Posts Tagged ‘Tiny Desk Concerts’

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NPR continued their at-home version of their Tiny Desk Concerts series this week with a special performance by Michael McDonald.

After five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald finished “Matters Of The Heart,” the opening song in his Tiny Desk (home) concert, there was a brief pause. The bewilderment on his face was unmistakable. It’s a look I believe we all can relate to in this moment of uncertainty. He sat in his home studio, complete with an illustration of the Tiny Desk drawn by Mr. McDonald himself. That pause, usually reserved for the anticipated applause, was replaced by complete silence.

After offering his solo cut “Matters of the Heart,” McDonald dives into two Doobie Brothers classics, “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.”

After 25 years, McDonald reunited with the Doobies in November 2019, announcing a full summer tour to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary.

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Tiny Desk Concerts are stripped down sets recorded at the desk of Bob Boilen, the host of NPR’s All Songs Considered. But as with everything else, adjustments have been made to account for COVID-19 and now NPR have launched a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert series, with artists performing from home under quarantine. The first participant is Soccer Mommy (the project of Nashville native Sophie Allison), who performs three songs solo on acoustic guitar: “Bloodstream,” “Circle the Drain,” and “Royal Screw Up.” .

Soccer Mommy released her new album, “color theory”, in February via Loma Vista. Color theory is the follow-up to Allison’s debut full-length album, Clean, released in 2018 via Fat Possum.  Gabe Wax produced the album (he also produced Clean), which was written on tour and recorded in Nashville at Alex The Great. Lars Stalfors mixed the album, which features the live Soccer Mommy band on studio recordings for the first time.

On Monday March 30th, Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, was to perform a long awaited Tiny Desk concert at my desk. Now the world has changed, and with the coronavirus keeping us at a distance, we’re taking a break from filming Tiny Desks at the office for a while. Sophie wanted to share her music and her thoughts with you. So we’re kicking off our Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts series with Soccer Mommy from her home in Nashville.

SET LIST:
“Bloodstream”
“Circle the Drain”
“Royal Screw Up”

The album titles and song titles are all intended to be written in lowercase. color theory also features two songs Soccer Mommy first shared in 2019. In November she shared a seven-minute long “yellow is the color of her eyes,” via a video for the track directed by Alex Ross Perry . “yellow is the color of her eyes” featured Mary Lattimore on harp and followed “lucy,” another new song . When the album was announced in January, Soccer Mommy shared the first single from it, “circle the drain,”

Then Soccer Mommy shared another song from the album, album opener “bloodstream,” via a Bella Clark-directed animated video.

A previous press release had this to say about color theory: “Confronting the ongoing mental health and familial trials that have plagued Allison since pre-pubescence, color theory explores three central themes: blue, representing sadness and depression; yellow, symbolizing physical and emotional illness; and, finally, grey, representing darkness, emptiness and loss.

Allison had this to say about the album in the previous press release: “I wanted the experience of listening to color theory to feel like finding a dusty old cassette tape that has become messed up over time, because that’s what this album is: an expression of all the things that have slowly degraded me personally. The production warps, the guitar solos occasionally glitch, the melodies can be poppy and deceptively cheerful. To me, it sounds like the music of my childhood distressed and, in some instances, decaying.”

In December Soccer Mommy shared another new song, “Feed,” that’s not found on color theory. It is instead taken from the soundtrack to the horror film The Turning, which is a more modern version of Henry James’1898 horror novella The Turn of the Screw. The soundtrack came out on January 24th, 2020 via KRO/Sony Music Masterworks, the same day as the film.

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Kurt Vile exudes a casualness at the Tiny Desk in his style and body language that is so unlike most anxious artists who come to play behind my desk. Sure, he’s done this Tiny Desk thing before, with Courtney Barnett. But even then, I remember thinking that he’s got something else on his mind — and it made me laugh this time around when Kurt played his opening tune, “Bassackwards,” and sang these words: “I was on the beach but I was thinking about the bay / Got to the bay but by then I was far away.” That idea of being one place and thinking about another, for me, also connects to the way he plays guitar.

He seems distracted, yet the complex guitar lines he so nonchalantly plays, along with his musical mate Rob Laakso, are effortlessly beautiful and lyrical. After they played two new tunes from Kurt Vile’s latest record, “Bottle It In”, Kurt goes solo on an older, self-described “juvenile” song from long ago, recently revived during his Courtney Barnett collaboration last year. “Peeping Tomboy” has its own schizophrenic issues as Kurt sings, “I don’t wanna change but I don’t wanna stay the same / I don’t wanna go but I’m runnin’ / I don’t wanna work but I don’t wanna sit around / All day frownin’.” On the surface, it all can seem just chill. But there’s a lot of rumination in these songs — and even when he’s gazing into the overhead office lights, I think he got his mind on the stars and the world at large.

