Tag Archives: Tiny Desk

Don’t Stay Home This Week 4/29

Now that we wasted so much of the weekend with Endgame and the Battle of Winterfell, how about cooling off with some live #DCmusic? Here are our picks for the week ahead.

Monday 4/29:
Underground hotspot Dwell hosts a four band indie rock bill tonight with two touring acts, Lost Dog and Cool Original, and two DC acts we recommend from our podcast series, Max Gowan and Spring Silver.


Tuesday 4/30:
Get an early taste of this year’s Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival this Tuesday night at Pearl Street Warehouse. Justin Trawick‘s long-running 9 Songwriter Showcase gathers musicians playing at Saturday’s festival, including Reed Appleseed, The October Sessions, Jess Eliot Myhre of the Bumper Jacksons, and more. But first, here’s Trawick and his trio The Common Good playing a new song called “These Days” in Pearl Street’s green room for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest.




Wednesday 5/01:
GoldPants Party wins the battle of Wednesday night with superhero Emma G and feisty synthpop diva Loi Loi. Get to Sauf Haus by 8 to see Emma G’s new music video for the latest single “Smile”.

Thursday 5/02:
Thursday evening the after-work showcase Luce Unplugged at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center presents soul and funk band Backbeat Underground, veterans of our Kennedy Center Millennium Stage series.

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Iza Flo – Dance Anthem (Tiny Desk Contest)

Taking NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest rule about performing in front of a desk quite seriously, Isabelle de Leon‘s new all-lady supergroup Iza Flo’s debut song “Dance Anthem” fills up and takes over a small office with a soulful house music party jam. Each musician gets a feature, so here’s your score card: Jillian Willis (vocals), Dior Ashley Brown (MC), Natalie Ahearn (keys), Tiffany Lloyd (bass), Alena Budd (guitar), Rikayyah Wilson (percussion) & Isabelle De Leon (drums). In the vein of Tortured Soul and DC’s own House of Soul, this display of house music with live vocals and instrumentation is a powerful force.

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Oh He Dead – Lonely Sometimes (Tiny Desk Contest)

Indie soul band Oh He Dead’s submission to NPR Music’s 2019 Tiny Desk Contest is a new jam called “Lonely Sometimes”. This recording at the Lily Pad by Brian Knox gives the song a big, echo-y vibe consistent with its classic soul roots. Cynthia Johnson and Andrew Valenti’s band continues to grow in style and popularity in DC’s music scene. They next return to the scene of their 2016 debut breakout show at this year’s Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival on Saturday May 4th.

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Near Northeast – Shelter (Tiny Desk Contest)

For four years now NPR Music has sponsored the Tiny Desk Contest, inspiring bands all over the world to film themselves playing a song live in front of a desk to win a chance to play Bob Boilen’s legendary space. Every year Hometown Sounds rounds up our faves of the entrants from the DC area, hoping that one of our own worthy bands will win the nod. Today’s feature is Near Northeast, the gorgeous experimental chamber folk band supported by Etxe Records. They spent the winter behind closed doors crafting new songs like “Shelter”, their 2019 Tiny Desk Contest entry shot and edited by longtime video collaborator Kip Radt. Mark your calendars to hear Near Northeast’s new jams Sunday May 5th at the Pie Shop with fellow DC band Swoll and Philly’s Son Step.

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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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