Has fun returned to music? Weighing in on Tiny Desk Contest 2017
Editorial by Ethos Live Editor
So earlier this year, the guys of Megaweapon. and I gathered together in Mike's basement, huddled around his parent's old computer desk and performed a few acoustic versions of our songs "I Won't Die," "Eyelids," and "Behind Glass Walls" to enter into NPR's Tiny Desk Contest. At the moment we were full of all kinds of hope. Would Ben from the amazing queer punk group PWR BTTM see our video? I hoped. The winner of the Tiny Desk Contest has their own Tiny Desk Concert and tours on behalf of Lagunitas Brewing Company to several of NPR's offices around the country.
We gave it our all in a one shot video- no fancy angles, no crazy lighting. Just the four of us and our music. We had help with the sound thanks to our bassist Erik who took care of mixing it but other than that it was a very straightforward video from us without bells and whistles.
Over the past few weeks, NPR did their own sort of superlatives- picking out the videos that were in nature for the Tiny Desk, the best of the pets in Tiny Desk Contest, and best journeys. I started thumbing through the contest entries. Some of the videos were filmed very intricate. Some of the videos had the full band playing (I had always had the impression Tiny Desk is performed acoustic). Every time I got the emails from NPR, I started to do an eye roll because it was like "Well, cool... another band full of men with female backup vocals playing folk music..." Many of them were white. Not to say, we are four white men and women. However, it was the tediousness of indie music-- a lack of punk, funk, hip hop... any other genres that are not necessarily commonplace on Sirius Alternative stations or the same old boring whitewashed Spotify playlist. I stopped opening them because I was honestly feeling a big "whatever." We're not winning because punk bands have no place on All Songs Considered or NPR. I had been submitting our applications for so many festivals and had received so many rejection letters this year that made me feel so angry because I felt like people weren't even listening to our music- just reading the name Megaweapon and assuming that we were not worth the time. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just an old bitter punk. But I didn't even feel the slightest bit of anger this morning when I got the email announcing the winner.
I responded with so much JOY because of the winners Tank and the Bangas are not your typical whitewashed boring indie band. My anxiety and anger toward the competition disappeared. The morning was refreshing met with the very lovely frontwoman Tarriona Ball.
Her vocal delivery was theatrical, fun, and full of soul. The sounds the band used- on keys, percussion, bass, and guitar were a mixture of 80s pop and 70s R&B. I danced out of bed with Tank and the Bangas. The mix of the female vocals and saxophone had me absolutely IN LOVE.
Gotta make your money real quick... definitely relating to this song on every level as I'm about to pay my rent. Their laughter on the way out made this song EVERYTHING and you need to watch this. NOW
I won't say much more, watch for yourself because there is nothing in these days like this in this fusion of R&B, pop rock, funk and old school hip hop.