The Both: Tiny Desk Concert Singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo often reside at opposite ends of the volume knob. What unfolds in this performance isn't compromise, though, so much as a creative challenge.

Tiny Desk

The Both

The Both: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/300235010/300237041" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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"

Credits

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

Leslie Odom Jr. plays a Tiny Desk Concert Ben de la Cruz/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ben de la Cruz/NPR

Leslie Odom Jr.

The Tony- and Grammy-winning singer, actor, author and Hamilton star performs three songs from Mr, his genre-bending new solo album.

Dave plays a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Dave

The British rapper made a trip all the way from the UK just for this Tiny Desk performance and powered through a set that made the personal political.

BJ the Chicago Kid performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 3, 2019. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

BJ The Chicago Kid

The 34-year old R&B mainstay used his moment at the desk to fit in as many of his most cherished songs as possible — Nine songs in 17 minutes to be exact.

Rio Mira plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Rio Mira

Rio Mira's music celebrates life along the river that separates Ecuador and Colombia: soft breezes, loving friends, the embrace of Africa and lots of festejando!

Chai plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

CHAI

The group from Japan is on a mission to expand the conventional meaning of "cute." Their performance included synchronized dancing, pom-poms and matching pink uniforms, with a heavy, angular sound.

Jovino Santos Neto Trio plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Jovino Santos Neto Trio

Along with his trio, the pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer cast a spell over the NPR Music offices in this joyful turn behind the Tiny Desk.

Summer Walker plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 13, 2019 (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Summer Walker

One week after releasing a record-shattering studio debut, the Atlanta native brings a glowing R&B set to the Tiny Desk.

Taylor Swift performs during a Tiny Desk concert on Oct. 10, 2019. (Bob Boilen/NPR) Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

Taylor Swift

As she settled in for this stripped-down set, Taylor Swift looked out over the office. "I just decided to take this as an opportunity to show you guys how the songs sounded when I first wrote them."

Brittany Howard plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Brittany Howard

The Alabama Shakes singer and guitarist brought an eight-piece backing band to the Tiny Desk for a set of deeply personal and affecting songs.

Charly Bliss plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

Charly Bliss

The vibrancy of the band can feel childlike and candy-coated. But the group's songs are more about the pain of entering adulthood and leaving some of that sweetness behind.

Back To Top