, sounding perfect. Are You Serious is available now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/are-you-serious/id1079570545 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Are-You-Serious-Andrew-Bird/dp/B01BG0SWIE Set List: "Are You Serious" "Roma Fade'" "Capsized" Credits: Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame, Colin Marshall; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Brandon Chew/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 2283228 NPR Music
Oct. 10, 2018 | Abby O'Neill -- The energy in the room was buoyant and vibrant from the moment they walked in the door. OutKast star Big Boi, Sleepy Brown of the prolific Atlanta production collective Organized Noize, and their eight-member backing band have been working together for 20-plus years, and their chemistry is instantaneous and undeniable. These guys helped redefine the sound and style of hip-hop in the '90s, incorporating funk and psychedelia while transcending genre boundaries. As half of OutKast — still the only rap group ever to take home Album of the Year at the Grammys — Big Boi continues to thrive as a solo act, riding the charts with last year's Boomiverse and its hit single "All Night." Big Boi played that infectious, horn-drenched banger at the Tiny Desk, and book-ended it with two of his best-known OutKast songs: "So Fresh, So Clean" from 2000's Stankonia and "The Way You Move" from 2003's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Along the way, he and his stellar supporting players just keep feeding off each other in a set that's bound to leave you smiling. Personnel Big Boi (lead vocals), Sleepy Brown (vocals), David Brown (guitar), Preston Crump (bass), Omar Phillips (drums), DJ Cutmaster Swift (turntables), Jason Freeman (trumpet), Jerry Freeman (trumpet), Keisha Williams (backing vocals), Terrance "Scar" Smith (backing vocals) Set List "So Fresh, So Clean" "All Night" "The Way You Move" Credits Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Beck Harlan, Maia Stern, Kaylee Domzalski; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Cameron Pollack/NPR
Views: 1201269 NPR Music
Aug. 24, 2018 | Stephen Thompson -- Dermot Kennedy took this assignment seriously. The Dublin singer-songwriter wasn't content with merely re-creating his songs as they sound in the studio, or stripping lavish productions down to simple acoustic arrangements. So he got himself a gospel choir. More specifically, Kennedy and his band flew in from Ireland a day ahead of time to meet and rehearse with members of Washington, D.C.'s Howard Gospel Choir. Every arrangement was painstakingly plotted ahead of time, so that every note would be perfect. Two of the songs Kennedy performs here ("Moments Passed" and "An Evening I Will Not Forget") pop up on an EP he released this year with hip-hop producer Mike Dean, and both sound radically different in this performance. They're still forceful — and still centered on the singer's elastic, bombastic voice — but also looser, warmer, more open. Put simply, they sound like the work of a future star: a modest former busker (and current NPR Slingshot artist) with a voice built to fill stadiums in more ways than one. Set List "Moments Passed" "An Evening I Will Not Forget" "Glory" Personnel Dermot Kennedy (vocals, guitar); Kieran Jones (keyboards/effects); Jonny Coote (piano); Micheál Quinn (drums); Keila Mumphord, Taylor Nevels, Chamille Boyd, Jazmine Thomas (backing vocals) Credits Producers: Stephen Thompson, Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Suraya Mohamed, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Bronson Arcuri, CJ Riculan, Khun Minn Ohn, Niki Walker; Production Assistant: Catherine Zhang; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
Views: 931613 NPR Music
Aug. 15, 2018 | Felix Contreras -- Some folks around the NPR Music office said they felt an almost spiritual connection to Erykah Badu during her visit to the Tiny Desk. And that was before she and her band even played a single note. It came from the waft of earthly scents that followed in her wake, to the flowing dreads and clothes that hung on her like robes. After her self-introduction, which included a rundown of her spiritual and creative aliases, Badu rolled into one of her earliest musical calling cards, "Rimshot." It's an ode to the sound the percussionist makes when a drumstick is struck against the metal edge of the snare drum. On this performance, as on her 1997 album Baduizm, it becomes a device to play with time — stretching it, stopping it, suspending it. Propelled by jazz chords on the piano and the steady pulse of the acoustic bass, the playful performance unfolded in the tradition of the best bebop. But the panoramic song "Green Eyes" is the centerpiece of Badu's Tiny Desk performance. It's wide-ranging in scope and musical arrangement and brilliantly executed by the jazz and hip-hop musicians in her backing band. The story of heartbreak is striking enough, but her interpretation showcases her formidable vocal skills. By the time it was over, we were all just as emotionally and spiritually spent as she was from the experience. Erykah Badu is an artist for the ages. To old-school jazz fans like myself, names like Nina Simone, Betty Carter and Shirley Horn come to mind as much as Billie Holiday because of Badu's singular approach to a lyric. They all cut their own creative path and left behind a legacy that you can identify with just one note. Erykah Badu is on that same path, and one day her name will be mentioned along with the other Elders who share her spirit of musical adventure. Set List "Rimshot" "Green Eyes" Musicians Erykah Badu (lead vocals), RC Williams (Keys), Braylon Lacy (bass), Cleon Edwards (Drums), Frank Moka (Percussion), Kenneth Whalum (Sax), Keyon Harrold (Trumpet), Dwayne Kerr (Flute) Credits Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Khun Minn Ohn, CJ Riculan; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR.
