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. See how in this amazing performance they gave at the Tiny Desk.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.