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Watch Black Thought’s appearance at the Tiny Desk with Mumu Fresh

Black Thought and Mumu Fresh | photo by Morgan Noelle Smith | via twitter.com/nprmusic

A familiar local face appears towards the end of NPR Music’s latest Tiny Desk Concert, featuring Baltimore singer Mumu Fresh. With over a half dozen musicians packed behind the desk to back Mumu, the singer and emcee pauses during the middle of her third and final song, “Say My Name,” to introduce none other than The Roots’ founding member Black Thought. Continue reading →

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Tyler the Creator sets the mood at NPR’s first nighttime Tiny Desk Concert

Tyler, the Creator | screenshot from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

Hip-hop’s resident bucket-hat strange boy, Tyler, the Creator, stopped by NPR’s offices to perform not only his own Tiny Desk debut, but also to induct the first evening version of the Tiny Desk gig. Distinguishing the switch, instead of the custom clear natural light setting across the afternoon cubicles, vibrant backdrop lighting of deep fuschia, electric blue, and blood red drenched the typical work space, as it transformed into an intimate club atmosphere. Which, according to NPR, was the result of Tyler’s own request and the work of his hired lighting team. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Japanese Breakfast continues their Philly takeover with a headlining gig at Union Transfer

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN

It’s been quite a year for indie darling Japanese Breakfast. But, I mean, when you release a record as amazing as Soft Sounds from Another Planet, it only makes sense that everyone everywhere’s going to want a chance to see a live performance of said record.

So although Michelle Zauner’s earnest, electro-ambient pop tunes have been sounding off at all corners of the earth for a while now (she and the crew are currently sharing her songs with the Eastern side of the planet with an Asia / Australia tour) Japanese Breakfast has just announced another ring of shows back in the States after just a tiny — but much deserved — winter break.

Starting February in Zauner’s early hometown of Seattle, the tour will conclude with a massive (current) hometown celebration at Union Transfer on June 3rd. Continue reading →

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Ani DiFranco shows she can turn any setting into an activist platform at her NPR Music Tiny Desk performance

Ani DiFranco at NPR’ Music’s Tiny Desk | still from video via NPR Music

Ani DiFranco can now add ‘performing in front of the famed knick-knack-covered shelves at NPR offices’ to her thirty-years-long list of musical accomplishments, as the similarly famed singer-songwriter recently made her Tiny Desk concert debut.

It’s no secret that DiFranco values and utilizes the political platform that being an artist has offered her, as she is known for being a strong voice in progressive human rights activism. And being how times are right now, she’s got a lot of things to say — which is exactly what she does on her latest album, Binary.  Continue reading →

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Watch Jay Som take over the NPR Music Tiny Desk

jay som
Jay Som | photo by Cara Robbins | courtesy of the artist

Bay Area band Jay Som has had a whirlwind rise to her second album Everybody Works, from releasing a series of singles to signing with Polyvinyl to opening for Mitski on a national tour. Most recently the project — led by singer and songwriter Meline Duterte —  was invited to perform for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, and the performance is now available for your viewing pleasure.

Duterte is a one-woman force, writing all of the music and lyrics and recording each instrument herself. When she performs live, Jay Som grows into a quartet to realize the records in full. Continue reading →

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Chicano Batman charms with suave tunes at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

Chicano Batman | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Chicano Batman recently packed their eclectic ensemble into NPR’s office for a Tiny Desk concert full of suave, smooth and spirited grooves. As per usual of the Californian four-piece, the dapper band was dressed to the nines as they performed three songs, including “Freedom Is Free,” “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm,)” and “Jealousy.” Continue reading →

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Watch Soft Idiot perform tiny-desk-esque show at Temple News office

Soft Idiot | photo by Anaje Brinkley | via the band’s Facebook page

I absolutely love NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts. There’s something about the intimate, stripped-down, super out-of-place setup that never fails to bring about the best performances from artists. The staff at The Temple News takes cues from this type of gig by hosting a web series that showcases local bands performing in their student news office. The recent feature of local indie-outfit, Soft Idiot, reaffirms this belief that packing musicians into a tiny office and making them play tunes is a vital necessity in life. Continue reading →

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Celebrate Philly’s Tiny Desk standouts with Tutlie, The Bul Bey, Joy Ike and NPR Music at World Cafe Live

Tutlie
Tutlie | Photo by Morgan Smith | courtesy of the artist

NPR’s All Songs Considered crew is taking their popular Tiny Desk Concert series on the road, landing in Philadelphia on April 19th at World Cafe Live for an evening of live music, free Lagunitas beer and food.

Host Bob Boilen will be on hand for an evening of local acts hand-picked by WXPN and the NPR Music crew from the submission box of this year’s TDC contest; you’ll see chamber pop group Tutlie, soulful pianist/singer Joy Ike and hip hop artist The Bul Bey. The event is free, but you must reserve your spot here. Continue reading →

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Watch Wilco perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR Music

Wilco at Solid Sound Festival | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com
Wilco at Solid Sound Festival | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

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 →