Bob Boilen

Year-end lists are a way to uncover hidden gems, not simply to validate tastes. I'm sure many lists you've looked at didn't have that one favorite you hold near and dear. This episode of All Songs is about our hidden gems, the ones that, in the give-and-take of making a representative staff list, got left off.

Sometimes the world turns obstacles into magic. When Dirty Projectors let us know they couldn't make it to the band's Tiny Desk performance until late in the day, we were sad because the clocks had recently turned back for the fall, we knew that our beautiful, natural light would be gone and it'd be dark.

Well, kids, it's been another year of holograms, headlines and big human messes here in Orbit City. At least music brought us together again and again in 2018, whether in the crowd to see Mitski, Janelle Monáe or Brandi Carlile, or surrounded by strangers in bed at Max Richter's SLEEP concert. This Year in Review edition of All Songs Considered is built like a little time machine to move us chronologically through 2018.

Jeff Tweedy's written a book that's incredibly open-hearted and honest.

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Bill Baird's video for "Facial Disc" creates a world of patterns and scenes as abstract as the noise he makes on guitar and synthesizers.

Guest DJ: boygenius

Nov 19, 2018

The group is new, but all of the members of boygeniusJulien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers — are Tiny Desk Concert alumae.

The new deluxe version of "The White Album" includes previously unreleased demos, outtakes, new stereo and 5.1 mixes and rare photos.
Apple Corps Ltd.

The story of Bernie and the Believers is the most powerful I've ever come across at the Tiny Desk. It's about a beautiful act of compassion that ultimately led to this performance, and left me and my coworkers in tears.

Midway through Half Waif's Tiny Desk, singer Nandi Rose Plunkett stops to let us all know that this particular Half Waif show is extra special. "So today we're actually 'Full Waif,' because I am joined by my dear friends," she says. "These are all musicians who have played with the band Half Waif over the past five years, but we've never all played together until now! So thanks for the opportunity to get 'Full Waif' together."

It's Sept. 11, 1968 in Studio Two at Abbey Road. The Beatles had just finished their ninth attempt at recording "Glass Onion" when John Lennon, the song's chief writer, calls out to Chris Thomas sitting in a control room above the studio. "What do you think upstairs, Chris?" The 21-year old assistant to producer George Martin replies on a talkback microphone, "It wasn't quite together on the first verse, I don't think." And so, The Beatles launch into take 10 (which you can hear below).

Tōth's "No Reason" opens with hopeful words: "I wanna be happy for no reason / like the sun rising exactly / in every season." It's the second song from Alex Toth's new project. You may also know him as either Alexander F or as one of the founding members of Rubblebucket.

He came to the Tiny Desk with friends, a lot of friends. In fact, Josh Karpeh, best known in the music world as Cautious Clay, put together a backing vocal ensemble of friends he's known since his days as a music student at The George Washington University here in D.C. And so, with five singers - along with a drummer, keyboardist and a bassist - Cautious Clay brought a warm, thoughtful and chill vibe to the Tiny Desk.

This week's essential mix includes songs of letting go, of healing, moving on and finding a deeper appreciation for the wonder of life. Tarriona "Tank" Ball (of the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest-winning band Tank And The Bangas) offers a surprising and beautiful take on the sentimental 1938 classic "I'll Be Seeing You." The psych-pop multi-instrumentalist (and former All Songs Considered intern) J.

Beirut's Zach Condon is a magpie for sounds, collecting left-behind instruments and equipment from around the world. Condon can't explain what drove him from his hometown in New Mexico or his studio in Berlin to record Beirut's new album, Gallipoli in rural Italy, but he's the first to own up to "reading too many Tin Tin books" and having a childhood obsession with Indiana Jones. From halfway around the world, Condon, in this conversation, walked All Songs Considered's Bob Boilen through the experience that inspired Gallipoli's title track.

The video begins nightmarishly enough: a police officer with a rifle holds a dog on a leash, there are three people with paper-bagged masks over their heads, our main character under the covers, the famous Bob Dylan line from "The Times They Are a-Changin'" ("Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command") scribbled on paper. Meanwhile, J.S. Ondara, the singer from Nairobi, Kenya via Minnesota sings atop a sliding bass line: "It was just an American dream."

I recently hosted a "pitch session" at the DIY Music Conference hosted by CD Baby in Nashville. It was an opportunity for independent artists to have their music heard and critiqued by a panel of music industry folks including a record producer, a music supervisor and music journalist.

My No. 1 album for 2017 was Big Thief's Capacity. In 2016 their album Masterpiece was in my top five. So when I heard that Adrianne Lenker, Big Thief's singer and songwriter, had a new solo record, I was all ears.

The album is called abysskiss (spelled as one word, all lower case). It's a quiet affair, introspective and deep-reaching in it's lyrics, and Adrianne Lenker talked about her desire to explore those ideas when we spoke at the end of September.

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Today we have some incredible, never-before-seen footage of John Lennon recording his seemingly cutthroat song, "How Do You Sleep?" It's a song he released in 1971 and directed at his

What were you doing when you were 7 years old?

Even in an office in broad daylight, Julie Byrne sings with both a husk and a whisper as if she's gone a long time without speaking - as if she's been alone, as if she's been traveling. Her opening number at the Tiny Desk, "Sleepwalker," sings of the road as a source of freedom.

I lived my life alone before you
And with those that I'd never succeeded to love
And I grew so accustomed to that kind of solitude
I fought you, I did not know how to give it up

AMERICANAFEST just ended and we're back from Nashville with 10 thrilling tunes for you. The artists are, for the most part, emerging musicians who tackle this diverse genre from all angles.

Defining Americana isn't easy. At the festival, there were musicians from all around the world. Some were rooted in blues, jazz, boogie rock, bluegrass, soul, gospel, comedy, country, Tejano and much more.

Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers accomplished something remarkable this year with their Tiny Desk Contest entry. They made a simple backyard video - a single camera shoot - that's now been seen almost 10 million times on YouTube. And the song they played, "Peach Scone," has unlocked a door to a dream - to play a Tiny Desk Concert and be heard. The song is a tale of one-sided love - a tale of kindness in the face of loneliness and depression.

Stop. Watch. Listen! You might be unfamiliar with Congolese rhythms, likely won't understand the language and won't know the vibe of Kinshasa street musicians, but trust me... Jupiter & Okwess are astonishing. Their fierce energy here at the Tiny Desk translates through familiar instruments of drums, bass and guitars in an astonishing performance.

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