Tiny Desk

The Antlers

Sometimes the good guys win. Back in January 2009, hardly anyone had heard of the rock band The Antlers. The trio, featuring Peter Silberman, Michael Lerner and Darby Cicci, had recently finished a homemade CD called Hospice. The three were playing a smattering of shows in noisy clubs and were lucky if 20 people showed up. Some of the more curious listeners would leave with one of those hand-pressed albums, not realizing what a rare collectible it would become.

In the months since, something happened. Fans fell in love with the three unassuming guys from Brooklyn, their epic and heartfelt shows and, most of all, Hospice. Frontman Silberman's elegy to a dying friend is full of tremendous grief and longing. But instead of evoking despair, the poetry, soaring orchestrations and Silberman's delicate falsetto left listeners in awe at how fragile and beautifully mysterious life can be. By August, Frenchkiss Records had given Hospice a proper release, while the band booked sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom in New York and other venues generally reserved for more established acts.

When a group of us from the NPR Music team caught a show by The Antlers in Washington, D.C., a year ago, the band was still finding its way. This past fall, when The Antlers played a sold-out concert at the CMJ Festival in New York, the group stunned listeners with its extraordinary range, moving seamlessly from quiet moments of grace to thundering swells of chaotic noise.

That said, for this Tiny Desk Concert performance, Silberman, Lerner and Cicci pulled way back and gave an amazing, stripped-down performance of three songs from Hospice: "Bear," "Atrophy" and the haunting "Sylvia." We couldn't have been happier to have them, or happier for the success the band has had this past year.

Set List

  • "Bear"
  • "Atrophy"
  • "Sylvia"


Bob Boilen (camera); edited by Michael Katzif; photo by May-Ying Lam

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Tiny Desk Concert with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. Julia Reihs/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Julia Reihs/NPR

Tiny Desk

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

The trumpeter presents his emotionally charged, jazz-hybridized "stretch music" in performance.

Tiny Desk Concert with Deqn Sue. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Deqn Sue

She came so close to winning NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert Contest, we just had to see her play.

Tiny Desk Concert with Lianne La Havas Jun Tsuboike /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jun Tsuboike /NPR

Tiny Desk

Lianne La Havas

The singer is soulful yet playful, raw and vulnerable in a commanding kind of way.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Internet. Cameron Robert/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Cameron Robert/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Internet

The R&B band might just be the oddest thing to come from the hip-hop collective Odd Future.

Tiny Desk Concert with Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg. Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Joan Shelley

As technology rules the day, here's a reminder that a single voice can carry deep emotion.

Tiny Desk Concert with Gina Chavez Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Tiny Desk

Gina Chavez

The Austin singer-songwriter performs with intense openness, directness and warmth.

Fiona Apple performs with the Watkins Family Hour at the Tiny Desk. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Tiny Desk

Watkins Family Hour

With help from Fiona Apple, two Nickel Creek alums gather a band to perform old and new songs.

Tiny Desk Concert with Chris and Morgane Stapleton Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chris Stapleton

With his wife Morgane, the country singer-songwriter sings patient, detailed songs of devotion.

Tiny Desk Concert with Sam Lee Lydia Thompson /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson /NPR

Tiny Desk

Sam Lee

The singer found his voice by finding and preserving old British, Irish and Scottish folk songs.

Tiny Desk Concert with Leon Bridges Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Tiny Desk

Leon Bridges

Bridges is easy to love and hard to resist, with purity in his voice that's untouched by modern pop.

Back To Top