Views: 5621615 NPR Music
June 25, 2018 | Abby O'Neill -- It had been nearly a decade since Rakim released new music, but that drought ended Friday when the godfather of rap lyricism and one half of the revered duo Eric B & Rakim released a new song, "King's Paradise." The track was written for Season 2 of Marvel's Luke Cage, which premiered on Netflix the same day, but it wasn't entirely new to select NPR staff; they heard it days earlier when the God MC performed at the Tiny Desk. The New York rap icon wasn't the only legend in the building that day. Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest — who produced and co-wrote "King's Paradise" with keyboardist Adrian Younge under their new project The Midnight Hour — played bass, and rising blues torchbearer Christone "Kingfish" Ingram sat in on guitar. "King's Paradise" pays homage to the heroes of the Harlem Renaissance as well as its fictional superhero, the bulletproof Luke Cage. Rakim tipped his hat to Philip Payton Jr., Joe Lewis, Lena Horne, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou and Louis Armstrong, before concluding with a few bars about the comic book-inspired series. Younge then led the nine-member backing band through two of Rakim's undeniable classics: "Paid in Full" and "Know the Ledge." For the former, drummer David Henderson rolled right in with the unmistakable breakbeat, — originally sampled from The Soul Searchers "Ashley's Roachclip." Muhammad, who's been playing bass since age 19 despite being known for his production and DJ work, provided the low end for "Know The Ledge." Rakim released his first single 32 years ago, yet the timbre of his voice and Dali Llama aura remain strong. Let's hope this is the beginning of another renaissance. Set List "King's Paradise" "Paid In Full" "Know The Ledge" MUSICIANS Rakim (vocals), Adrian Younge (keys), Ali Shaheed Muhammad (bass), Jack Waterson (guitar), David Henderson (drums), Loren Oden (vocals), Saudia Mills (vocals), Angela Munoz (vocals), Stephanie Yu (violin), Bryan Hernandez-Luch (violin), DeAndre Shaifer (trumpet) , Jordan Pettay (saxophone), Joi Gilliam (vocalist), Christone Ingram (Kingfish) (guitar) CREDITS Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Khun Minn Ohn, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Kara Frame; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
Views: 1812643 NPR Music
April 9, 2018 | Bob Boilen -- It seemed only fitting that when Rhye performed the band's Tiny Desk Concert that it be at night, illuminated by flickering light. The music Mike Milosh sings and writes conjures the evening and a swaying, romantic vibe. It was five years ago nearly to the day that we filmed Rhye by candlelight in New York City as the band toured for its enigmatic album Woman. Mike Milosh requested that Rhye's members be filmed "only in silhouette, with the lights dimmed low" at Le Poisson Rouge show. This time around the hundred or so flickering lights set the tone for the sextet of strings, keyboard, guitar, bass and drums to perform music from 2018's Blood. The sound is warm and velvety, all the instruments gently pulsing, as Mike Milosh softly sings with that high-pitched yearn. Tiny Desk Concerts are often awkward by nature — bands playing in the middle of an office in the daytime for musicians used to playing in the evening, with stage lighting. But there was a special transformation that took place at this Tiny Desk the moment the music kicked in. I'm a sucker for a vibe in music — that feeling when a sound completely shifts the mood of a room. This vibe was more like a house show than an office, which put me in a pensive, pleasant place. Sit back and enjoy. Set List "Please" "Taste" "Song For You" Credits Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri, CJ Riculan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistant: Joshua Bote; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
Views: 1422420 NPR Music
July 2, 2018 | Rodney Carmichael -- Staying true to his own musical vision has always come first for PJ Morton. So when he expressed his desire to squeeze a 10-piece string section behind the Tiny Desk for his three-song performance, we were more than happy to oblige him. Morton showed off the soulful Fender Rhodes chops that helped him earn a mentor in Stevie Wonder and membership to Maroon 5, while backed by percussion, bass and the same Matt Jones Orchestra that accompanies him on his soulful solo releases, Gumbo and Gumbo Unplugged. He began prepping what would become his noteworthy pot of musical stew after moving back home to New Orleans from L.A. a couple of years ago. The preacher's kid with the gospel roots wound up collecting two 2018 Grammy nominations for music from Gumbo, his fourth studio LP. Ironically, those industry accolades came as a direct result of Morton choosing to go his own way. "So many people didn't want me to be myself," he told the Tiny Desk crowd during the intro to "Claustrophobic," a song about the attempts major labels made to box him in. "But I decided I was going to be PJ no matter what people told me and tried to get me to do." They tried some strange things, too. One record exec interested in signing him even suggested pairing Morton with popular West Coast hip-hop producer DJ Mustard. "It was so far off base," he told NPR's Michel Martin last January. Instead, he started his independent music label, Morton Records, with the vision of creating a new Motown in his hometown. New Orleans' musical lineage seasons the entire set of his Tiny Desk performance, including the second song, "Go Thru Your Phone," on which Morton's joined by backing vocalists The Amours. All together, it made for a total of 15 musicians squeezed behind Bob Boilen's desk — not to mention Matt Jones, conducting off-camera. The industry may not have seen the vision, but from where we stood it was a perfect fit. SET LIST "Claustrophobic" "Go Thru Your Phone" "First Began" MUSICIANS PJ Morton(lead vocals/rhodes), Brian Cockerham (bass), Ed Clark (percussion), Matt Jones (Matt Jones Orchestra Conductor), Clayton Penrose-Whitmore (Violin), Arianne Urban (Violin), Olya Prohorova (Violin), Alexandria Hill (Violin), Danielle Taylor (Violin), Istvan Loga (Viola), Caitlin Adamson (Viola), Seth Woods (Cello), Malik Johnson (Cello), Victor Ray Holms (Bass), Jakiya Ayanna (background vocals), Shaina Aisha (background vocals) CREDITS Producers: Rodney Carmichael, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Khun Minn Ohn, Maia Stern, Bronson Arcuri; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
