Tag Archives: Tiny Desk

DuPont Brass – Make It (Tiny Desk Contest)

We aren’t letting a year go by without highlighting a Tiny Desk Contest entry by DuPont Brass. Even though the jazz + hip-hop ensemble recently released their sophomore LP Eclectic Soul, they gave us a brand new song called “Make It” with some wicked trumpet wailing and slick rapping. Catch them next on Friday May 18th kicking off the album release show for Handsome Hound on the Black Cat Mainstage.

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Flo Anito & Seth Kibel – Tiny Hands, Big Desk (Tiny Desk Contest)

Clarinet shredder Seth Kibel of Pikesville MD has channeled his feelings on the current political climate into a series of tunes worthy of the legendary Capitol Steps. You’d expect “Tiny Hands, Big Desk” to appear on his most recent album Songs of Snark and Despair, but it’s a brand new tune composed with DC jazz singer Flo Anito for the 2018 Tiny Desk Contest from NPR Music. There’s no denying the finesse of this talented duo in adapting the contest rules and name to suit their concerned political commentary.

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Crys Matthews – By My Side (Tiny Desk Contest)

2017 saw singer Crys Matthews release both a full length album and an EP, because sometimes music just comes rushing out in a torrent. The lead-off track from the album The Imagineers is “By My Side”, a beautiful tribute to her ten year old puppy named Juice. Now thanks to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest, Juice gets her day in the spotlight as Matthews serenades her with all the ways dogs and cats and furry pets of all kinds make our lives better. Voting is open now for Favorite Dogs of the 2018 Tiny Desk Contest, so show Matthews and Juice some love before polls close Friday at noon.

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Dope Francis – With The Beanie On (Tiny Desk Contest)

We like to think Dope Francis is paying homage to the beloved 266th Pontiff of the Catholic Church with their cheeky name. The self-described “Loungecortet” released their debut EP Good For late last year, but their 2018 entry to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest is a new song called “With The Beanie On”, pairing a mellow groove to catchy lyrics. Keep your eyes peeled for the tiny desk cameo.

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The JoGo Project – Dear Draylen (Tiny Desk Contest)

DC, get ready because this video has some big feels. Fronted by saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed, The JoGo Project updates DC’s signature go-go sound with influences from jazz, rock and hip-hop. Their 2018 entry for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest is called “Dear Draylen”, and its description requires quoting in full:

Draylen Mason was a 17 year old Double Bassist, who was said to be “the most remarkable talent” in a youth orchestra program at University of Texas at Austin. Though only in high school, those who knew him said he was a kind soul who inspired those around him through his music. He’s also been described as an “aspiring neurosurgeon” and a “Black Belt Martial Artist.”

Draylen Mason was killed when a bomb went off inside his home in east Austin on March 12th 2018. He was the second to be killed by Austin’s serial bomber.

Before his death, he was one of only 130 accepted applicants to earn a spot at Ohio’s Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He had already been chosen before he died but students weren’t told of decisions until Friday afternoon.

His life is one cut much too short and we were inspired to create a song in his honor.

“He was one of us”, indeed. Contribute to the Draylen Mason Memorial Fund through YouCaring.

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Justin Trawick – All The Places That I’ve Been (Tiny Desk Contest)

Songwriter Justin Trawick wrote the 20th century historical survey ballad “All The Places That I’ve Been” from inspiration from his 98 year old grandmother Lenore. His entry in the 2018 Tiny Desk Contest appears on his most recent EP Riverwash with his band The Common Good. As we mentioned in our humble advice Don’t Stay Home this week, Trawick leads his rotating collective of 9 singer-songwriters tonight at Union Stage, and your life would be richer and more satisfying by enjoying this show.

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Lavender – Fade (Tiny Desk Contest)

Bedroom dream pop band Lavender found a unique way to make their debut submission to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest stand out. They recorded their song “Fade” from their name-your-own-price debut EP You Are In The Right Place in guitarist Alli Vega’s bedroom, at the same desk where the EP came together. It’s tough to squeeze four musicians in a bedroom into one camera frame, so guitarist Trent Burns filmed the performance in 360 degrees. Swipe or drag your mouse around to see all of them, or just check out Alli’s cool wall art and lighting. Their next show is Sunday April 22nd at Slash Run with DC’s BabeRage and Richmond band Blush Face, so don’t miss it!

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Handsome Hound – Austin (Tiny Desk Contest)

Folk ensemble Handsome Hound decided to film their 2018 entry to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest in front of a live audience. Ace portrait photog and Bathtub Republic resident Mark Williams Hoelscher shot the band’s entire show recently at Union Stage, and much of it has found its way to YouTube. “Austin”, the advance single from Handsome Hound’s debut full length album Mountain On Fire, also serves as the contest entry, hoping to woo Bob Boilen and judges with its unabashed love of America’s live music capital. The new album drops Friday May 18th with a show at the Black Cat featuring Dupont Brass and Lauren Calve.

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Stranger in the Alps – The Day They Put a Man on the Moon (Tiny Desk Contest)

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.

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Near Northeast – Mostly Just Sand (Tiny Desk Contest)

In case you’re new to this game, every year Bob Boilen and his NPR Music crew invite submissions of live performances (behind a small desk, of course) for the immensely popular Tiny Desk Contest. Since we love music videos so much at Hometown Sounds, we dig deep and highlight the best submissions created by the DC music community. This is the third entry from indie folk band Near Northeast, and their first submission “What To Say” in the midst of 2016’s epic Snowzilla remains tops in our hearts. “Mostly Just Sand” comes from Near Northeast’s 2015 debut album Curios, and this live rooftop version includes an unexpected and yet very DC contribution at the end. Boss move to use this take.

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