Tiny Desk

The Both

Download Audio

16 min 13 sec

Singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo are often at opposite ends of the volume knob. But what started as separate sets during a mutual tour, then a few walk-ons during Leo's solo set, is now an adventure in collaboration and mutual songwriting — and the birth of The Both. Months after this Tiny Desk Concert, which we recorded in February, there's an album. For the announcement of that record, Leo said, "The writing process has largely been long-distance, but it's been line by line, verse by verse, part by part; we'll send each other something and go back and forth until it's finished."

When they showed up to play together at the Tiny Desk, there was a lot of uncertainty and a sense of adventure. The performances weren't about perfection so much as inspiration, with Mann rocking a bit more and Leo hunting for subtlety in his guitar playing. It wasn't compromise, though, so much as a creative challenge that's unfolding during this set — one of their earliest public performances of these songs. It's fascinating to watch them sing in uncharted territory.

Set List

  • "You Can't Help Me Now"
  • "Milwaukee"
  • "No Sir"
  • "The Gambler"


Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Olivia Merrion, Meredith Rizzo; photo by Jim Tuttle/NPR

[+] 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