Views: 724477 NPR Music
There's mystery in the music of Alt-J: The band's songs are wrapped in enigmatic textures, with swift shifts in arrangements inside every song and an oddness to the drums. Mere glimpses of lyrics are discernible, even after listening over and over — and if you can decipher the words, the meanings don't necessarily follow immediately. Still, those words reside at the core of Alt-J, and they're cinematic and stunning and sometimes brutal. Seeing Alt-J live in concert — or here at the Tiny Desk — reveals a few of those mysteries, making a band that can be difficult on first listen a bit easier to digest. For one, seeing Joe Newman sing makes his words less oblique; for another, that curious rhythm at the foundation of the songs reveals not a hint of cymbals. And, though the drums are stripped down more than ever at the Tiny Desk, they still provide the essence of an original sound. Thom Green plays mostly with a mounted tambourine and cowbell for the sorts of things a hi-hat would accomplish — that tick tick sound, with the snap of the sound coming from a small-bodied 10" snare called a popcorn snare. The sparseness that happens in the absence of crashing cymbals leaves a lot of space in the music. Alt-J is from Leeds, England — home to another of my favorite art-rock bands, Gang of Four. Both play angular, poetic music that takes unexpected turns, shifting gears when you least expect it. Alt-J made my favorite album of 2012, An Awesome Wave, and if you're new to the group, the understated sound may get lost on you at first. But listen to the words and study how the songs evolve: No one else is making music like this. This is an original, innovative band with a brilliant present and a brighter future. --BOB BOILEN Set List "Tessellate" "Something Good" "Matilda" Credits Producer: Bob Boilen; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineers: Kevin Wait, Suraya Mohamed; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Christopher Parks, Ryan Smith; photo by Lauren Rock/NPR
Views: 3344332 NPR Music
Dec. 12, 2018 | Bobby Carter -- It's been said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. In H.E.R.'s case, you get two. She stunned us as a special guest for Daniel Ceasar's Tiny Desk concert earlier this year, in an appearance that showcased her vocal mastery. That earned her an invite to play again, front-and-center. She attacked her second go 'round with more fervor than the first, highlighting her skills as a multi-instrumentalist, maneuvering between acoustic and electric guitars, then the Fender Rhodes. While H.E.R. stands for "Having Everything Revealed," she's an artist who's built her reputation on a certain degree of anonymity. The cover art for her debut, 2016 EP, H.E.R. Volume 1, shows a woman's silhouette over a blue backdrop. Her visuals never provide the audience a clear shot of her face and her signature accessory for every outfit is a pair of large, dark sunglasses. As fans collectively squinted to get a better view, she delivered more projects. Another EP, H.E.R. Vol 2, came in 2017, followed months later by H.E.R. which combined songs from both volumes with a handful of new songs. The latter earned her five nominations for 2019's Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year and Best New Artist Of The Year. She was born Gabriella Wilson to a Filipino mother and Black father. She first attracted the spotlight as a child prodigy, eventually signing a record contract when she was 14-years old. At 21, she's yet to release her debut LP. There were two standout moments during her Tiny Desk set. One came at the midway point of her biggest hit so far, "Focus." When the instruments dropped out and background vocalists Ajanee Hambrick and Malik Spence chimed in with their lush harmonies, the audience melted. The second came when her focus was interrupted by a charming and sincere expression of gratitude for the Tiny Desk platform. For a split second it appears as though she's about to remove those sunglasses. "Not saying that I'm your favorite artist, but maybe me being here today says a lot." Set List "Going" (Interlude) "Feel A Way" "Hard Place" "Focus" Credits Producers: Bobby Carter, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kaylee Domzalski, Maia Stern, Bronson Arcuri; Editor: Kaylee Domzalski; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Cameron Pollack/NPR
Views: 4502890 NPR Music
Tears and laughter in the span of about 15 minutes — that's what's so astonishing about these Macklemore & Ryan Lewis songs. The first time I heard "Same Love," it brought tears to the eyes of a roomful of people, myself included. The song is about equality, specifically gay rights, with an unambiguous message: "It's human rights for everybody / There is no difference." Then, in a flip of a backing-track beat, Macklemore (a.k.a. Ben Haggerty) sings about wearing a velour jumpsuit and some house slippers, "grandpa style." The contrast in these songs, "Same Love" and "Thrift Shop," makes the levity all that much memorable; as producer, Ryan Lewis is a master at the hook and clever with the melody. But this Tiny Desk Concert didn't end there: The live, sweet, soulful sounds of singer Ray Dalton belting, "Like the ceiling can't hold us" had Macklemore standing on my desk and shaking the dust off the ceiling tiles. Watching this video fills me with that inspirational feeling we shared watching it happen: I'm still cleaning dust around my desk, but it only makes me smile. --BOB BOILEN Set List "Same Love" "Thrift Shop" "Can't Hold Us" Credits Producer: Bob Boilen; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Christopher Parks, Lauren Rock; photo by Lauren Rock/NPR
Views: 3589720 NPR Music
