NPR hosts things called “Tiny Desk concerts” about twice a week. A band or musician plays a short set of 3 or 4 songs in the NPR office and they post it on YouTube. The quality is high and I’ve found it to be a great way to learn about new music. Some examples:
- GoGo Penguin has a fantastic sound and is amazing to watch. It’s great background music for programming.
- I’ve known about Tegan and Sara for a while but hadn’t spent much time listening to them. Their Tiny Desk concert is great. I very much prefer their stripped down performances to the versions on their albums. “Living Room” live on KEXP in 2012 is also great.
- Sylvan Esso
- Now, Now
- Alt-J has been on Tiny Desk twice, first in 2012 then again in 2017. I’d heard of them before, but I wasn’t a fan until I listened to them on Tiny Desk.
- Khruangbin has a wicked groove.
- Camp Cope. I love their sound, though I see how it might not be for everyone.
- From the NPR Music YouTube channel but not Tiny Desk, I love Lake Street Dive playing “Baby Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts”
Unrelated to Tiny Desk I recently stumbled upon the early Cranberries song “Íosa” and I love it. Also this early Cranberries performance is mesmerizing. If you’re not sure whether you want to watch the whole thing then I recommend skipping to 3:38 because the second song is more lively. It’s crazy how young Dolores O’Riordan looks.
Three other amazing non-Tiny Desk performances:
- Imogen Heap performing “Just for Now” in 2006 a cappella with looping.
- Yasmin Williams playing “GuitKa”.
- Yasmin Williams playing “Restless Heart”.