Exclusive Performances: St. Louis Bands Enter NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Contest
More than 5,000 bands submitted video entries to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest, including a dozen from the St. Louis area.
Contestants filmed themselves indoors, outdoors, as groups or solo acts, and some even featured tiny desks of their own. Although submissions are closed, "Cityscape" gave listeners an exclusive taste of three local bands participating in the contest. The contest winner will be named Feb. 12.
Middle Class Fashion
Middle Class Fashion rose from the ashes of St. Louis girl band Paper Dolls. Former members Jenn Malzone and Brad Vaughn recruited Brian McClelland to play in their new group, adding Katie Lindhorst a few years later. Their music is a usually dark and danceable take on indie rock, primarily driven by two synthesizers. In studio, Malzone played a stripped down piano version of the band’s new song "Talk All Night," which will appear on a new album the group intends to release later this year. It’s the first public recording of this song.
Scarlet Tanager is the shared project of husband and wife team Susan and Michael Logsdon. Their first album was a collection of songs written by Susan and adapted for a larger band. In June, they released a new album aptly titled “Let’s Love." The album was primarily recorded on the second floor of the couple's St. Louis apartment. Their sound is often characterized by full band sing-alongs they refer to as “gang singing.” Susan performed an exclusive version of a song she wrote and played as a surprise for her husband at their wedding.
Dan Johanning was born in St. Louis and has lived here since, but it took a partnership with Bobby E. Stevens to form their band, The Wilderness. Johanning has played music around the city for years; Stevens arrived in the city just over a year ago. The two discussed forming different bands, and quickly realized that teaming up and sharing songwriting duties “just like the Drive By Truckers,” would create a stronger sound. Their songs are often straight-forward boozy rock. Johanning performs an acoustic set of their Tiny Desk Concert Contest submission, the song “Living Well.”
These performances were recorded and produced by St. Louis Public Radio’s Greg Munteanu.
“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.