Tiny Desk Concerts - Season 2009

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Episode Guide

  • Australian Chamber Orchestra
    Australian Chamber Orchestra
    Episode 12.21.09
    The adventurous ensemble has been widely praised for its risk-taking attitude. Gathered around Bob Boilen's desk, a stripped-down incarnation of the group plays music by Ravel, then unpacks several Egyptian instruments for an original composition.
  • Fanfarlo
    Episode 12.16.09
    After playing a pair of songs from Reservoir, the band closed with a cover of Low's 1999 song "Just Like Christmas." Fanfarlo's members had practiced it all the way from Baltimore to D.C., not exactly a trek across continents, but the result was, well, perfect.
  • Lightning Dust
    Lightning Dust
    Episode 12.07.09
    Lightning Dust should be seen in the smallest possible venue; its music is so spare and raw that its music could easily get drowned out. With singer Amber Webber's quivering vibrato and Joshua Wells' warm piano accompaniment, the group specializes in quietly dark moments, whether in a shared glance or a finely knit harmony.moreless
  • Andrew W.K.
    Andrew W.K.
    Episode 11.30.09
    Sometimes, an idea is so perverse and bizarre that it needs to be carried out and followed to its logical end. So once we hatched the idea to bring long-haired, wild-eyed, keyboard-pounding, sublimely over-the-top party-rocker Andrew W.K. to perform an intimate concert at Bob Boilen's desk, there was no abandoning it. It simply had to happen.moreless
  • Zee Avi
    Zee Avi
    Episode 11.23.09
    The success of Malaysian-born singer-songwriter Zee Avi is an increasingly familiar but noteworthy story: Avi was discovered after she posted a few songs on YouTube. Within two months, she was signed to release her self-titled debut. Here in this intimate Tiny Desk Concert, Avi sings three hushed lullabies, including what has become one of her signature songs: a cover of Morrissey's "First of the Gang."moreless
  • Bowerbirds
    Episode 11.16.09
    Bowerbirds' handcrafted songs creak and swell like wooden floorboards in an old house. With acoustic guitar, accordion and violin, the band's pastoral folk music has a distinctively spare yet harmonious sound. Hear the group, fronted by Phil Moore and Beth Tacular, perform a captivating Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices.moreless
  • K'naan
    Episode 11.09.09
    Though his appearance at the NPR Music office qualifies as the first-ever hip-hop Tiny Desk Concert, Somali-born rapper K'naan isn't one to adhere to a single genre. With the help of a crack backing band, his three-song set exuded shimmery grace while incorporating the sounds of soul, pop and reggae.
  • Sondre Lerche
    Sondre Lerche
    Episode 11.02.09
    Known as a varsity-level banterer on stage, Lerche puts his considerable magnetism to good use in this charming Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices. Performing three songs from his recent album Heartbeat Radio, he conveys all the lilting sweetness his fans have come to expect.
  • Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros
    At 10 members, this is the biggest band ever to play a Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices. But singers Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos still find a way to command attention, as they trade vocals amid a warm, shambling concoction of keyboards, percussion, guitars, accordion, trumpet and more.moreless
  • Ralph Stanley
    Ralph Stanley
    Episode 10.19.09
    It's hard to overstate the impact that Dr. Ralph Stanley has had on bluegrass and old-time gospel music. Now 82, he sits atop a 60-year legacy of making music, both as the preeminent purveyor of clawhammer-style banjo picking and as a singer with one of the most widely imitated (but never duplicated) voices in country music. For this short Tiny Desk Concert, Stanley performs three classic songs, all a cappella: "Gloryland," "Turn Back, Turn Back" and "Amazing Grace."moreless
  • Rodrigo y Gabriela
    Rodrigo y Gabriela
    Episode 10.10.09
    A Mexican duo living in Dublin, Rodrigo y Gabriela just released an album called 11:11, which pays tribute to the pair's heroes — Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Astor Piazzolla and Pantera's Dimebag Darrell among them. It's quite a stretch to travel from the bruising heavy metal of Pantera to the tango of Piazzolla, but it all works. See how in this amazing performance they gave at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.moreless
  • John Vanderslice
    John Vanderslice
    Episode 10.04.09
    Vanderslice is a songwriter's songwriter. His music, a beautifully finessed mix of acoustic instruments, analog drum machines and digital textures, is invariably thoughtful, carefully crafted and affecting. He's prolific, too: Vanderslice has released an album nearly every year this decade, and his latest (Romanian Names) is his most inspired so far. See him perform acoustic versions of his newest songs in this Tiny Desk Concert.moreless
  • Raphael Saadiq
    Raphael Saadiq
    Episode 09.28.09
    Looking sharp in his tailored suit, the Grammy-nominated R&B artist performed three acoustic interpretations of his soul-inspired tunes. He was joined by guitarist Rob Bacon in this intimate performance at Bob Boilen's desk.