Nov. 19, 2018 | Sidney Madden -- When dvsn visited NPR for this Tiny Desk concert, it reminded me of the first time I saw them two years ago in New York City. They decided to wash the desk in vibrant blue, purple and orange lighting, brought in by dvsn's team to make the space feel like a concert hall. And while the audience at NPR was almost as densely packed as that NYC venue, it felt much like my live introduction to the group — grandiose in presentation, but at the same time, deliberately intimate in delivery. With a four-piece band and three pristine backup vocalists for support, singer Daniel Daley flexed his falsetto pipes and a shiny gold grill, running through a sampler of fan-favorites about breaking up, making up and trying to move on. The short-and-sweet set is an example of the kind of audible acrobatics you don't often hear at contemporary R&B shows anymore. Though it's easy to mistake dvsn as simply the stage moniker of Daley, the act is really a duo comprised of the singer and Grammy Award-winning producer Nineteen85, the (almost) secret weapon behind the boards. Together, the Toronto-based duo has released two albums so far — 2016's Sept. 5th and 2017's Morning After. And on the day of the Tiny Desk concert, while Daley gleamed in the spotlight behind dark shades, Nineteen85 hung back in the audience to, as always, play the role of humble maestro. Set List "Too Deep" "Body Smile" "Mood" Credits Producers: Sidney Madden, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kaylee Domzalski, Bronson Arcuri, Beck Harlan; Editor: Kaylee Domzalski; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Cameron Pollack/NPR
Views: 916961 NPR Music
November 09, 2015 by BOB BOILEN The first time I saw Aurora sing, it appeared so new to her that each note, and each hand gesture accompanying each note, seemed like a discovery and an adventure for the singer. She was 18 when I first saw her in New York City, and now the Norwegian singer is 19; take a look at this Tiny Desk Concert, and her sense of innocence and discovery still rings as true as ever. Aurora has just one EP and some singles out so far, and ever since seeing her at CMJ in 2014, I've been eager for her debut album. Early next year, we should finally have it — as well as more chances to see Aurora live, as she plans on touring the U.S. in the spring. Running With The Wolves is available now. iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/running-with-the-wolves-ep/id987008667 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Running-With-Wolves-Ep-AURORA/dp/B00WTJK47Y Set List "Runaway" "Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)" "Running With The Wolves" Credits Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Brian Jarboe; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Morgan McCloy; Production Assistant: Lani Milton; Photo by Hadas/NPR For more Tiny Desks, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 2240416 NPR Music
April 11, 2018 | Lars Gotrich -- Tyler Childers writes songs about hard lives and hard love with direct heart. You meet these characters — some from his own life, some not — and feel like you know them, but there's always another layer to uncover with each listen, carved by his coarse and soulful Kentucky drawl. In his performance at the Tiny Desk, we meet a miner and the consequences of addiction ("Nose on the Grindstone"), Childers' own in-laws ("This is a song about the first time I got snowed in with my in-laws," he says, expecting a laugh, and giving it a beat. "It's not a blues song, it's a love song"), and the love of his life, "Lady May." Only the closing song comes from last year's Purgatory, his proper debut record, produced by Sturgill Simpson. The others are regular features in Childers' live repertoire for now, but lived in and alive, ready for us to dig deep. SET LIST "Nose on the Grindstone" "22nd Winter" "Lady May" CREDITS Producers: Lars Gotrich, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Dani Lyman; Production Assistant:
Views: 862991 NPR Music
March 28, 2016 by BOBBY CARTER Anthony Hamilton's soul sound was refined in the churches of Charlotte, N.C. Watching the Grammy winner perform, you get the hunch that it's harder for him to keep the soul inside than it is to actually unleash it. What he and his backup singers, The Hamiltones, do would be better classified as a musical purge, with a stage show that can double as couples therapy and church service. Their warm harmonies have the ability to shrink theaters and stadiums, so we knew this intimate setting was perfect for them. Following a spot at the final In Performance show of the Obama presidency, the singer, The Hamiltones and his band made their way over to our offices to give us a dose of what's to come, as well as a heavy helping of what fans have grown to love about him. He opens the set with "Amen" — the debut single from his introspective new album, What I'm Feelin' — and followed it with three songs that have defined his career. What I'm Feelin' is available now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/what-im-feelin/id1087504333 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Im-Feelin-Anthony-Hamilton/dp/B01BIZRGR0 Set List: "Amen" "Best Of Me" "Cool" "Charlene" Credits: Producers: Bobby Carter, Niki Walker; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, Neil Tevault; Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame, Cameron Robert; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Brandon Chew/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 4587469 NPR Music
Aug. 29, 2018 | Rodney Carmichael -- During a career nearly three decades in the making, Tech N9ne has dodged the fickle rap industry while surfing his own wave, stylistically and professionally. The Kansas City native has been a beast for years now, a musical misfit who laid a track record of underground success and struggle before building his own independent empire with Strange Music. "This is how we laugh at all the other rappers," Strange Music comrade Krizz Kaliko says, letting out a belly laugh near the end of duo's Tiny Desk set. Kaliko is another K.C. native and kindred spirit of Tech N9ne's. Together, they've carved out an unorthodox niche: chopper-style speed rap that often plumbs dark, emotional depths. Their playful banter between songs personifies that creative connection, as Krizz delivers backing vocals and guest verses from the soul. Backed by a guitar, drums and bass for their Tiny Desk, the trio brought out the rock-tinged hues of such definitive Tech N9ne songs as "Dysfunctional," "Aw Yeah? (interVENTion)" – dedicated to his mother who died from lupus in 2014 – and "Fragile," originally assisted by Kendrick Lamar, Mayday and Kendall Morgan. To close the set, Tech and Krizz performed "Speedom (Worldwide Choppers 2)," a song inspired by folk rocker Richie Havens' original classic "Freedom." After years traveling his own path, it's a fitting way to define Tech N9ne's wildly independent approach. Set List "Dysfunctional" "Aw Yeah? (interVENTion)" "Fragile" "Speedom (Worldwide Choppers 2)" Credits Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri, CJ Riculan, Maia Stern; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Eric Lee/NPR.
