Tiny Desk

The Walkmen

The Walkmen: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/157190242/157485572" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Walkmen's wiry, weary, seething rock 'n' roll has mellowed in recent years, as vein-bulging hollers have given way to a richer, more gently paced and layered sound. But it's still not exactly the stuff of campfire crooning: We'd spent the days leading up to this Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices wondering how on earth The Walkmen would downsize these songs behind Bob Boilen's desk. For one thing, Hamilton Leithauser sings with such intensity that it'd be hard to dial down the instrumentation too much — you'd never hear it.

Leithauser may wield an acoustic guitar in these three songs, but this is no awkward attempt to shoehorn booming rock anthems into meek arrangements that don't suit them. From the opening notes of "Heaven," the magnificently stirring title track of The Walkmen's recent seventh album, it became clear that these guys were making the Tiny Desk accommodate their sound rather than the other way around. Leithauser's voice soared far down the hallways at various points in all three of these songs from Heaven — "Remember, rememmmmmmmber, all we fight for!" "It's been soooooooooooooo long!" "Love is luuuuuuuuuuuuuck!" — lending them grit and grace, not to mention hair-raising intensity that feels a little jarring coming from a bunch of guys in crisp button-up shirts.

Set List:
  • "Heaven"
  • "We Can't Be Beat"
  • "Love Is Luck"
Credits:

Producer and Editor: Bob Boilen; Videographers: Becky Lettenberger, Nick Michael and Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; photo by Blake Lipthratt/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Delicate Steve performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Mar. 3, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Delicate Steve

This fierce and lyrical guitar player writes playful instrumental music led by hooky vocals — but there is no voice, just the human-like twang of a glass slide on a guitar.

Sampha performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 7, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Sampha

A Tiny Desk Concert as intimate as it gets (that's saying something). Just Sampha, a piano and three heart-wrenching songs that seem to double as coping mechanisms.

Red Baraat performs at Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 8, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tiny Desk Special Edition: Red Baraat's Holi Celebration

The Brooklyn bhangra band come to the Tiny Desk in celebration of Holi, the Hindu festival of color that welcomes the coming of spring.

Tank And The Bangas perform perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Mar. 6, 2017. (Niki Walker/NPR) Niki Walker/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Niki Walker/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tank And The Bangas

Tank And The Bangas' victory lap around the Tiny Desk was momentous and deeply touching.

Maren Morris performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 16, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Maren Morris

One of the newest Grammy winners stops by the Tiny Desk to share her winking, sometimes tongue-in-cheek songs.

Ninet Tayeb performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 14, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ninet

One of Israel's most popular performers may fully win over fans of hard-playing rock.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 23, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band brought their euphoric horns to the Tiny Desk for a raucous, joyous set.

Little Simz performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 23, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Little Simz

Little Simz has been compared to Lauryn Hill for her self-reflective wordplay. And though the British lyricist is a relative new-comer, her Tiny Desk performance was poised and confident.

Agnes Obel performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 9, 2016. (Raquel Zaldivar/NPR) Raquel Zaldivar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

Tiny Desk

Agnes Obel

Agnes Obel brings the Tiny Desk three alluring and powerful songs.

Esme Patterson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 1, 2017. (NPR) NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Tiny Desk

Esmé Patterson

Esmé Patterson has dropped the banjos and folk from her previous project Paper Bird, and in their place are electric guitars and a backing band worth getting behind.

Back To Top