Montana Public Radio

Bobby Carter

Heat Check: Going All Out

Feb 10, 2020

This is not a drill: Heat Check is back! After a short hiatus and some stellar, late-breaking 2019 releases, Heat Check has returned to recap you on the world of experimental R&B, hip-hop and everything in between.

SiR, the R&B singer from Inglewood, CA, seemed lost in thought as he stood behind the Tiny Desk. While his bandmates curiously bounced around the desk, joking and even searching for Bob Boilen, SiR remained particularly focused. About halfway through the performance, he eventually revealed what had been weighing on his heart. He told the NPR crowd he'd lost his infant godson a few days prior and dedicated the performance to him. "We're doing this for him.

This Tiny Desk concert was part of Tiny Desk Fest, a four-night series of extended concerts performed in front of a live audience and streamed live on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Many bands make considerable adjustments to their playing style in order for their sound to properly fill the Tiny Desk space. LA-based trio Moonchild, along with three background singers and a drummer, arrived promptly for their load-in time, unpacked their gear and were ready to go within minutes. Aside from being especially efficient, their natural musical instincts made for a custom fit in our corner.

While preparing for Burna Boy's Tiny Desk appearance, it was evident early on that his performance would be strictly business. After exchanging pleasantries on the phone with his mother and manager, Bose Ogulu, she made it clear there wouldn't be time for much of anything else. "Burna has been working really hard so please bear with us," she told me. "The band will arrive well before him. Let me know the latest time at which he can arrive."

Washington D.C. rapper Wale stands as one of the most distinctive figures in hip-hop today. More than 10 years ago, the man born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin created a local buzz in the D.C. area through a host of mixtapes showcasing his skills atop popular instrumentals. What separated him from the hundreds of hopeful MCs trying to make names for themselves online was his ability to fuse go-go music — D.C.'s homegrown spin on funk — with hip-hop. Well, that and a mixtape tribute to Seinfeld.

New Music Friday: Our Top 8 Albums Out On June 28

Jun 28, 2019

After giving us a series of baffling ads in the London Tube and the back pages of the Dallas Observer, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke finally released his third solo album, ANIMA, on Thursday — meaning you won't have to listen to "Not The News" on speakerphone anymore. On this week's New Music Friday, we dive into Yorke's vivid dreamscape and its accompanying film, as well as The Black Keys' electrifying Let's Rock (their first record in five years), Freddie Gibbs and Madlib's fresh collab Bandana and more.