Darlingside: Tiny Desk Concert

May 4, 2018
Originally published on May 4, 2018 11:34 am

Even though the world will eventually come to an end, there's still beauty and hope in all of us and in song. That about sums up the wistful mystery that is the music of Darlingside. The quartet brought dystopian storytelling wrapped in choral harmony with this performance at the Tiny Desk. Their singing is layered on a bed of percussive and melodic tones, made with guitars both acoustic and electric, violin, cello, mandolin and a tiny synthesizer. For all its upfront simplicity, in voice and acoustics, Darlingside's Tiny Desk Concert has stuck with me as a most compelling performance — a perfect match of songwriting, with contributions from all members.

The first song they performed comes from the band's 2015 debut album Birds Say. "The God of Loss" was inspired by the Arundhati Roy book The God of Small Things, and by the main character's attempts to preserve humanity in the face of competing forces. The other two songs Darlingside performed are from Extralife, the Boston quartet's perfectly crafted third album: "Best of the Best of Times" and the title track "Extralife." That cut track starts off the album with these lines:

"It's over now
The flag is sunk
The world has flattened out
Under the under grow
I've always found
A level further down
As I begin to lose hold of
The fiery flowerbeds above
Mushroom clouds reset the sky
Extralife"

Through these end-of-time lyrics comes deep appreciation for what we have and what's worth holding on to. And through it all Darlingside's humor shines, with in-between chatter about quiche and common bonds. Don't miss this band's music. This is the perfect introduction to Darlingside, right here.

Set List

  • "The God of Loss"
  • "Best Of The Best Times"
  • "Extralife"

Musicians

Dave Senft, Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, Harris Paseltiner

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Dani Lyman; Production Assistant: Joshua Bote; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.

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