According to NPR Music’s official Tiny Desk Contest rules, videos must “feature a desk (there must be a desk—any desk—in the Video)”. Stranger in the Alps, veteran of our Millennium Stage #DCmusic series and here a duo of Steve Kolowich and Kristine Pietsch, used the desk to display the 50 year old diary entry by Dinah Hall of England that inspired their 2018 entry. Kolowich often writes thoughful ballads about very specific stories, and “The Day They Put a Man on the Moon” draws you into the period setting with delicate guitar work and lovely harmonies.
Hometown Sounds kindly invites you to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage for our July #DCmusic showcase featuring Stranger in the Alps.
Stranger in the Alps is a music project founded in 2013 by singer-songwriter Steve Kolowich and his friends in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington. The band started as a lark, performing at open mic nights and in living rooms. The band’s name comes from the edited-for-TV version of an unspeakable line from the film The Big Lebowski. Its sound evolved through a combination of design and happenstance as a rotating cast of D.C. musicians elaborated on Kolowich’s demo recordings.
The band released its first album, Honey If You’re Lucky, in 2013, and its second album, Pattern Matching, in 2015, both of which were produced by D.C. pop wizard Louis Weeks. The Washington City Paper called Pattern Matching “a rich mix of alt-country, electronic, and chamber pop,” and later named Stranger in the Alps the “best folk troubadour” in the city.
In 2016 the band released a single, “The Most Photographed Barn in America,” a meditation on tourism — inspired by a scene in the novel White Noise by Don DeLillo — featuring a woodwind arrangement by the New York jazz player Ethan Helm. Collectively speaking, Stranger in the Alps is a sucker for harmony, Americana, and language games. They are grateful for your time and attention.
RSVP here and come to the free performance at 6 PM on Tuesday July 18th!
Steve Kolowich’s folk band Stranger in the Alps is now a 3 year veteran of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest submissions. This year’s entry “Pattern Matching”, the title track from their pay-what-you-want 2015 EP, got a well-deserved feature on the contest’s official Tumblr. The witty lyrics and laid-back production by Louis Weeks give this track a lot of replay value.
Now that the calendar has rolled over to January, the new annual tradition of NPR All Songs Considered’s Tiny Desk contest has returned to spur rising, striving artists to create live music videos behind a desk of their choosing. This leads to much creative interpretation, such as this early entry by Steve Kolowich’s folk group Stranger in the Alps. I won’t spoil the twist, so enjoy this rendition of the beautifully narrative song “The Mann Gulch Fire (The Wag Dodge Escape)” from their 2013 album Honey If You’re Lucky.
The perennial game of Bob Boilen show-spotting is on hold as DC’s biggest live music fan stays in and watches the 5,000+ entries NPR Music received for their Tiny Desk contest. We prefer the relaxed, one-a-day pace to showcase DC’s top quality entries. Here’s “Black Box”, the newest song by Steve Kolowich’s folk project Stranger in the Alps, produced and featuring beeps & boops by Louis Weeks. Mark your calendar for their album release show Sunday February 8th at the Black Cat with Fellow Creatures and Rachel Ries.