Stephen Thompson

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When John Prine died on April 7 due to complications from COVID-19, he didn't just leave behind a rich recorded legacy.

You can probably guess that we recorded the original Broadway cast of Hadestown before the coronavirus pandemic made live theater (live anything) an untenable risk. The reminders are everywhere — in the way 16 performers bunch up behind the desk, singing formidably in close proximity as a large crowd gathers just off camera — that this took place in the Before-Times. To be specific, on March 2.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

When Jason Molina died in 2013, the 39-year-old singer-songwriter left behind a mountain of works: wrenching solo albums, released under his own name and as Songs: Ohia, as well as louder electric recordings with his band Magnolia Electric Co. In 2007, Molina had amassed such a backlog of unreleased songs that he by

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Cue the Hamilton quotes: Soon the room where it happens will be your living room! Shout it to the rooftops that the Broadway sensation Hamilton will be available for home viewing this summer! Look around, look around to see how lucky we are to be alive in a world where Hamilton is coming to Disney+ on July 3, more than 15 months ahead of schedule!

We're roughly two months into a collective crisis that's kept us sheltered in place, cut off from friends and fearful for the future of our health, our families and our economic well-being. Our emotions frequently form a thick slurry of anxiety, worry, boredom, rage and desperate desire for threads of normalcy; for moments of mundanity; for the calming comfort of the familiar.

Back in the Before-Times, when Tiny Desk concerts were held in front of gatherings of people — "crowds," we called them — we'd remind everyone in attendance to silence their cell phones. When the music was loud enough, it didn't matter if people followed instructions. But when Daughter of Swords came to grace us with a few hushed folk songs, the music was so eerily still, you could have heard a phone vibrate.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected musicians around the world. Many have had to cancel tours, delay album releases and find new sources of income. But some artists have found inspiration in the virus.

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Bon Iver's recent music has been intricately crafted enough that it's bound to roll out sparingly: The gaps between all four

In this era of social distancing, few celebrities have carved out a social media presence as appealing as those of Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. They're married, so they get to share their isolation — and they've been filling the time with a kindhearted weekly YouTube show they call Some Good News.

It's tempting, when assessing great creative works, to funnel all credit to a lone genius — a writer, a singer, a director, an artist, or a name that sits atop a marquee. It's so much easier to be spared the task of teasing out greatness from an interconnected web of contributors, partners, helpers, teachers and organizers. We can accept a songwriting credit that reads "Lennon-McCartney," but our icons — our geniuses, our auteurs — more often stand alone, lest their stars seem diminished.

Adam Schlesinger, one of the most prolific and decorated songwriters of his generation, died Wednesday from complications caused by COVID-19. He was 52.

His death was confirmed to NPR by his lawyer, Josh Grier.

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Conor Oberst has kept busy since the last Bright Eyes rec

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Genre: Indie Pop

Why We're Excited: Born in Colombia and based in L.A., singer-songwriter Andrea Silva records beautiful, bittersweet songs under the name Loyal Lobos. In "Criminals," a tribute to platonic friendship that frequently recalls Phoebe Bridgers, Silva proves enormously adept at dreamy, languid balladry. Even when crisp, gorgeous guitars dominate the mix, it's hard not to hang on her every word.

Hometown: Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Why We're Excited: With its gritty riffs and fiery rhetoric — one new single is called "People Don't Protest Enough" — Catholic Action ought to sound deadly serious, even strident. But there's a sense of play to the Scottish band's sound: "One of Us" may churn and grind, but it's also tossing fistfuls of glitter into the mix. Throughout the forthcoming Celebrated by Strangers, aggression and joy coexist comfortably.

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Genre: Hip-Hop

Why We're Excited: L.A. singer-rapper Steven G finds more or less the exact midpoint between sleekly stylish R&B and slyly playful hip-hop, landing on a monster sex-jam earworm in "Handcuffs." An engaging presence with an easy smile and a few million streams to his name — seriously, the chorus to this thing can get stuck in your head for days — Steven G has all the commercial potential in the world.

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Genre: Folk-Pop

Why We're Excited: Singer-songwriter Nicole Rodriguez, who records under the name Pearla, finds subtle ways to put a twist on gently drifting, introverted, low-key folk-pop ballads. On her first EP, 2019's Quilting & Other Activities, Pearla gives her soft ruminations a sense of sonic adventure and psychedelic swirl, even as her lyrics look inward and stare down her demons.

Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark

Genre: Indie Pop

Why We're Excited: Danish singer, songwriter, producer and musician Rasmus Littauer calls himself School of X as a tribute to the experimental 1960s Copenhagen art collective of the same name; he's even assembled a collective of his own in the same city. But Littauer's arty inspirations and aspirations don't drown out his pop sensibilities: "Write My Name" is a shimmering midtempo ballad that's universal in its yearning and regret.

Hometown: Bristol, England

Genre: Folk

Why We're Excited: Throughout 2018's On Hold, Fenne Lily's quaveringly intimate voice recalls the early works of Sharon Van Etten, particularly in the way she layers her own voice during choruses that ache and swoon. That almost jarringly beautiful effect jumps out in a minimalist mix that's so stripped down, you can often hear fingers sweeping across guitar strings.

Hometown: Edinburgh, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Why We're Excited: Vistas' "Sucker" is essentially one great big charm offensive, from the wall of buoyant guitars to the "Hey! Hey!" in the choruses to the Scottish-accented lyrics about the way love can make you feel like a hopeless dope. Some bands deepen their impact with abstract examinations of the human psyche, but Vistas' sweet and shiny songs are just irresistible, high-wattage joy dispensers.

Hometown: Christchurch, New Zealand

Genre: Pop

Hometown: Cardiff, Wales

Genre: Indie Pop

Why We're Excited: Affection pours out of the Welsh indie-pop band The School — affection for classic '60s girl-group pop, sunny springtime harmonies and lyrics that yearn with maximum sweetness. (The School's only enemy: search engines.) In "I Will See You Soon," the band breezes in and out in just two minutes, never wasting a second in the process.

Hometown: Kyiv, Ukraine

Genre: Pop

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Genre: Global

Why We're Excited: Rema is an Afropop superstar with tens of millions of streams, a distinctive sound mixing pop and trap, a Barack Obama endorsement and at least one prominent magazine cover to his name — and he still hasn't yet released his full-length debut album. At 19, he resides at or near the forefront of a Nigerian music scene that's exploded in global stature, and it's no wonder: "Lady" is a twisty and charming, unmistakably youthful, hook-laden banger.

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