Views: 723245 NPR Music
September 08, 2015 by BOB BOILEN We probably should have shot this Tiny Desk Concert in black-and-white. Listening to Leon Bridges, I hear a sound with its heart and soul rooted in 1962. There's purity in his voice that's unadorned, untouched and unaffected by 21st-century pop. It's just soul. Still, the songs from this 26-year-old Fort Worth singer feel refreshing in the context of the day. Surely there's touches of Sam Cooke's spiritual sound, but Leon Bridges has a way of making the familiar feel adventurous and new. It may be because this is all new to him. He only picked up the guitar around the age of twenty and only began listening to classic soul music after friends told him he sounded like R&B musicians from long ago. What Leon Bridges has tapped into on his debut album with fellow Fort Worth musicians including Austin Jenkins from White Denim is a universal sound, an undeniably heartfelt sound which transcends age, race and musical tastes. He's easy to love and tough to resist and his performance at the Tiny Desk with his fabulous band is a testament to what it means to sing from the heart. Set List "Coming Home" 00:00 "Smooth Sailin'" 04:06 "Twistin' & Groovin'" 07:30 "River" 12:48 Credits Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Colin Marshall, Lani Milton; Assistant Producer: Elena Saavedra Buckley; photo by Lydia Thompson/NPR
Views: 5780492 NPR Music
Sept. 21, 2017 | Bob Boilen -- One look at (and listen to) the cross-dressing, Asian rock band SsingSsing and you would hardly think they're singing music inspired by traditional Korean folk. But SsingSsing isn't like any other band I've ever seen or heard. The group sings a regional folk style called minyo and the gender bending look has to do with shamans not glamour. As singer Hee-moon Lee describes it, "In Korean traditional art, male shamans, called baksu, have the body of a male. But as mediums, they need more than a single sexual identity, because they're channeling both male and female spirits. When I act a female character and sing, I have to overcome the fact of my being a male sorikkun (singer), and try my utmost to bring a more neutral, unisex feeling to the performance. It sounds silly, but I feel like going back to the sensibilities of my youth, when I liked Madonna, helps." The understated music, the small dramatic gestures and the costumes all combine for one of my most memorable Tiny Desk Concerts of all time. Set List "Minyo Medley" "Nanbongga (Song of Beloveds)" "Saseol Nanbongga (Narrative Song of Beloveds)" MUSICIANS Hee-moon Lee (vocal), Da-hye Choo (vocal), Seung-tae Shin (vocal), Young-gyu Jang (bass guitar), Tae-won Lee (electric guitar), and Chul-hee Lee (drums) CREDITS Producers: Bob Boilen, Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Beck Harlan, Kara Frame, Bronson Arcuri; Production Assistant: CJ Riculan; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 3503213 NPR Music
Robin Hilton | July 5, 2017 — Chance The Rapper knew he wanted to try a different approach for his Tiny Desk performance, so he decided to do something he said he hadn't done in a long time. He wrote a poem. More specifically, he wrote a poem in the short time it took him to ride from his hotel in Washington, D.C. to the NPR Music offices. Calling it "The Other Side," Chance debuted it in the middle of his remarkable set, reading from his notes written out in black marker on sheets of typing paper. "I still have all the keys that are of no use to me," he began. "They used to, though. On the other side was a mansion on a hill, complete with L.A. pools and fireplaces and a rim made specifically for people that lie about being six feet to dunk on." Chance didn't get much further before he was interrupted by one of the hazards of performing in an actual, working office: a building-wide page for someone to call the mailroom. But Chance rolled with it, cracking a quick joke before starting over again. The night before arriving for his Tiny Desk set, Chance performed for more than 23,000 people at Jiffy Lube Live, an outdoor theater in Bristow, VA. The sold out arena and amphitheater shows of his current tour offer a stark contrast to the first time I saw Chance in concert back in 2013. Then, he was a 19-year old upstart rapping and singing for a handful of people at a tiny club in Austin, Texas. A lot has changed since then, and quickly. Chance's most recent mix tape, Coloring Book, was widely ranked among the best albums of 2016 (some called it a masterpiece) and featured collaborations with a cast of hip-hop luminaries, from Kanye West to Lil Wayne and T-Pain. Chance's poem "The Other Side" was sandwiched between an opening version of "Juke Jam" from Coloring Book and another special gift just for his Tiny Desk appearance, a moving cover of Stevie Wonder's 1974 song "They Won't Go When I Go." Coloring Book is available now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/coloring-book/id1113239004 Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/71QyofYesSsRMwFOTafnhB Set List "Juke Jam" "They Won't Go When I Go" (written by Stevie Wonder) Musicians Chance The Rapper (vocals); Nico Segal (trumpet); Peter Wilkins (keys); Rachele Robinson (background vocals); Ben Lusher (background vocals); Elliot Skinner (background vocals); Richard Saunders (background vocals); Greg Landfair Jr., aka "Stix" (drums) Credits Producers: Robin Hilton, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Nick Michael, Morgan Noelle Smith, Tsering Bista; PA: Colin Marshall, Jenna Li; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 7061420 NPR Music
