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Tiny Desk Concerts - Video

Tiny Desk Concerts from NPR's All Songs Considered features your favorite musicians performing at Bob Boilen's desk in the NPR Music office. Watch videos from Passion Pit, The xx, Wilco, Adele, Phoenix, Tinariwen, tUnE-yArDs and many more.More from Tiny Desk Concerts - Video »

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Rubblebucket

Before Rubblebucket played its Tiny Desk Concert, its members asked if they could bring a confetti cannon. And, though I said no — dear coworkers, I really do care about you — the band still brought a fun mix of brass and brash to the Tiny Desk.

At the front of this band is Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth; she sings clever words, straps a tambourine to her foot and plays the flute, while he plays trumpet, flute and more. I really like this band and its attitude — party-friendly but with a serious side, perhaps informed by Traver's recent battle with cancer — which comes through nicely on Rubblebucket's new album, Survival Sounds. So set aside a few minutes to take this little carousel ride, courtesy of a band like few others.

Daniel Lanois

I came to know Daniel Lanois through his instrumental collaboration with Brian EnoApollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks, in 1983. I fell in love with Lanois' own music through his singing and the heartfelt, textured songs on albums like 1989's lovely Acadie (with its New Orleans flavor) and 1993's For The Beauty Of Wynona (with its haunting sounds and stories). Most fans know Lanois as a remarkable producer for the likes of Bob DylanU2 and Peter Gabriel.

What Daniel Lanois brought to the Tiny Desk recalled that early work while still sounding new: He led an all-instrumental, somewhat improvisational trio based on the sort of studio processing for which he's become famous. In essence, he brought the studio out of the studio — with the aid of two great players, drummer Brian Blade and bassist Jim Wilson — and directly to my desk. The title of Lanois' new album, Flesh And Machine, describes the music well. He never says a word, but he sculpts some serious, hypnotic sounds.

Trey Anastasio

He came so humble, holding his acoustic guitar and wearing his heart on his sleeve. Trey Anastasio isn't new to NPR: Concerts of his have even included "All Things Reconsidered," a variation on the All Things Considered theme.

Anastasio was in town to perform a concert with his big band of brass and brawn, but this selection of Phish and solo tunes felt more personal. "Summer of '89" is about his wife, Sue, while "Backwards Down the Number Line" reflects on his bandmates and friends. He opened this set with "Sleep Again," a song that looks to a better and brighter future. It's a treat to catch such an intimate glimpse of someone often seen in arenas, steeped in collaboration.

HMSTR

You could never fully steal the show when you're followed by the blown-out spectacle of Sun Ra Arkestra's Tiny Desk Concert. But the opening act kept jumping on the piano and nibbling on the set, literally pulling up the carpet and leaving "presents" on the floor. How could we not have them back? Did I mention they're hamsters?

Joni and Nash — first names only, please, like Madonna and Cher — are HMSTR. Certainly not the first band to count rodents among its members, but at least they refuse to release a punk album with no punk to be found. "Snow Day" is HMSTR's first single, a twee-as-all-get-out holiday pop-punk song by virtue of having "snow" in its title. After what sounds like digital snowflakes, the song unleashes a one-minute snowball fight with the fuzziest Tiny Desk destroyers we've ever seen.

You can download "Snow Day" from HMSTR's Bandcamp page. Happy holidays!

Lucinda Williams

She came to the Tiny Desk a little unsure, and left singing "West Memphis" with intensity and passion. Lucinda Williams has a voice like no other, and it shines in these intimate moments.

Williams is on a roll with a new double album, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, which is filled with fresh and beautiful songs — all this from a songwriter known for working at a deliberate pace. Hearing her perform these new songs with her brilliant band was a rare and exciting treat.