Marissa Lorusso

NPR Music's Turning the Tables is a project envisioned to challenge sexist and exclusionary conversations about musical greatness. Up until now we have focused on overturning conventional, patriarchal best-of lists and histories of popular music. But this time, it's personal. For 2021, we're digging into our own relationships to the records we love, asking: How do we know as listeners when a piece of music is important to us?

Lucy Dacus gets asked for advice a lot. "I feel very grateful that people care about what I have to say," the 26-year-old singer-songwriter says. Dacus speaks carefully, often pausing to collect herself before finishing a thought, though she's amused at the perception of her as some kind of sage. She doesn't like being prescriptive; she just thinks it's easier to help solve other people's problems. "Sometimes I wonder if I just come off as a really wise person, or am I actually wise?" she laughs. "Everybody has better perspective outside of themselves than within themselves, you know?"

The 2021 Tiny Desk Contest closed for entries on June 7. We've heard songs from every state in the country, from big bands and solo artists, in a huge range of genres and styles. Now, our judges will start to comb through our entries to find a winner. Here are some of the best entries we've seen recently.


The 2021 Tiny Desk Contest closed for entries on June 7. We've heard songs from every state in the country, from big bands and solo artists, in a huge range of genres and styles — and we've seen an equally huge range of desks to match. Now, our judges will start to comb through our entries to find a winner. Here are some of the best entries we've seen recently.


The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


"My love called me many names," Joseph Keckler sings in "GPS Song," which opens his Tiny Desk (home) concert. He proceeds to list them: "Baby animal. Little baby animal. Big baby animal. Black chicken." (It goes on like this for some time.)

Lately, we've been sharing some of our favorite entries to the 2021 Tiny Desk Contest, which closed for entries on June 7. We've heard songs from every state in the country, from big bands and solo artists, in a huge range of genres and styles — and now, our judges will start to comb through our entries to find a winner. Here are some of the best entries we've seen recently.


Throughout the next few weeks, we'll be sharing some of the many 2021 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. The Contest closes soon: You've only got until 11:59 p.m. ET on June 7. If you think you've got what it takes, check out the Official Rules and fill out the eligibility checklist, then film your video and submit it here!

Throughout the next few weeks, we'll be sharing some of the many 2021 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. You can enter the Contest until 11:59 p.m. ET on June 7. If you think you've got what it takes, check out the Official Rules and fill out the eligibility checklist, then film your video and submit it here!

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Ignorance is consumed with and bewildered by a compulsion to care. "There are many things you may ask of me," Tamara Lindeman sings on her fifth album as The Weather Station, "but don't ask me for indifference. / Don't come to me for distance." In so many words, Lindeman offers the crux of this work: the many ways there are to respond to crises; how crucial and how difficult it is to meet them with compassion.

New York Dolls co-founder and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain died on January 13 at the age of 69.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's a new year, and hopefully that means a lot of new great music is coming our way. We've asked some of our colleagues at NPR Music to highlight a few of the albums that they're looking forward to.

"My partner tells me that apparently I only sing when I'm happy," says Anjimile Chithambo, who performs and records music mononymously as Anjimile. It's a slightly surprising admission. For one thing, the singer-songwriter's new album, Giver Taker, is full of piercing self-knowledge; it seems like they don't need anyone to explain their musical process to them. For another, the album is the product of some extremely trying situations: Anjimile wrote many of the songs while in treatment for alcoholism and while coming to terms with their identity as a trans and nonbinary person.

Warning: This article contains descriptions of alleged sexual assault and misconduct.

Updated Aug. 17, 9:15 a.m. to include a response from Mark Kozelek.


Three women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against musician Mark Kozelek, who frequently performs as Sun Kil Moon. The accusations were published by Pitchfork on Thursday in a report by Amy Zimmerman.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, July 3.

Sufjan Stevens has announced a new album, The Ascension, out September 25.

British singer Vera Lynn, whose touching ballads helped sustain the spirits of Britons during WWII, died today, according to a statement from the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity. She was 103 years old.

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Each year, we receive thousands of entries to the Tiny Desk Contest, and the Contest team watches every single one. We get to hear songs from artists all across the country.

Tomorrow Perfume Genius, the band led by singer, songwriter and movement artist Mike Hadreas, releases its fifth studio album, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. With an eclectic palette of Baroque pop, burbling rock and grunge, combined with a dance-focused visual treatment, the album is being greeted as a benchmark in Hadreas' career. NPR Music writers Marissa Lorusso and Cyrena Touros consider its impact, and the importance of Hadreas' career in setting a new standard for exploration of gender, sexuality and identity in rock, in the following exchange.

The 2020 Tiny Desk Contest closed for entries on April 27. We've seen entries from every state in the country; from big bands and solo artists; and from a huge range of styles and genres — and now, our judges will start to comb through our entries to find a winner. In the meantime, we've been sharing some of favorite entries to this year's Contest.


Frances Quinlan showed up to NPR HQ in Washington, D.C., in February, just after Presidents' Day — which explains her multiple mid-performance jokes about White House residents. But even if her Tiny Desk concert had happened in July, the allusions wouldn't have surprised me. As a songwriter, Quinlan is piercingly astute at making connections between her present reality and the wider world; her songs often narrate other stories she's heard, fictional or real, from a place of wide-eyed empathy.

Lately, we've been sharing some of favorite entries to the 2020 Tiny Desk Contest, which closed for entries on April 27. We've seen entries from every state in the country; from big bands and solo artists; and from a huge range of styles and genres — and now, our judges will start to comb through our entries to find a winner.

Over the last few weeks, we've been sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. If you have a song you'd like us to hear, you have until until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 27 to enter the Contest.

Lately, we've been sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears.

Over the last few weeks, we've been sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. We recently extended our deadline for entries: You now have until until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 27 to enter the Contest.

When the Tiny Desk Contest team is looking through entry videos, we're often impressed by where artists take us. This year, for example, we've already seen a brass band performing in a forest (using a redwood stump as a desk), a small orchestra stuffed into an office space and a lot of plants.

Like many who have graced the Tiny Desk before him, the awkwardness of performing in a working office wasn't lost on Harry Styles. "It just feels like you're in the way," he joked. But when you watch his set from behind Bob Boilen's desk, you'd never suspect any discomfort.

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. There's still time to enter: We're accepting videos until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30. You can watch a playlist of all the entries we've featured on the blog on YouTube.

For the past six years, NPR Music has held an annual competition to find the best undiscovered artist to come play at Bob Boilen's desk and tour the country with NPR Music. We call it the Tiny Desk Contest. Our five winners submitted videos that stopped us in our tracks and have gone on to do great things, like touring the world and winning Grammy awards. We've included their winning songs, plus other tracks of theirs that we love, on this playlist.

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