Bob Boilen | March 10, 2017 — Out of over 6,000 entries — more submissions than we've ever received — Tank And The Bangas won, unanimously, this year's Tiny Desk Contest. I fully expected their victory performance here at NPR headquarters in D.C. to be celebratory. I didn't know we'd all end up in tears. This band combines R&B with hip-hop's poetry and rollercoaster storytelling, with a flair and alchemy that could only come from New Orleans. Their winning song, "Quick," mixes liquor and revenge — a sort of modern day take on a great folk tale, but peppered with their own idiosyncratic flair and humor. What I couldn't see, until they took over my desk, was the depth of their lyricism and the versatility of their players. At one moment fun-filled funk, the next laid-back jazz, rhythm-driven blues — and it all flows seamlessly. And it's fun to watch: There's a magic kinship between Tarriona "Tank" Ball and Anjelika "Jelly" Joseph as they share singing roles, like two best friends finishing one another's sentences. This is the third year that NPR Music has put out a call in hopes of finding a shining star. I'm still amazed how, after sifting through thousands of videos from abundantly talented musicians, we can find a common winner amongst a range of judges with such different musical backgrounds. But in the end, my All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Miguel, Anthony Hamilton, Ben Hopkins (PWR BTTM), BANKS, and folks who listen to an awful lot of music — NPR member station hosts Rita Houston (WFUV), Talia Schlanger (WXPN), Stas THEE Boss (KEXP) — and myself were all equally charmed, delighted and captivated. And so here it is, a chance to see an artist truly blossoming. It's just the beginning: A few years ago, for our first Contest, Fantastic Negrito won our hearts. This year he won a Grammy. Last year Gaelynn Lea, an unknown violinist, teacher and singer sent a video captured on a phone and won our affection and souls. A few weeks ago, her Tiny Desk Concert had been seen more than a million times. These days she's taken to the road, touring the world. Tank And The Bangas will be hitting the road in April with NPR Music to find their new audience — I'll be along for the ride — visiting many of our member stations with help from those music-loving beer brewers at Lagunitas. I can't wait to see the reaction in these crowds' eyes, as they fill with wonder and tears like ours did, experiencing this band for the first time. Set List "Boxes And Squares" "Quick" "Rollercoasters" Musicians Tarriona Tank Ball (vocals); Jelly Joseph (vocals); Merell Burkett Jr. (keys); Norman Spence II (keys); Joshua Johnson (drums); Jonathan Johnson (bass); Albert Allenback (saxophone) Credits Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Nick Michael, Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith; Production Assistants: A Noah Harrison, Ameeta Ganatra; Photo: Niki Walker/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 7896643 NPR Music
Armed with the summer song of 2011, the band brings "Pumped Up Kicks" and more to NPR Music. Set List: "Houdini" "Helena Beat" "Pumped Up Kicks" For more videos and to subscribe to the Tiny Desk Concerts podcast, visit npr.org/tinydeskconcerts.
Views: 2681106 NPR Music
The genre-bending cellist Yo-Yo Ma heads a dream team of string players -- Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan -- who borrow from bluegrass. The quartet, plus singer Aoife O'Donovan perform three songs from their album The Goat Rodeo Sessions at the NPR Music offices. Set List: "Quarter Chicken Dark" "Attaboy" "Here And Heaven" For more videos and to subscribe to the Tiny Desk Concerts podcast, visit NPR.org/tinydeskconcerts.
Views: 2703933 NPR Music
Mina Tavakoli | February 6, 2017 — Like any good pair of twins, Run the Jewels have a freaky sort of unspoken fraternity. When El-P and Killer Mike strode in with their usual uniforms — Mike in a gold chain as thick as a garter snake, El in a fitted Yankees cap and pair of blue-mirrored sunglasses — the two didn't have to do as much as nod to one another before upending three tracks from their latest LP, RTJ3, in strange and perfect symbiosis. El-P (née El-Producto, née Jaime Meline) — rapper, producer, and all-around godfather of the backpacker scene of the late-90's — and Killer Mike — known for guest features on tracks by Atlanta's Dungeon Family in the early-aughts, solo work in the mid-to-late '00s, and perhaps most widely for his very public support of Senator Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign last year — have out-mused each other in a supergroup that somehow seems to get better, louder, and more pertinent since their start in 2013. They represent an ideal evolution of underground hip-hop to mainstream success, mixing a fundamentally activist animus with IMAX-level production without losing a speck of vital force. On an unseasonably beautiful day in D.C., Run the Jewels was sweaty and sulfuric, ad-libbing with one another in an exchange so slick, easy, and conspiratorial, it felt like we were in on their shared language. Run the Jewels 3 is available now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/run-the-jewels-3/id1186541961 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Run-Jewels-3/dp/B01MRSRJS7 SET LIST "Talk To Me" "Legend Has It" "A Report To The Shareholders" MUSICIANS Killer Mike (vocals); EL-P (vocals); Trackstar the DJ (DJ) CREDITS Producers: Abby O'Neill, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Nick Michael, Morgan Noelle Smith; Production Assistant: A Noah Harrison; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 1818859 NPR Music
by STEPHEN THOMPSON Ben Gibbard has spent so much time at the head of various bands — Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, All-Time Quarterback — that it's easy to forget how well his sweetly brainy songs work in a solo acoustic setting. His melodies are sturdy enough to withstand skeletal arrangements, and though his persona is unassuming by nature, he remains a charismatic and charming live performer. Gibbard just released a solo album, Former Lives, which he's said is a repository for material that didn't work as Death Cab for Cutie songs; from that record, only "Teardrop Windows" pops up in his Tiny Desk Concert. For the rest, he draws from Death Cab's most recent album ("St. Peter's Cathedral," from Codes and Keys) and, of all places, last year's Arthur soundtrack ("When the Sun Goes Down on Your Street"). In all, Gibbard's set makes a fine choice as the 250th Tiny Desk Concert we've published since the series was born nearly five years ago: For all the big, elaborate set-ups we've entertained in the NPR Music offices, it's always nice to return to the series' origins as a place for quiet singer-songwriters to do their thing unadorned, without getting drowned out by other sounds. Even minus a band at his back, Gibbard warrants the undivided attention. Set List "St. Peter's Cathedral" "Teardrop Windows" "When The Sun Goes Down On Your Street" Credits Producer: Bob Boilen; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Christopher Parks; photo by Lauren Rock/NPR
Views: 422079 NPR Music
