If this isn’t just the coolest thing that you’ll see all day. World-class, classically trained musicians all from different backgrounds coming together for some fantastic genre-bending ear candy. Not to mention it’s Chris Thile, and I am convinced that musically, he can do no wrong. And with his third appearance on the Tiny Desk Series, he has possibly topped himself again.
This is a diamond among gems here. Every week NPR brings someone or another in to do a live set in the NPR music offices, and this series has brought the likes of The Avett Brothers, Adele, Jim White, the Decemberists and Noah & The Whale to name a few, but this, THIS, may be the king of them all. All 38 (give or take) members of Wilco and probably 100,000$ worth of gear squeeze into the tiny space to put on a show that I have watched multiple, multiple times in the last 24 hours… enjoy!
They Might Be Giants are one of those bands that feels like they were completely before my time despite the fact that they consistently have been putting out material for something like 30 years. And despite never really getting into TMBG, I can appreciate good music when I hear it and I can appreciate the huge influence these guys have had on SO many bands that I follow. Plus it’s always a pleasant experience to see 50-somethings rocking out like 20-somethings, this video (and band) is worth your time |
This last Monday, one of my favorite band played a phenomenal 3-song set off of their 2011 album The King is Dead at the NPR offices. As these lucky NPR employees crowd in to see the show Colin Meloy jokes “I was always under the impression that these things were done while everyone was trying to get work done”. Despite forgetting the lyrics to ‘June Hymn’ (hey, we all make mistakes) Colin Meloy and the beautiful Sara Watkins (from Nickel Creek) put on a performance that I have had on repeat for the last half an hour. Enjoy |
Chris Thile, best known as the young mandolin prodigy in Nickel Creek and the figurehead of The Punch Brothers, also has an impressive solo career and puts on an AMAZING live show. Here, Thile and Michael Daves put on one of their aforementioned fantastic shows at the NPR offices to promote their new album Sleep With One Eye Open. Thile proves that good things get better with age, watching him wail on the mandolin is a lot like watching Nels Cline tear through a solo at times, and other times it’s like listening to an old Carter Family track. Hot off the press, Thile and Daves don’t disappoint.
How is it that unassuming white dudes tend to make the best electronic music? Girl Talk, Four Tet, Mount Kimbie… the list goes on. And people are starting to take notice. Recently, NPR had their first ever electronic act on the “Tiny Desk Concert Series”. Mount Kimbie are a couple of British guys who will make you reconsider the possibilities of a synthesizer, looping, and the coolness button-collared cotton shirts |
David Eugene Edwards (16 Horsepower, Woven Hand) has literally been all I have listened to in the last three days. His voice is stark and gritty, mixing with his beautiful and painful lyrics. Edwards has been a big deal on the American folk scene for the last 2 decades, and not to mention, he loves Jesus. Edwards is really an embodiment of what GCC is trying to be: gospel-centered and intentionally making high quality culture in a world that isn’t. On the Tiny Desk Concert Series (NPR.org) Edwards plays three solo songs (on this amazing nylon string mandolin/banjo hybrid). Worth your time.
- Whistling Girl
- As I Went Out One Morning (Bob Dylan cover)
- Kingdom of Ice
Nels Cline (The guitarist for Wilco) is one of the best guitar players around and can do things on a fretboard that almost no one else can (listen to the Wilco album “Sky Blue Sky, you will see what I mean). And although making waves in the “alternative-rock” (whatever that actually is) world, Cline’s first and foremost musical venture comes in the form of The Nels Cline Singers, an experimental, avant-grade jazz quartet. Be warned This is not for everyone: you may hate this, but it is sheer brilliance. It is like Cline and the gang took Bird and Diz and infused it with Loveless, creating something completely different. So if you are looking to expand your horizons, give this a shot; this is a gem in the Tiny Desk Series.
There is too much to say about Jim White. I first encountered White on a 2004 Uncut compilation and ever since, I have kept an eye on him, as much as I can; not as easy as you’d think. But the one thing I love about White is that he is like a dusty old attic, always finding overlooked treasures in his archives. These treasures include a feature film | Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus (2003), a plethora of interviews & live performances, and half a dozen studio albums. White, despite being on a major record label, flies under the radar at a stealth level. But curiously, almost all who discover him fall in love with his music. I call it “the Velvet Underground Syndrome”, with an influence that runs deeper than their appeal. White’s music floats naturally between a redemptive hopefulness, innocent Southern gothic storytelling and sharp charismatic intellectualism. White’s sound is essentially his personality, and without his personality his music makes no sense. I enjoy listening to Jim White talk as much if not more that I enjoy listening to Jim White play music; his stories are captivating in a way that make you long to be where he is. His appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series is a recent discovery for me, but it is hard to stop listening to: it is 22 minutes long, with about 10 minutes of song and 12 minutes of storytelling. Do yourself a favor and discover Jim White.
The Swedish sing-songwriter Kristian Matsson showcases his giftedness via his one man band The Tallest Man On Earth. I discovered Matsson earlier this year (via this video) and I have yet to get tired of his poetic narratives, unique voice and pleasant acoustic fingerpicking. Check out The Tallest Man On Earth at the top of his game here (P.S. note that sexy Guild acoustic Matsson is playing) |