NPR’s staple live music segment Tiny Desk has found a way to cope with the pandemic. Rather than inviting musicians to their Washington, DC office to perform short sets amid crowded bookshelves and colorful trinkets, they are instead imploring artists to record sets from home. Comprised of working couple Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn, Sylvan Esso showcased their shimmering tones in a Tiny Desk performance from their living room in Durham, North Carolina.
The couple’s chemistry is immediately apparent, often exchanging knowing glances which end in a giggle. And their artistry relies on a similar connection. Sanborn offers much of their instrumentals, producing each track on a synth in real-time while Meath delivers her soaring verses. For their abbreviated set, the duo pulls from their 2017 record What Now to perform “Die Young,” “Rewind,” and “Radio.”
The performance arrives just after Sylvan Esso’s collaboration with Local Natives. Just ahead of the lockdown in March, Sylvan Esso linked up with Local Natives on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to rework their 2016 Sunlit Youth track “Dark Days.” Now, the two have released the version as a single. In a statement alongside the remixed track, Local Natives said praised Meath for her musicianship:
“We last played it live on Kimmel a little over 2 months ago, which now feels like a distant memory from a bizarre alternate reality. Despite the looming anxiety of those final pre-quarantine days, that performance felt especially cathartic for us and was made all the more poignant by having Amelia on stage with us. She not only lent us her incredible voice but she wrote a beautiful new verse that taps into the nostalgia and the longing we all feel for a different time.”
Watch Sylvan Esso’s Tiny Desk performance and listen to their Local Natives collaboration above.