Albin Lee Meldau: Tiny Desk Concert Albin Lee Meldau possesses a thunderous, deeply affecting voice, which he uses to tell some utterly dark, but demonstrably cathartic, tales.

Tiny Desk

Albin Lee Meldau

Few singers can command an audience's attention quite like Albin Lee Meldau. When I first saw him perform, at a church in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest last March, it felt like the entire audience was on the edge of its seat, hanging on every twisted word. His voice is breathtaking, soulful, thunderous and impossible to ignore.

Watching Meldau in this Tiny Desk set, the first thing you'll notice, apart from that voice, is how possessed he is by the music. The words and melodies seem to take hold of him while at the same time offering a release, if only for a moment, from the knot of emotions he's carrying inside. It's in no small part because Meldau's music is so personal, centered on desperate souls in deeply troubled times. "Lou Lou," the track he opens with and his most popular song, is a story of drug addiction and mental illness, inspired by a girl he knew while growing up in Sweden. He calls "Bloodshot," the track he closes with, "dark and horrible," about the wreckage of a tortured relationship and the crazed paranoia of jealousy. His other two songs, "Mayfly" and "Persistence," are more about hanging on when it seems there's nothing left to live for.

Meldau grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden the son of musical parents. His mother is a music teacher and jazz singer, while Meldau says his father is a "punk rocker." (Both write and record their own songs.) As a kid, Meldau originally played trumpet but mostly dreamed of being a professional soccer player. Now, as a full-time musician, he says his dream was to play the Tiny Desk.

"It's a deep honor to be here," Meldau told the NPR audience. "I've been to the BBC and now I've been here, so now I can die." So far, Albin Lee Meldau has released two EPs — Lovers late last year and Bloodshot, out today (July 21) on Astralwerks — with a debut full-length out later this year.

Bloodshot is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)


Set List

  • "Lou Lou"
  • "Mayfly"
  • "Persistence"
  • "Bloodshot"

Musicians

Albin Lee Meldau (vocals, guitar); Kalle Stenbäcken (keys, drums); Simon Andermo (bass, auxiliary percussion); Simon Söfelde (drums)

Credits

Producers: Robin Hilton, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Tsering Bista; PA: Jenna Li; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Theodore performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Theodore

The music of Theodore is dark and transformative, with the kind of spare elegance you can hear in Sigur Rós or Pink Floyd.

Gary Clark Jr. performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 1, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Gary Clark Jr.

These three songs, from Clark's incendiary new album This Land, roar with the assurance and force of a showman at the top of his game.

Karine Polwart Trio performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 22, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Karine Polwart Trio

Scottish singer, songwriter and essayist Karine Polwart seldom comes stateside, eschewing air travel to reduce her carbon footprint. But on a rare, recent visit, she stopped in D.C. for a Tiny Desk.

Georgia Anne Muldrow performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 26, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Georgia Anne Muldrow

The R&B singer from Los Angeles is all about showing and spreading love.

Courtney Marie Andrews performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 2, 2019 (NPR). NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Courtney Marie Andrews

It was a day when sunlight drenched the office and the songs of heart from Courtney Marie Andrews felt right at home.

Weezer performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Weezer

Performing unplugged, the band forgoes its usual meticulousness in favor of a shaggy, entirely acoustic mix of new songs and '90s-era deep cuts.

Andrea Cruz performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 4, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Andrea Cruz

The singer from Puerto Rico is part of a movement on the island that emphasizes largely acoustic instruments and a folk-based approach to interpreting life before and after the hurricane of 2017.

&More performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 4, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

&More (Chill Moody & Donn T)

Philadelphia Rapper Chill Moody and singer Donn T, along with their crew known as &More, were one of the standout entrants in last year's Tiny Desk Contest. They bring a message of hope and love.

Back To Top