Arthur Moon came to the Tiny Desk armed with tiny keyboards, some toys, and (spoiler alert) a roll of aluminum foil. This band, the project of singer Lora-Faye Åshuvud has the quirky freshness I first heard from New York artists such as Laurie Anderson and Talking Heads in the late 1970s and more recently with Dirty Projectors. It comes off in the starkness of the sound, a spaciousness that leaves room for me to hear the storytelling in the songs, but always surprising me with aural delights.
The opening song at the Desk, "Homonormo," begins with a kiss-off to the very city that birthed their sound, and a search for something normal, yet twisted.
Send my kindest regards to New York
I'm gone, woo
I think I want to settle down
All three songs in this performance come from their brilliant self-titled 2019 album, an album too many missed, in my opinion. And this band pulls off these odd, unpredictable twists and turns with simplicity and charm. Playing the mini Mellotron and more is Cale Hawkins, who was last at the Tiny Desk with Raveena. Martin D. Fowler plays guitar and the bass lines on a Moog Bass. Aviva Jaye brought a table of toys and a wonderful voice, and Dave Palazola plays drums, cueing some of his with electronic triggers. There's anxiety in these songs, even when the chorus is "I Feel Better," but there's a creative spirit in this anxiety, and then, of course too, there's the tin foil.
- "Reverse Conversion Therapy"
- "I Feel Better"
Lora-Faye Åshuvud: vocals, vocoder, guitar; Cale Hawkins: keyboards, vocals; Martin D. Fowler: guitar, Moog, bass; Aviva Jaye: toys, vocals; Dave Palazola: drums
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern; Creative director: Bob Boilen; Audio engineers: Josh Rogosin, Patrick Boyd; Videographers: Maia Stern, Melany Rochester, Jack Corbett, Kara Frame; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Shanti Hands; Executive producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Kisha Ravi/NPR