My dad introduced me to the NPR Tiny Desk Concerts a year or two ago, with a performance by the band Rubblebucket. Essentially, it’s artists ranging from 16-piece groups to solo singers in a tiny space, while NPR Music workers watch from behind the desk. There’s something more personal about them, all those people in such a small space, so today I thought I’d share some of my favorites!
The Oh Hellos
I knew The Oh Hellos’ song “Hello My Old Heart” prior to this, but they performed two songs from their most recent album, Dear Wormwood, that are absolutely gorgeous, and the enthusiasm they all have while playing is magical. “Exeunt” is my favorite performance of this concert, though I must say my favorite of Dear Wormwood is “Soldier, Poet, King”. It’s just!! really good nice folk-rock! I love it a lot!
(But seriously. The violinist is straight up bouncing around during “Exeunt”, it’s wild.)
Julien Baker writes sad songs. The second one she plays in this Tiny Desk Concert is even titled, at the time, “Sad Song #11”. But her voice is so, so beautiful, and the melodies she creates are enchanting, despite the heavy content in her lyrics. Sprained Ankle is her only full album, currently, but “Sad Song #11” (now titled “Funeral Pyre”) has been released as a single! My favorite of hers would have to be “Sprained Ankle” or “Distant Solar Systems”, another single recently released.
Rubblebucket has such a unique sound: the mix of brass with the lead singer’s voice creates a funky, alt-pop vibe that I adore. And this concert has all three of my favorite songs, so double bonus! These songs are from their album Survival Sounds, which was released in 2014, but they have four singles that came out this year, including “If U C My Enemies”, which is my new favorite song. It’s just so pumped up!
Monsieur Periné is a Colombian group influenced by 1920s jazz, and the one word I would have to describe their music is joyful. It’s upbeat, bouncy, fun, and makes me want to dance! They primarily sing in Spanish, but, as seen by their name, French also makes an appearance. Their music also reminds me a lot of Pink Martini, which I kind of grew up on, so it’s very fun!
Lianne La Havas
Lianna La Havas’ voice is a force. It’s quiet and strong and powerful, and her music, along with her guitar, the accompaniment piano, and her backup singer, blows me away. She has two albums out, Is Your Love Big Enough? and Blood, but of the two, “What You Don’t Do” (also the first song in this concert!) is my favorite.
Penguin Cafe’s music feels a bit like a dream, and it has its origins in them. Although the band is now headed by Simon Jeffes’ son, the original beginning was in dreams Jeffes had while having a fever that inspired the creation of the band & the music in the ’70s. Arthur Jeffes brought it back in 1997, with an assortment of strings & piano and roughly 16 members. The music is captivating, and reminds me almost of game music like Monument Valley, or the music for the Crystal Kingdom arc of The Adventure Zone. It’s soft but alluring and draws you in instantly.
do you have any favorite tiny desk concerts? any bands you wish would be featured? sorry I’ve been gone for so long! I did a little blog redesign, as well, so check it out! have a great day bloglings ❤