Field Recordings

Wild Nothing: Nuanced Pop At 8,500 FeetKCRW-FM

When most people think of Palm Springs, visions of softly baked desert landscapes come to mind. However, upon arriving at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, we were warned that the temperature differential between the desert and the top cliff of the Chino Canyon was about 30 degrees — cold enough that it would require warm clothing and an adventurous spirit. But Wild Nothing singer-songwriter Jack Tatum and his tour players were game to load onto the rotating tram car and ascend to more than 8,500 feet above sea level.

Abandoning extraneous gear at the Tramway landing, both the band and our crew hiked down into the San Bernardino National Forest and then up onto a side of the Mount San Jacinto peak. With rapidly freezing hands, the band performed its song "This Chain Won't Break" for this Field Recording with a stripped-down assortment of instruments (two guitars, an amplified iPad, a bunch of dried tree pods turned into a makeshift shaker), giving this ode to a challenged relationship a much more nuanced, somber feel.

Once our feet were solidly back on the desert floor, the members of Wild Nothing were surprised to come across a group of fans who'd recognized the band from its recent Coachella performance. We toasted the chance meeting with some local wine and a random piece of sheet cake — and took the requisite Instagram pictures — before setting out for warmer climes.

Producers: Saidah Blount, Mito Habe-Evans, Amy Schriefer, Collin Walzak; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Mikey Harboldt; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Special thanks to the Ace Hotel Palm Springs; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann and Keith Jenkins

[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

Tift Merritt Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

Tift Merritt On Mountain Stage

The alt-country singer-songwriter plays old and new material, both solo and with the house band.

Listen Loading… 25:52
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/465460741/465461098" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Rodrigo Amarante performs live at Pickathon for OPB. Kristina Moravec/OPB hide caption

toggle caption Kristina Moravec/OPB

Favorite Sessions

Rodrigo Amarante, 'Maná' (Live)

opbmusic.org

The Brazilian singer performs an upbeat song on a stage made of branches at Pickathon in Oregon.

Palehound performs at NPR's 2015 CMJ Showcase, which took place at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City on Oct 14, 2015. Loren Wohl for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Loren Wohl for NPR

Front Row

Palehound, Live In Concert

Ellen Kempner's band marries rock muscle to bedroom folk's wiry vulnerability. Watch a full set.

DIIV performs live at the Pickathon Woods Stage for opbmusic. Christopher Sohler/Pickathon hide caption

toggle caption Christopher Sohler/Pickathon

Favorite Sessions

DIIV, 'Yr Not Far/Dopamine' (Live)

opbmusic.org

The Brooklyn guitar band segues from "Yr Not Far" into "Dopamine," a frank song about addiction.

JR JR performs live at Sonos Studio for KCRW. Erik Voake/KCRW hide caption

toggle caption Erik Voake/KCRW

Favorite Sessions

JR JR, 'Gone' (Live)

KCRW

Watch the band once known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. whistle through "Gone" at L.A.'s Sonos Studio.

Son Little performs a set at NPR's 2015 CMJ showcase, which took place at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City on Oct. 14, 2015. Loren Wohl for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Loren Wohl for NPR

Front Row

Son Little, Live In Concert

The Philadelphia singer-guitarist's trio showed up at a New York club gig in a blues-rock mood.

Back To Top

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor