The Arcs: Tiny Desk Concert It's our 500th show at the Tiny Desk, featuring The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and the new band he started with Richard Swift, Homer Steinweiss, a Mariachi band and more.

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

Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles perform at Tiny Desk on June 11. Photo by Olivia Falcigno/NPR Olivia Falcigno/NPR/Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR/Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Erin Rae

Every time she performs live, Erin Rae transforms her quiet storms into different hues of squalling introspection.

Sting and Shaggy perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 19, 2018. Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Sting And Shaggy

The two musical legends brought plenty of joy to the Tiny Desk, with an unexpected collaboration that works surprisingly well.

Miya Folick plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 21, 2019. Jenna Sterner/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jenna Sterner/NPR

Miya Folick

Miya Folick was raised a Buddhist in Santa Ana, Calif., and is of Ukrainian and Japanese descent. She sings of conviction, not fiction.

Gemma Doherty (left) and Morgan MacIntyre performing as Saint Sister during their Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington, D.C. Michael Zamora/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Michael Zamora/NPR

Saint Sister

The group from Ireland makes music that mixes the organic with the electronic, starting with a large, 34-string lever harp.

Be More Chill plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 10, 2019 (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Be More Chill

On Broadway, Be More Chill is a playful burst of frenetic energy and silly, stealthy sweetness. At the Tiny Desk, it holds onto that rowdy, generous spirit while stripping down the arrangements.

Tasha Cobbs Leonard plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 4, 2019 (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Tasha Cobbs Leonard is widely regarded as one of the best gospel singers performing today. Her set at the Tiny Desk moved many at the NPR offices to tears.

Imogen Heap plays a Tiny Desk Conert on May 4, 2019 (Colin Marshall/NPR). Colin Marshall/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Colin Marshall/NPR

Imogen Heap

Imogen Heap takes us through her many musical talents, from her Frou Frou musical partner, Guy Sigsworth — and their first new song in 17 years — to an extraordinary performance with musical gloves.

Idles plays a Tiny Desk Concert on May 13, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

IDLES

The British madmen brought fury, cathartic rage and deep thoughts to the Tiny Desk for one of the loudest, most raucous performances in memory.

Foxing plays at the Tiny Desk on May 1, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Foxing

Foxing is at the forefront of an emo revival, heavily influenced by late-'90s and early 2000s groups like Sunny Day Real Estate and American Football.

Sesame Street plays a Tiny Desk concert on May 10, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Sesame Street

Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Grover, Rosita, Count von Count, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster and other surprise guests gather at NPR's headquarters to celebrate 50 years of love, learning and joy.

Back To Top