"I'm Pretty Sure I Can See Molecules"
"A Guide to the Outdoors"
He may be a lone guy with an acoustic guitar, but Chris Otepka gives fans a lot of ideas to unpack. Even his backstory necessitates some explanation: The former lead singer of a criminally underheralded band called Troubled Hubble, Otepka now performs solo and unplugged as The Heligoats — a strange name for a guy strumming a guitar, but oddly befitting someone who stuffs his songs with so many sideways ideas and observations. Given the yarns he spins here, it's easy to imagine Otepka envisioning a herd of goats with propellers and setting the concept to music.
It should be noted, as balloons and streamers figuratively flood the room, that Otepka is the star of NPR Music's 100th Tiny Desk Concert. In many ways, he's the perfect act to mark that milestone: His music is best heard in an intimate setting, where his words can unfurl clearly and he can hold a small room rapt — which he does here, to say the least. But he also nicely symbolizes the sheer oddness of our arrangement, with songs and stories that reward the attention and bear repeating. (For more on The Heligoats' Goodness Gracious, one of my favorite albums of 2010, click here.)
For the rest of the afternoon after he performed at our offices, I received a small flood of emails from coworkers who'd happened by his set and become helplessly smitten, so I'm confident that at least a few people will show up to do the same in the comments section below. What better way to celebrate our 100th Tiny Desk Concert than by discovering an artist worth loving?