More Tiny Desk Contest Entries We Love

Mar 23, 2018
Originally published on March 23, 2018 12:50 pm

Our entry deadline for the Tiny Desk Contest is fast approaching (you have until this Sunday at midnight EST) and we're still seeing tons of entries we love. (You can see all the eligible entries so far on the Tiny Desk Contest site, too.)

While preparing your last-minute entry — totally fine, by the way — check out these entries below to see what we on the other side have been marking (stick around until the end for an important tip on entering, too).

Scorpio and the Hunter, "Seven Sisters"

Scorpio and the Hunter has a deep understanding of its sound, which made "Seven Sisters" a treat to listen to. The band describes itself as "a Seattle based neo-soul group," whose music "explores their identities as queer people and people of color through allusion to mythology, astrology, and religion." The group's cosmic poesy is profoundly effective, and the more I listened, the more I enchanted I became. The members play with an ease that wraps itself around the song like a cozy blanket of stars. The finger-picked guitar coming out of the first chorus and in the bridge twinkled like a constellation and was an especially nice touch. If you've ever wanted to know what it feels like to sip a cocktail in space, this song will get you there. — Pilar Fitzgerald

Erin Lunsford, "Don't Leave Me In The Dark"

Erin Lunsford is a singer-songwriter from Virginia who releases music both on her own and as the frontwoman of Charlottesville-based band Erin & The Wildfire. Her Tiny Desk Contest entry, "Don't Leave Me in the Dark," starts off with a charming blooper – but don't let the goofiness fool you. The song is a tale of heartbreak and missed connection that shows off her impressive, expressive voice and some serious guitar chops. — Marissa Lorusso

Aviva Lipkowitz, "Lovesick"

The door to Aviva Lipkowitz's 2004 Toyota Siena slides open with a click, revealing a small desk adorned with fresh magenta flowers, a pale acoustic guitar and a neatly tucked bed. Everything about her entry — the song (which seems to sink into your muscle fibers), the setting (a vehicle that she's made her home for the past year) and the videography (that shakey, home-video intimacy) — is steeped in a profound delicacy. Two minutes in, the title of the song is finally uttered, and oh: The weight of it just sits on your chest. "Lovesick" is the kind of quiet acoustic ballad that can stop time for a few minutes and leaves you dizzy with nostalgia when the music stops. — Cyrena Touros

Niambi Ra & The Blackstarz, "C2B"

"C2B" is a delightful spiritual-celestial burst of energy from start to finish. MC Keziah "Niambi Ra" John-Paul sits front and center, spitting charisma and consciousness like a prophet. A recent graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Niambi cites Jill Scott, Common and Erykah Badu on her list of musical influences, and there are nods to them in her vocal power and lyricism. She and Nichole "Coax Marie" Turner unite to ignite a rowdy (and not to mention incredibly catchy) hook that will have you "automatic body rocking." If you didn't already know about Niambi Ra and The Blackstarz, learn. — Pilar Fitzgerald

Julie Odell, "St. Fin Barre"

New Orleans-based musician Julie Odell sings with a distinct, smoky-yet-childlike voice in her Tiny Desk Contest entry, "St. Fin Barre." Accompanied by Kenny Murphy on bass and Jonathan Arceneaux on drums, she sings a song of grit, loss and perseverance. "I've had too many precious things just wash away," she hollers towards the song's end with a ferocious beauty, "and it all got better when I changed my name." — Marissa Lorusso

Ivory Circle, "Never Let Me Go"

I must confess: I'm a little slow, and originally thought this was the biggest band we've seen enter the contest so far. Turns out, Ivory Circle was just making use of some editing magic.

Now, if you're still hoping to enter the Contest before it closes Sunday at 11:59 p.m. EST, I am here to reassure you that artists will be judged based on the quality of their song, not their video. But cool videos are highly encouraged regardless! I'm duly impressed by the ambition of this concept (outfit changes and all!) and the hours of shooting and editing required to pull it off. Oh, and the song? "Never Let Me Go" is a perfect, upbeat pop tune with a soaring chorus that would fit nicely on my Positive Friday Morning Feels playlist. What do we think, NPR Music experts — is this also roséwave enough for the summer season? — Cyrena Touros

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