Archive for the ‘Laura Gibson’ Category


As on October 1, NPR has started the Tiny Desk Playlist page.

As of today there are 9 Playlists on the page.  I’m not going to comment on them, as I’ve already posted about all of these shows (except CHAI as of now).  I might disagree with some of these lists, but whatever the case they are a good introduction to Tiny Desks if you haven’t already seen one.

5 Tiny Desk Concerts That Will Literally Make You Cry
• Julien Baker (read more)
• Yusuf/Cat Stevens (read more)
• Bernie and The Believers (read more)
• Rev. Sekou and The Seal Breakers (read more)
• Barbara Hannigan (read more)

The 5 Most Uplifting Tiny Desk Concerts
• Lizzo (read more)
• Superorganism (read more)
• Fragile Rock (read more)
• Dan Deacon (read more)
• Mucca Pazza (read more)

The 5 Wildest Tiny Desk Concerts
• Gogol Bordello (read more)
• Red Baraat (read more)
• The Cristina Pato Trio (read more)
• George Li (read more)
• Dirty Three (read more)

The Best-Sounding Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1 [selected by “the guy mixing the performances and bopping his head along just off (and sometimes on) screen” Josh Rogosin].
• Monsieur Periné (read more)
• Andrew Bird (read more)
• Nick Hakim (read more)
• Tedeschi Trucks Band (read more)
• PJ Morton (read more)

The Best Of The Very Beginning Of Tiny Desk Concerts
• Laura Gibson (read more)
• Vic Chesnutt (read more)
• Tom Jones (read more)
• Thao Nguyen (read more)
• Dr. Dog (read more)

The 5 Best ‘Before They Were Stars’ Tiny Desk Concerts
• Brandi Carlile (read more)
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals (read more)
• Adele (read more)
• H.E.R. (read more)
• Mitski (read more)

Tiny Desk Trick Or Treat: Our 5 Favorite Concerts In Costume
• Neko Case’s Halloween Special (read more)
• Blue Man Group (read more)
• Mucca Pazza (read more)
• CHAI (read more)
• Preservation Hall Jazz Band (read more)

#ElTiny: The Best Latinx Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1
• Natalia Lafourcade (read more)
• Jorge Drexler (read more)
• Juanes & Mon Laferte (read more)
• iLe (read more)
• Café Tacvba (read more)

Lianne La Havas’ 5 Favorite Tiny Desk Concerts
• Tank And The Bangas
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
• Noname
• Tamino
• Mac Miller

[READ: October 28, 2019] “God’s Caravan”

This story opens with boys crouching in the dirt shooting marbles.  I assumed it was set in the 1950s, so I was surprised to see that the boy knew of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk.  But it is set in Memphis, Tennessee–“Soulsville the black part.”

Earl was kicking butt and winning marbles left and right when the boys heard an ice cream truck trundle up.  But this was no ice cream truck.  Rather it was a van and it was playing “I’ve come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee.”  On the side of the van, painted in “blood of Jesus” red were the words “God’s Caravan.”  The speakers then broadcast “When I say, ‘Ride or die’…you say ‘Amen.'”

The voice said “Ride or Die” and Earl and the other boys all shouted back “Amen.”

The door opened and there was the pastor, dressed in black judge’s robes.  He said he had sweets for their hearts. (more…)

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2016-12-05-21-06-09SOUNDTRACK: LAURA GIBSON-Tiny Desk Concert #200 (March 5, 2012).

I’d published these posts without Soundtracks while I was reading the calendars.  But I decided to add Tiny Desk Concerts to them when I realized that I’d love to post about all of the remaining 100 or shows and this was a good way to knock out 25 of them.

gibsonLaura Gibson performed the first Tiny Desk Concert in 2008.  The whole enterprise was started because of her.  Bob had seen her in a club and her quiet music was overpowered by the audience.  So he invited her to play in his quiet office.  And now, here it was 200 shows later and Gibson is back–the first person to headline twice.

Things have certainly changed since then.  There was one camera on her face and another on her guitar.  There was minimal editing and the sound was fine.

Since then they have stepped up the game–multiple cameras, professional lighting and, as Stephen Thomspon writes: Bob’s desk “permanently houses a microphone that’s worth more than my car. (Three hundred dollars!).”

2006 was the release year of her debut album.  She had put out her third album in 2012.  She was quite back in 2006 and is still quiet in 2012.  But for this show she has brought along some help:  Brian Perez – Vocals, Percussion; Matthew Berger – Drums; Johanna Kunin – Vocals, Piano, Flute; and Jill Coykendall – Clarinet.

The songs are very quiet.  “Feather Lungs” begins with some lovely harmony vocals and then Gibson on keyboard.  The flute and clarinet add layers of music which really fleshes out this quiet song. The thumping drum that opens “La Grande” really sets the tone of a much heavier song.  This proves to be a romping song with Gibson on guitar and a lot of intensity behind her.

“Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed” slows things down again, with quiet percussion and Gibson’s delicate guitar and vocals.  She says that the last time she was there it was a Monday morning and there was not much enthusiasm to sing along with her.  But since it’s a Friday afternoon, she invites eveyone to hum a long to “The Rushing Dark.”  Of course, she has backing vocalists so it’s unclear if anyone else joins in, but this a capaella song sounds lovely.

[READ: December 6, 2016] “Bestiary”

Near the end of November, I found out about The Short Story Advent Calendar.  Which is what exactly?  Well…

The Short Story Advent Calendar returns, not a moment too soon, to spice up your holidays with another collection of 24 stories that readers open one by one on the mornings leading up to Christmas.  This year’s stories once again come from some of your favourite writers across the continent—plus a couple of new crushes you haven’t met yet. Most of the stories have never appeared in a book before. Some have never been published, period.

I already had plans for what to post about in December, but since this arrived (a few days late for advent, but that was my fault for ordering so late) I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.

“Bestiary” is an interesting “short story” because it is not exactly a short story.  It’s not even exactly fiction.  Rather, after an excellent epigram from Robert Kroetsch “We are the animals who talk the fables in which the animals talk.  We are talking animals, claiming that animal’s don’t talk.”  The piece consists mostly of factual stories about animal behavior.

Each one opens with a title that ties into the piece beneath it. (more…)

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feb2003SOUNDTRACK: LAURA GIBSON-Tiny Desk Concert #1 (April 22, 2008).

gibsonI have enjoyed many of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts over the years.  And while I was listening to an All Songs Considered show, it was mentioned that there have been over 200 shows (I believe it is now over 300).  And I realized that I had missed dozens of good ones.  So, being the kind of person I am, I decided to start watching/listening to them all.  I don’t typically watch most of them as they’re usually not very visually interesting–they’re fun to watch for a minute or so, but most of the artists are there to sing, not to do visual entertainment.  So usually I just listen while doing something else.

I toyed with the idea of writing about one a day until I was done.  But the logistics of that made my head hurt.  So instead, I will write about them all over the course of however long it takes.  (And since they don’t post one every day, I will catch up eventually).

Laura Gibson had the first ever Tiny Desk show, and there’s some notable things about the show itself.  First, look how empty Bob’s shelves are!   And the camera work is a little wonky, I think.  I also enjoy how they introduce this performance without a clue as to whether there would be more of them!

I had never heard of Laura Gibson before listening to this.  She plays simple but beautiful guitar (I enjoyed watching how confidently she played the chords and individual strings).  But the big selling point is her voice.  Her voice is very quiet (this was the impetus for the Tiny Desk concept–they saw her in a club and the crowd was too loud for them to enjoy her so they invited her up to their office).  But her voice is also slightly peculiar (in a very engaging way), which you can especially hear on “A Good Word, An Honest Man,” where she is practically a capella.

She sings four songs: “Hands in Pockets,” “A Good Word, An Honest Man,” “Come by Storm,” “Night Watch.”  The sing-along at the end of the last song is really pretty–shame the audience wasn’t mic’d.  All four songs are beautiful and slightly haunting–her delivery is so spare you kind of lean in to hear more.  She currently has three albums out, and I’d like to investigate her music further.

[READ: October 31, 2013] “A Comet’s Tale”

Despite the fact that this article talks about and more or less guarantees the end of the world by asteroid or comet it was incredibly enjoyable and staggeringly informative.

Bissell begins by talking about the Biblical Apocalypse and how in 1862 Premillennial Dispensationalism (premillennialism is the belief that Christ will return before setting up his millennial kingdom and dispensationalism divides up the Bible and human history into various eras or dispensations, based on how God deals with humanity) was smuggled into the Americas and it has never left.  Fully 59% of Americans now believe that Revelations will come to pass (although what that could possibly literally mean is another question).  [Incidentally the book is not called Revelations, it is Revelation or more specifically Revelation to John.  And all of that numerology (666) must mean something right?  Well, yes, it means that the Ancient world was obsessed with numerology. The bible makes great use of the trick of predicting the future by describing the past.

Bissell pulls back from the bible to look at planet Earth “the most ambitious mass murderer in the galaxy.”  He then lists all the atrocities that have happened from natural causes to all species in the history of the planet.  But even recent tragedies (which seem to only happen to people in far off countries says the westerner) are only by happenstance happening there.  Between overpopulation and global warming we are preparing for our own apocalypse.  Although we also mustn’t look too crazy like in The Late Great Planet Earth (which still sells around 10,00 copies a year).  In that book Hal Lindsey predicted the end of the world but also the rise of a single world religion, a Soviet Ethiopian invasion of Israel and the obliteration of Tokyo, London and New York.  But astonishingly, Lindsey also worked for the Reagan administration, much like Tim LeHaye (famed “author” of the Left Behind series) was co-chairman of Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential campaign.  Apocalyptos have way too much power in this country.

But even if we weren’t preparing for our own doom, there would still be space items to do it for us. Like 1950DA an asteroid that has near-missed the earth fifteen times and may just not miss us in the future. (more…)

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