  • Telekinesis
    Episode 09.21.09
    Reduced to a duo for this charming session in the NPR Music offices, Telekinesis is all heart: Without the insistent crunch of electric guitars or drums, the band's performance radiates sweetly awkward warmth. After opening with the unreleased "Plankton," the abbreviated Telekinesis showcases three gorgeous songs from its debut: "Coast of Carolina," "I Saw Lightning" and "Rust."moreless
  • The Tallest Man On Earth Plays The Tiny Desk
    The young Swedish folksinger Kristian Matsson, a.k.a. The Tallest Man on Earth, is passionate, gruff, a great guitar picker and a damn good poet. The melodies are strong, but Matsson's imagery and stories are what make his music stand out. Here, he performs three of his best songs at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.moreless
  • Dark Meat
    Dark Meat
    Episode 08.24.09
    We often joke about how many people we can fit behind Bob Boilen's desk for one of NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts. Every month, we seem to push the boundary just a bit farther, as the bands get bigger and louder. But the first real test of our limits came when eight members of Dark Meat showed up to play.moreless
  • The Swell Season
    The Swell Season
    Episode 08.10.09
    For those who can't wait to hear songs from Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's follow-up to Once (titled Strict Joy, out Oct. 27), the pair played six new songs before performing the first-ever Tiny Desk Concert encore: a white-knuckle journey through "When Your Mind's Made Up."
  • Sarah Siskind
    Sarah Siskind
    Episode 07.27.09
    In this charming performance at the NPR Music offices, Siskind performs two of the highlights from Say It Louder before closing with a requested "Lovin's for Fools." Each song finds her concocting a heady cocktail of tender beauty and winsome regret, while employing a voice that's at once honeyed and raw.moreless
  • Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy
    Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy
    Episode 07.20.09
    A lot of talented artists pass by Bob Boilen's desk. But this was the first time that NPR Music was serenaded by a trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba and truncated drum kit playing a Rufus Wainwright cover (and several clever originals) in rich, soulful polyphony.
  • Bill Callahan
    Bill Callahan
    Episode 07.13.09
    It's a high compliment to suggest that these three Bill Callahan songs may well implant themselves in your brain, lay eggs and sprout horrifically disturbing dreams at that point when you're banging on the snooze alarm in a state of anguished early-morning half-sleep. Hear and watch Callahan perform at the NPR Music offices.moreless
  • Julie Doiron
    Julie Doiron
    Episode 07.06.09
    If you see Canadian singer-songwriter Julie Doiron perform live, you'll hear a good deal of distorted guitars and intense drumming. Well, at least when she's not performing at the NPR Music offices. It took her a few takes, but we wound up with a bare, stark and memorable set at the Tiny Desk.moreless
  • Maria Taylor
    Maria Taylor
    Episode 06.29.09
    It's clear from this Tiny Desk Concert, recorded without amplification at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen, that Maria Taylor has never made a go of it as a busker: In terms of volume, she's closer to a whisper than a scream. But hers is a wonderfully warm presence, and the setting brings out her songs' winsome essence.moreless
  • The Avett Brothers
    The Avett Brothers
    Episode 06.22.09
    With all due respect to its terrific albums and kinetic, frenetic live shows, if The Avett Brothers could put on a three-song acoustic concert at every workplace in America, the band would be a world-beating colossus. For proof, listen to this performance in the NPR Music offices.
  • Jason Vieaux
    Jason Vieaux
    Episode 06.15.09
    The classical guitarist has a wide ranging appetite for music, and plays with a clear, lyrical technique. His diverse set at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen mixes the baroque, Argentine dance, West African rhythms and a classic from Spain.
  • Great Lake Swimmers
    Great Lake Swimmers
    Episode 06.08.09
    Singer Tony Dekker has a sterling track record for gentle, sweet-voiced ruminations on nature, beauty, conflict and the human body. He sheds his backing band, Great Lake Swimmers, long enough to perform three of his songs at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.
  • Benjy Ferree
    Benjy Ferree
    Episode 05.29.09
    Ferree is a character with just enough charisma to draw you into his oddball world. While his subject matter is dark (his latest album revolves around a child actor whose life ended tragically), Ferree's music often has a lilt with hints of humor, as is evidenced by his Tiny Desk Concert.moreless
  • Horse Feathers
    Horse Feathers
    Episode 05.08.09
    Sweet-voiced, bearded acoustic guitarists are not a rare commodity in the Pacific Northwest, which has spawned the likes of Fleet Foxes, Blind Pilot and countless others, just in the last few years. Horse Feathers' Justin Ringle may be the gentlest beard-wearer of them all, which made him a perfect candidate to appear in NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts series: With a voice that high and soft, the man needs a quiet room.moreless
  • Tom Jones
    Tom Jones
    Episode 03.02.09
    Sir Tom Jones, a full-throated legend among legends, wasn't an obvious choice for a Tiny Desk concert. When we began the series last year, the goal was to bring in quieter, more intimate artists (Laura Gibson, Vic Chesnutt) who are often drowned out by the clinking glasses and chatter of the small clubs they play. When a publicist for Tom Jones contacted us and said the singer wanted to do a "Big Desk Concert" for us, the thought of Jones' substantial voice filling our office left us laughing — and dying to do it.moreless
  • Super XX Man
    Super XX Man
    Episode 01.27.09
    The music of Super XX Man's Scott Garred is often introspective and deeply personal. It's sometimes playful, bittersweet and dreamy, but Garred's songs are always heartfelt and reflective. When he stopped by the NPR Music offices on Oct. 22, he gave an intimate solo performance.
  • Woven Hand
    Woven Hand
    Episode 01.07.09
    On tour with a full band, Woven Hand's David Eugene Edwards went solo at Bob Boilen's desk with his mandolin-banjo hybrid, a unique instrument made in 1887 by luthier August Pollman. He performs his fiery Americana, as well as a plaintive take on Bob Dylan's "As I Went Out One Morning."moreless