5 Tiny Desks Concerts I Think About On A Daily Basis And 5 I Need To See Happen

Since we’re going to be in self-isolation for a while, it looks like we may not get to see some of our favourite bands live anytime soon. I mean, experts are predicting we’ll be in this mess for at least another three months.

So, it’s good that we have things like Tiny Desk concerts to satisfy us. And, while a lot of us are still replaying Harry Styles’ beautiful and breathtaking performance of songs from his new album Fine Line, there’s a lot more on NPR’s YouTube channel for you to play on repeat.

Lizzo

Lizzo’s Tiny Desk concert is so pure and so full of positivity and self-love. Anytime I listen to it, it reminds me of her set at FOMO earlier this year, where she told the crowd to shout out a fuckboy’s name and say, “fuck Tyrone.”

I still think about the way she sings “Cuz I Love You,” and that “tiny aaassss desk.”

Tyler, The Creator

And look, I’m not about to list my favourite Tiny Desks and not show off my man Tyler, The Creator. Released aaallll the way back in 2017, the performance features songs from his Flower Boy album (when I started to truly fall for him), namely, “Boredom,” “See You Again,” and “Glitter.”

The backup R&B female vocals, the purple mood lighting, double bass and Tyler’s infectious cheeky charm while performing and playing with the crowd, it’s really tight. 

I love this man. 

Tank and the Bangas

I love, love, love Tank and the Bangas’s Tiny Desk performance. Not only is their musical infusion of hip hop meets laid-back jazz meets spoken word poetry so groovy and bopping, but singers Tarriona “Tank” Ball and Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph play off each other and the crowd so well. As NPR puts it in the video description, their call and response feels like two best friends finishing each other’s sentences. 

You can tell they love what they do and are having so much fun in their performance. It’s a damn treat. 

Superorganism

Superorganism’s performance is what happens when you get a group of creatives together after months in self-isolation. When they blow bubbles, squish sponges in buckets and shake maracas to create underwater onomatopoeia to the collective backing vocals chanting “prawn,” groovy bass guitar and drums in “The Prawn Song,” it’s something kinda special.

Srsly, it’s so weird and funky, you can’t help but dance in your room to it and smile. 

Florence + the Machine

And then there’s Florence + the Machine. Anytime I hear this, I need to sit down and hold onto something because for every struck harp sound and raw emotion that emerges from Florence’s voice, I ascend to a higher plane.  

Artists that would go off on a Tiny Desk concert no. 1: Caroline Polachek

I first came across Caroline Polachek when I saw her music video to “So Hot, You’re Hurting My Feelings.” The clip followed an apathetic teen in Hell dancing around a fiery cave yearning and pinning over her steaming hot crush (a big mood tbh). It’s a really fun video and she has such great stage presence, I want a TV series based on the character in this music video.

Anywho, she has an incredible voice and live presence perfect for a Tiny Desk gig. Just listen to her literally sing the guitar riff in “Ocean of Tears,” a song from her debut Pang album released late last year.

Hiatus Kaiyote

This Australian future jazz improv band has some of the chillest slow jam grooves in the biz.

Pumped with echoing vocals by singer songwriter Nai Pam and groovy and funky bass lines and melodies by the instrumentalist improv jazz trio Swooping Duck, their Choose Your Weapon album in 2015 is one of my favourite albums of all time (it was my most played album on Spotify last year, lol).

Give them a listen and just imagine them performing live behind the tiny desk studio of NPR’s Washington, D.C. office.

Orville Peck

C’mon now, it’s time Tiny Desk concerts go back to yeehaw town and play our fave cowboy king. Peck *just* released “Summertime,” so he could easily perform that, “Dead of Night,” and “Winds Change.” A bit like his Pony anniversary livestream except without Bon Appétit cameos.

Doja Cat

Okay so this one is bound to happen at some point. Doja Cat has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, after releasing the absurdly goofy single “Moo,” and fans turning her “Say So” into TikTok’s most viral dance. 

And, now that she’s the second most popular female performer in the R&B category on Spotify, eclipsing Cardi B and only surpassed by her idol Nicki Minaj, it’s about time she does a Tiny Desk. 

Just imagine her going off to the Tiny Desk crowd with songs from her recent Hot Pink album, “Say So” and “Rules,” and just for the lols, “Moo.”

Joana Newsom

In much the same way as Florence + the Machine, I need a Tiny Desk concert by Joana Newsom. Specifically, “Emily” and “Monkey and Bear” from her Ys album, and “Peach, Plum, Pear.” Fun fact, she’s married to Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg). Wild.

Pump that Eastern European fantasy harp and folk sounds into my veins. 

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a writer and producer. He also claims to be a vine historian, avid connoisseur of low-fi beats, indie hip hop and Kermit memes. In a perfect world, he’d be married to Tyler the Creator, own an Arcanine and a Lapras, and don his own Sailor Scouts uniform. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster, which is also, coincidentally, how one might describe him.

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