Philadelphia is blowing up NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest and it’s amazing

Levee Drivers' Tiny Desk submission | photo by Bob Sweeney
Levee Drivers’ Tiny Desk submission | photo by Bob Sweeney

For those of you who don’t know about NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, you may want to head over to their site and root through their enormous and equally impressive archive. Their 15-minute videos feature live performances from artists of all genres held in the quaint offices of NPR at All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s desk.

Ranging from big names like Adele and Alt-J to up-and-coming artists such as Angel Olsen and Rubblebucket, viewers are able to watch the artists perform in the intimate setting, giving the performances a stripped-down, no B.S. vibe. While these videos are ultra fun to watch (perhaps continuously, one after another…), NPR kept things interesting this winter by kicking off a contest to feature a new artist in their series.

Based entirely off of video submissions from all over the United States, an artist will be chosen to perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. as well as snag a slot in the big Lagunitas Couchtrippin’ showcase in Austin, Texas. Philadelphia, brimming with the amazing musical talent that it is, seems to have jumped at this opportunity. Continue reading →


The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl.The Lawsuits, k.s. Rhoads and a YVYNYL mixtape

LawsuitsThe Lawsuits were our featured artists for this week’s Key Studio Session.  Highlighting tracks from their upcoming debut LP, the rootsy band recorded four songs, alternating between the upbeat, rocking numbers we know and love them for and the more reserved and beautifully arranged slower tracks that appeared on their recent Numbers EP.  Stream and download “Onion” below and check out the full session here.

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Folkadelphia Session: Kyle Swartzwelder

Kyle Swartzwelder writes low-key country tunes that simmer with an intensity just beneath the surface. His newest record Canadian Pacific is a pleasure to listen to straight through and, as it ends, you feel like you’ve gained something meaningful for having spent the time. This does not speak to how Swartzwelder and his band – who hail from Delaware and Pennsylvania – perform in a live setting, but from minute one of setting up, you could tell these guys were a well-oiled machine. We ended up recording seven songs (usually we record three or four), including one in which the band worked out parts to during the session. Yeah, they’re good. We love recording sessions like this because it allows us to focus on making the best recordings that we can. Here’s the result, a few of the tracks now available for your streaming and download pleasure!

Catch Kyle at Burlap and Bean Coffee in Newtown Square, PA as he runs production and other duties at the venue/café. He also performs there on Friday, May 3rd opening for Malcolm Holcombe which begs the question- who will do sound?!