NPR’s Mountain Stage recently aired folk staple Andrew Bird’s gig in Charleston, West Virginia. His masterful instrumentation shines in this 30+ minute set, sporting his signature whistling and plucky energy to nail tracks from his 2016 Grammy-nominated record Are You Serious and beyond.
Bird is accompanied by fellow musicians Steven Elliott, Alan Hampton, Kevin O’Donnell on guitar, bass and drums (respectively) and The Flat Five’s Nora O’ Connor joins Bird on backup vocals.
Before Austin, Texas gets flooded with music nerds for their annual South by Southwest, NPR revealed their annual Austin 100, a comprehensive list of their favorite artists heading to the Lone Star State for the festival.
For the second year running, the folks at NPR Music held their Tiny Desk Contest this winter, with artists all over the country competing to be a featured performer on the endlessly popular Tiny Desk Concert video series. Word is the winner will be announced tomorrow morning, so just like last year, we here at The Key compiled a list of nearly every Philly area musician who entered.
Last year, NPR told us that Philadelphia artists contributed 75 videos to the 7,000 overall entries. This time, we’re counting 131 videos…almost double.
Each group reconfigured their setup for an intimate performance, staged behind a desk of some sort. The mix and variety of styles parallels the variety of musical talent pouring out of this city right now. And this isn’t even all of it. Continue reading →
XPN favorites Wilco have always been known for their largely rocking and experimental, and musically intense live shows, however, in quiet beauty the band shows another side of themselves.
Wilco recently stopped by the NPR Music for a Tiny Desk Concert to play acoustic versions of new and old songs. They opened their set with “The Joke Explained” from their most recent album, Star Wars, a rollicking country rock song featuring guitar virtuoso Nels Cline on slide. They followed up with “Misunderstood,” a melodic ballad that captures everything that is great about the band, introspective storytelling lyrics about inner-self and strange atonal mumblings that channel Jeff Tweedy’s former crippling migranes. Continue reading →
Singer-guitarist James Snyder of Beach Slang performed at the NPR Tiny Desk last month. Flying solo from his punk trio in this performance, Snyder’s uncanny reinterpretations make these sound like new solo songs rather than band tracks. Continue reading →
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 →
Oklahoma rock and roller JD McPherson is featured on NPR’s First Listen this week. His sophomore album, Let The Good Times Roll, set to be released February 10th, has made waves in the music scene as of late, and NPR’s Ann Powers commends McPherson on his unmatched abilities of taking classic rock concepts and re-imagining them with small twists that make for engaging music without sounding like a knock-off. Continue reading →
Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and producer Ryan Adams is back in the music game. After a stellar set at our XPoNential music festival this summer and the release of his new self-titled album, Adams recently appeared on NPR’s World Cafe and had a wide-ranging interview with host David Dye. Continue reading →