August 29, 2016 by BOB BOILEN • The power of Big Thief lies in the stunning voice of Adrianne Lenker — as well as the band's intense rhythms, the guitar playing of Buck Meek and, right, the lyrics. Come to think of it, everything this band does serves the muscular warmth of these brilliant songs, which are not only memorable, but meaningful. "Masterpiece" is the first song in this Tiny Desk Concert, as well as Big Thief's best-known tune. It's a song of mortality and walking through life with your friends by your side. In fact, all three of these songs, all from the group's 2016 debut, are about passion, friendship, reflection, life and loved ones — it's music profound and beautiful enough to even work well in a brightly lit office in the middle of the day. Masterpiece is available now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/masterpiece/id1088461177 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Masterpiece-Big-Thief/dp/B01DF4BBU0 Set List: "Masterpiece" "Paul" "Lorraine" Credits: Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Claire Hannah Collins; Production Assistant: Sophie Kemp; Photo: Ruby Wallau/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 1256565 NPR Music
Content advisory: The video above may contain language that is offensive to some. Dec. 11, 2017 | Sidney Madden -- Tyler, The Creator's Tiny Desk performance was a first for many reasons. It was the Los Angeles rapper's first time performing at our offices, but moreover, it was the Tiny Desk's first nighttime performance, a special request from Tyler and his team in order to professionally light the "stage" themselves. Members of Tyler's lighting crew came to the office a day before to set it up, eventually bathing him and his band in shades of fuchsia, orange and blue — one for each song — during the early evening show. Flower Boy, Tyler's latest album, is much like this Tiny Desk performance; a surprising departure from the expected. Four albums in, he has matured as a producer, rapper and human being. Often equated to hip-hop's class clown, the 26-year-old peels back his own mask of immaturity to reveal a young adult grappling with anxiety, fear and uncertainty of self. After he was done, Tyler did something of a modified mic-drop, throwing his tambourine in celebration of what he and his band had accomplished. Always one to stay casually connected with his fans, Tyler made time — nearly an hour after the performance was done —- to pose for photos, sign merch and crack jokes with (and on) everyone around him. Set List "Boredom" "See You Again" "Glitter" MUSICIANS Tyler Okonma (vocals, keys), Jaret Landon (MD/Keys) Dré Pinckney (Bass), Dalton Hodo (Drums), Kaye Fox (background vocals), Kiandra Richardson (background vocals) CREDITS Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Lighting: Max McDougall; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Alyse Young; Production Assistants: Paul Wichmann, Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.
Views: 9276215 NPR Music
April 13, 2018 | Felix Contreras -- Jorge Drexler is a poet with a gift for song. The Uruguayan singer-songwriter, like the iconic Latin American lyricists of the past (Mercedes Sosa, Victor Jara and Silvio Rodriguez, to name just a few), has that rare ability to surround multi-layered prose with music that lends an even deeper resonance to the words. Drexler has his share of fans here in the U.S., mostly Latin American expats and others whose grasp of the language allows them to appreciate the nuances of his storytelling. But, as if often the case with music performed in languages other than English, audiences here sometimes miss out on an emotional connection with artists they would otherwise celebrate if they only knew what they were singing. So, we decided to do something about that with Jorge Drexler's appearance at the Tiny Desk. With the cooperation of the artist, we translated Drexler's thoughtful and playful ruminations on the human condition, and included them as subtitles. Those clever lyrics wouldn't hit as hard if not for Drexler's backing band of magicians. The mix of guitarists and percussionists conjured a stunning cloud of sound that allowed Drexler to take flight, like the existential dreamer that he is. SET LIST "Movimiento" "Silencio" "Asilo" "Telefonia" MUSICIANS Jorge Drexler - Vocals and Guitar Javier Zarember - Guitar and backing vocals Martín Leiton - Leona, guitarrón, bass and backing vocals Carles "Campi" Campon - Electronic beats, acoustic guitar, percussion and backing vocals Borja Barrueta - Drums, percussion and Backing Vocals Martin Cella- Guitar, backing vocals, percussion CREDITS Producers: Felix Contreras, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistants: Joshua Bote, Stefanie Fernández; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
Views: 882663 NPR Music
Throughout her career, punk icon Brody Dalle has embraced her aggressive side. Best known as the lead singer of The Distillers and Spinnerette, Dalle has a sandpaper- and velvet-tinged voice that speaks to rebellious young punks who are curious about the world yet vulnerable to its sharp edges. "I've never understood why there was such a fuss about aggressive women in music," Dalle says. "To me, aggression is a human instinct. ... I've felt provoked for most of my life, especially as a child. I guess I've carried those feelings into my songs." So it was a pleasant surprise that Dalle was open to the challenge of crafting a stripped-down version of her song "Dressed in Dreams." An anthem about getting back up when you've been kicked down, the song is personal to Dalle: After overcoming addiction, she almost immediately faced a brutal bout of postpartum depression. "I had a hard time getting myself up and running before I wrote this record," she says. "I felt worthless. I was embarrassed and lost." Luckily, Dalle was able to use her songwriting as a way to fight back. Earlier this year, she released Diploid Love, her first solo album, and she says she happily embraces her day-to-day life as a working rock mom and wife. As Dalle set up her gear at New York City's Panna II, we noticed the way the chili-pepper strands that covered every surface of the restaurant bathed her in a weirdly fierce yet serene red light. They provide a nice little visual metaphor for the way raging against the darkest points in life can help bring you into the light. --SAIDAH BLOUNT CREDITS Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Saidah Blount, Jacob Ganz; Videographers: Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Mito Habe-Evans, Christopher Parks; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Special Thanks: Panna II; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann
