Tiny Desk

The Arcs

Today, we celebrate the release of our 500th Tiny Desk concert. It's amazing that something that started as a bit of a wisecrack has been so widely embraced by artists and fans. In 2008 at SXSW in Austin, NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and I met up to see singer Laura Gibson. Laura was so quiet, and the crowd was so loud and rude — something about a March basketball game — that Stephen jokingly asked her to come play at my desk so we could hear her. My lightbulbs went off, and a month later, Laura came to D.C.; I was ready with a couple of cameras, a microphone, my desk and a chair.

In the years since, we've had the privilege of enjoying intimate moments with Adele, Tom Jones, T-Pain, The Tallest Man On Earth, Mavis Staples, Phoenix, Reggie Watts, Andrew W.K., Kacey Musgraves, John Legend, Ralph Stanley, Sylvan Esso, Lianne La Havas and 486 more. It's a list that includes opera singers, Romanian brass bands, legendary bluegrass singers and pickers, a Colombian jazz harpist, a bagpiper, legends of country, jazz, rock, R&B... and, most importantly, artists unknown.

This Tiny Desk Concert with The Arcs is a perfect intersection of the known and the unknown. The band is headed by Dan Auerbach, whom we know from The Black Keys. It's also fronted by Richard Swift, one of the best modern producers of intriguing pop music; he can be found on drums in The Arcs alongside a contemporary R&B drumming legend in Homer Steinweiss, known for his work in The Dap-Kings and with Amy Winehouse. It's a bundle of talent that also includes the Mariachi band Flor de Toloache, which provides backing vocals and plays violin, trumpet and guitar. The songs from The Arcs' album Yours, Dreamily provide a finely crafted blend of soul and pop, with enough playfulness to keep it fun, not perfect.

That's the spirit of the Tiny Desk: It's casual, with a mix of artistry and adventure that's different from hearing a record or seeing a band on a big stage. It's a tiny window that's both intimate and a bit awkward — and always revealing and entertaining.

Yours, Dreamily is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List

  • "Pistol Made Of Bones"
  • "Stay In My Corner"
  • "Outta My Mind"


Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Julia Reihs, Nick Michael; Editor: Niki Walker; Production Assistant: Jillian Beytin; Photo: Jessica Mowery

For more Tiny Desk Concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ben Folds

Performing solo, Folds performs three songs from his new album and two old favorites.

Tiny Desk Concert with Chelsea Wolfe. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chelsea Wolfe

Wolfe takes three songs from the metallic Abyss and makes them howl by their lonesome.

Tiny Desk Concert with Car Seat Headrest. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Car Seat Headrest

Will Toledo is a wordsmith with a vision, as well as a DIY sound that's still finely crafted.

Tiny Desk Concert with EL VY. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

EL VY

The National's Matt Berninger and Menomena's Brent Knopf team up in an intimate setting.

Tiny Desk Concert with Wolf Alice. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

Wolf Alice

The band's music can be noisy and primal, but at the Tiny Desk it showed a different side.

Tiny Desk Concert with River Whyless. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

River Whyless

The North Carolina band fills its rootsy music with unexpected instruments and clever ideas.

Tiny Desk Concert with Benny Sings. Morgan Walker/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Morgan Walker/NPR

Tiny Desk

Benny Sings

The Dutch singer layers R&B, jazz and pop over hip-hop beats in his first-ever U.S. appearance.

Tiny Desk Concert with Natalie Merchant Jun Tsuboike /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike /NPR

Tiny Desk

Natalie Merchant

The singer-songwriter gives a warmhearted performance of two new songs, an old favorite and a hymn.

Tiny Desk Concert with Mariachi Flor De Toloache Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Mariachi Flor De Toloache

While on tour with The Arcs, the powerhouse mariachi band performs live in the NPR Music offices.

Tiny Desk Concert with Rapsody Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Rapsody

Watch the rapper perform three songs from Beauty And The Beast live at the NPR Music offices.

Back To Top