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It seems like many of the Tiny Desk performances uploaded in the last year have included Phoebe Bridgers in some capacity, but her new band with Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst actually hadn’t played for the NPR offices until today.
Before you ask, no, Better Oblivion Community Center did not play “Shallow.” But apart from the superstar covers the band brought out for tour, BOCC have some really gorgeous songs of their own, too. Their Tiny Desk set included album standouts “Dylan Thomas,” “Exception To The Rule,” and “My City.”
Playing Tiny Desk allows musicians to explore (and share with listeners) more intimate, textured arrangements than are often possible on a big venue stage. On tour, “Exception To The Rule,” was guitar-driven and roaring, but Bridgers and Oberst dial it back to its twinkling, quietly determined bones. “My City” opened the BOCC tour, but they do it all acoustic here.
The songs, obviously, are gorgeous no matter how they’re performed. Oberst’s and Bridgers’ harmonies are contemplative, and although they’re both accomplished solo artists, they really do sound magical together. They also wear some great camp-style polo shirts for the performance, making me wish I had visited the merch table when I saw them tour.
Watch Better Oblivion Community Center’s Tiny Desk concert above.