Views: 543795 NPR Music
Sturgill Simpson doesn't fit today's common image of a country singer. When he arrived for his Tiny Desk Concert, the 36-year-old Kentucky native sauntered in sleepy-eyed, wearing jeans, a pair of old canvas tennis shoes, no socks and a well-worn button-down blue shirt, one of only two identical shirts he said he had in rotation while on tour. (He appeared a few nights later on Letterman wearing either the same garment or its twin.) Simpson's songs don't sound like what you'd expect, either: Mostly, it seems, he writes about taking drugs and drinking. Opening his Tiny Desk performance with the seemingly existential meditation "Turtles All The Way Down," Simpson tells the audience it's "about some other stuff, but mostly drugs." He follows that song with "Time After All" ("I wanna roll off the tempo, lay back and get high") and "Life Of Sin" ("Every day I'm smokin' my brain hazy ... I keep drinking myself silly") before closing with "Water In The Well," a tamer, comparatively melancholy reflection on loneliness and failed dreams. Regardless of the themes, Simpson is a force. His acoustic-guitar work in this solo performance is phenomenal, and he possesses a thundering voice that made the NPR offices shudder. "Turtles All The Way Down" and "Life Of Sin" are from this year's incredible Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, while "Time After All" and "Water In The Well" both appear on Simpson's 2013 debut, High Top Mountain. (Get it?) --ROBIN HILTON Set List: "Turtles All The Way Down" "Time After All" "Life Of Sin" "Water In A Well" Credits: Producers: Denise DeBelius, Robin Hilton; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Colin Marshall; photo by Sarah Tilotta/NPR
Views: 3642007 NPR Music
In honor of the fourth-ever Tiny Desk Contest, our intrepid Tiny Desk audio engineer Josh Rogosin goes deep on recording drums. The Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on March 25, 2018, so get those last-minute submissions in to npr.org/tinydeskcontest! Remember: You don't need to have fancy audio equipment to make a great entry — just be yourself, and let your music shine through. Good luck!
Views: 71968 NPR Music
Oct. 1, 2018 | Rodney Carmichael -- Every Tiny Desk is special, but sometimes the stars align and we're treated to an artist just as he's coming into his own. Six months after releasing Care For Me — a sophomore studio LP on which Saba transforms his survivor's guilt into something equal parts traumatic and transcendent — the Chicago native paid a visit to Tiny Desk. His performance at NPR's Washington, D.C. headquarters came just two days after he announced his first tour of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea, scheduled to begin in November. It's an incredible achievement for an independent artist who released one of 2018's best hip-hop albums without the benefit, or creative constraints, that come with major-label backing. To help translate Care For Me live, Saba brought along a band consisting of the same musicians who helped bring his album to life in the studio — including Daoud Anthony and daedaePivot, who produced the entire LP with him; instrumentalists Cheflee and Brandon Farmer; theMIND and Kaina, who contributed vocals on the record; and another featured vocalist and special guest that Saba took extra pride in introducing. "You're not gonna believe me when I say it," he prepped the crowd, turning to the tall man wearing the Saba tee and Panama hat. "This is Chandlar, my father." Fans of the album may be familiar with Saba's references to his dad on the songs "Life" and "Prom / King" — the epic seven-and-a-half minute eulogy to Saba's cousin and Pivot Gang rap collective founding member, John Walt, whose 2017 murder serves as the impetus for Care For Me. But Chandlar is also an accomplished soul singer, songwriter and producer in his own right, as well as one of Saba's earliest musical influences. In a live set that proved to be as resonant as Care, Saba and his band showcased the album's emotional depth and range with stark juxtaposition, like the sound of the bright hook on album closer, "Heaven All Around Me," set against a particularly haunting version of "Life." It's a Tiny Desk testament from an artist whose future feels as promising as his pen. Set List "Busy/Sirens" "Logout" "Heaven All Around Me/Life" Musicians Daoud Anthony, Dylan Frank, Kaina Castillo, Imari Mubarak, Noah Frank, Michael Chandler, Tahj Chandler, Brandon Farmer, Zarif Wilder Credits Producers: Rodney Carmichael, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Beck Harlan, Bronson Arcuri, CJ Riculan; Editor: Kaylee Domzalski; Production Assistants: Ema Sagner, Fernando Gallardo; Photo: Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR
Views: 1124585 NPR Music
February 29, 2016 by BOB BOILEN These four musicians made their first record together a decade ago, but for many of us, 2016 will be the year Lake Street Dive becomes a household name. The appeal of this band of New England Conservatory friends lies in their warmth in harmony and comfortably styled songs — sometimes tilting toward soul, often rocking danceably on a new collection of songs called Side Pony. At first, it may be Rachael Price and her charismatic voice that draws you to this Tiny Desk concert, but it won't take long to see that this isn't just a singer and her backing band. The "two Mikes" (trumpeter and guitarist Mike "McDuck" Olson and drummer Mike Calabrese), along with upright bassist Bridget Kearney, share in the songwriting and singing, and contribute mightily to these creative arrangements. You can hear everyone mesh so well in these three new songs from Side Pony -- songs likely to be favorites for many at year's end. Side Pony is available now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/side-pony/id1056891405 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Side-Pony-Lake-Street-Dive/dp/B0184MPQ54 Set List: "I Don't Care About You" "How Good It Feels" "Godawful Things" Credits: Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Brandon Chew/NPR. For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510292/tiny-desk-concerts-video
Views: 1396796 NPR Music