Set List: “Bassackwards” “Loading Zones” “Peeping Tomboy” Musicians Kurt Vile – vocals, guitar Rob Laakso – guitar

jay som everybody works Top 50 Albums of 2017

Jay Som is the project of 23-year-old Melina Duterte, who has been creating music for the past 10 years or so on a multitude of instruments, from guitar to trumpet. Though she played every instrument on her newest record Everybody Works, her touring band here at the Tiny Desk gave a rougher edge to some of the more premeditated sounds on her wonderful album. Multiple-instrumentalist Melina Duterte (aka Jay Som) rode her production and recording acumen on debut LP, Turn Into, to a deal with indie major label Polyvinyl for Everybody Works.

Of the three songs they chose to bring to the Tiny Desk, one was a personal favorite from Everybody Works: “The Bus Song,” which is a perfect swirl of stream-of-consciousness: In what can only be described as bedroom maximalism, Duterte dug her lyrics into the granular, banalities of existence and aimed her production at expansive soundscapes. On “The Bus Song”, Duterte sings, “I can be whoever I want to be,” and that’s exactly who she is on Everybody Works.

It’s lyrics on this, alongside the comfy, no-frills directness of Duterte’s delivery, which make Jay Som feel so welcoming and refreshing. “Everybody Works” is available now:

Setlist;
“The Bus Song”
“Baybee”
“I Think You’re Alright”

Musicians
Melina Duterte (vocals, guitar); Oliver Pinnell (guitar); Zachary Elsasser (drums); Dylan Allard (bass)

Great singers aren’t easy to come by, so finding three in one band is something special. The Wild Reeds’ music shines when Sharon Silva, Kinsey Lee and Mackenzie Howe harmonize, but each also takes a leading role — and that’s the power of the L.A. band, whose songs are clear and memorable, potent and sometimes delicate.

The Wild Reeds’ 2014 debut album Blind And Brave only hints at the talent on display here. Here, the group opens with my favorite song from the record, “Where I’m Going,” and then offers a taste of 2016 with two new ones. Next year ought to be a big year for The Wild Reeds, and this Tiny Desk Concert will show you what I mean.

Blind And Brave is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List

  • “Where I’m Going”
  • “Everything Looks Better In Hindsight”
  • “The World We Built”

The Prettiots’ songs are winsome and clever, but most of all they’re honest and funny. Goodness knows pop music needs some clever fun.

The three women in The Prettiots — Kay Kasparhauser on ukulele and lead vocals, Rachel Trachtenburg from the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players on drums, and bassist Lulu Prat — share their love of everything from Law & Order to old-school girl groups like the Shangri-Las. Their song “Stabler,” performed here, is based on Kasparhauser’s infatuation with the Law & Order character Elliot Stabler.

“Boys (I Dated In High School)” is the Prettiots tune that first charmed me, thanks mainly to the perfect portrait its brainy rhymes paint:

Martin, that was your name,

I met you on the 1 train

You were super duper duper hot

On the 1 train

You said you were a painter

Mostly you were a waiter

A stoner and a skater

So I had to say later,

These are the boys that I dated in high school

I thought they were so nice

And I thought they were so cool

These are the boys that I dated in high school

They weren’t very nice

And they weren’t very cool

It’s the sort of music you’ll either adore or abhor; it’s hard to be neutral and you’ll know it quickly. For me, their appearance at the Tiny Desk totally made my day.

Set List

  • “Boys (I Dated In High School)”
  • “Stabler”
  • “Suicide Hotline”

Close your eyes and listen, and you might imagine someone who looks a bit like Otis Redding. Open them, and you’re likely to see someone who looks more like your neighbourhood bank teller. That man standing on my desk in the golden shoes is Paul Janeway. He was, in fact, a bank teller in Alabama not long ago — and this stupendous seven-piece band from Birmingham has only been doing this since 2012. But take a look at this Tiny Desk Concert and you’ll see why St. Paul And The Broken Bones‘ music is so winning. It’s got heart and soul and flair, with a well-worn sound buoyed by strong,
Set List:
“Half The City”, “Call Me”, “Broken Bones And Pocket Change”,

Bob Boilen Tiny Desk Concert’s feature some great bands and musician and this is really special Hamilton leithauser the frontman from the incendiary band THE WALKMEN  performs some songs from his solo album “BLACK HOURS” while the band take a hiatus with the Walkmens Paul Maroon on guitar a great performance,