Tiny Desk

Shearwater

We've come up with many excuses to have artists come in and perform Tiny Desk Concerts at the workspace of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. Some are too quiet to be well-served by traditional live concerts, while others are little-known staff favorites who wouldn't ordinarily receive a large-scale webcast presentation. Usually, it's just an opportunity to bring in artists who, for one reason or another, haven't gotten as much NPR Music exposure as we'd like to give them.

In the case of Shearwater, however, we just got greedy. We streamed and archived a full live concert and a studio session by the band just a few months ago. I've written about Shearwater on Song of the Day and yammered about it on Morning Edition and All Songs Considered. All Songs producer Robin Hilton and I even sneaked out of an NPR Music webcast at SXSW in order to see the group this past March, so it's not as if we've been deprived of Shearwater in 2008.

But we're not fools, either: Given a chance to soak in the swooning majesty of the band's soaring, evocative rock, we seized it. We'd initially been told to expect a bare-bones incarnation of Shearwater — namely, singer Jonathan Meiburg, with some additional percussion and instrumentation from Thor Harris. (As a side note, if his name weren't Thor, people would call him Thor anyway.)

We were instead treated to an expanded version of Shearwater: Meiburg, Harris, bassist/keyboardist Kimberly Burke and multi-instrumentalists Kevin Schneider and Jordan Geiger, who trotted out banjos and auto parts to go with Harris' homemade "waterphone" and hammered dulcimer. It all added up to a glorious four-song set that was at once pristine and ramshackle — equal parts clarity and clatter — not to mention one of our best Tiny Desk Concerts yet.

Set List

  • "Rooks"
  • "Leviathan, Bound"
  • "North Col"
  • "I Was a Cloud"
[+] 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 The Arcs. Jessica Mowery/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jessica Mowery/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Arcs

It's our 500th show at the Tiny Desk, featuring The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and his new band.

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.

Back To Top