Updated: May 5, 2020
by Mike Scarfo:
Coronavirus cancel your upcoming concert? No worries, COLORS Studios and Tiny Desk have you covered during quarantine
Look, I know during these unthinkably difficult times, concerts being canceled or postponed on the importance scale is pretty minuscule in the grand scheme of things. But, if you're a fan of live music like I am and looking for your fix, COLORS is one of my favorite platforms to see artists perform original music. These are five of my favorites to check out:
Denzel Curry - Diet_
I've seen this man live at Boston Calling last year, and can't even count how many times I've watched his Rage Against the Machine cover (below): His vocal talent is next level; to possess that kind of pitch control, paired with the ability to ruthlessly deliver every syllable yet somehow make it sound melodic, is rare. To that point, the way he so naturally moves like robot when he performs makes me question if he's even human. Skip to 1:09 to see what I mean...
There is no denying that his sound may be jarring for some, but anyone who enjoys industrial and experimental hip-hop, this is the guy to start paying attention to. Check out his latest project with producer Kenny Beats titled Unlocked for and his album from 2019 Zuu. Check out episodes 19, 21, and Night School Episode 3 in our catalog for more in-depth content and analysis on Denzel Curry.
Michael Kiwanuka - Solid Ground
If you've heard our Top 10 Albums of 2019 episode, or any of the End-of-the-Year episodes we did, you know Michael Kiwanuka came up on my list frequently, most-notably his Kiwanuka album coming in at the #10 spot. "Solid Ground" is one of my highlights from the album; he captures the mood of the song in so many ways. Whether it's the timber in his voice, the emotion he expresses in his face, or the sullenness of the piano chords, it's a beautiful moment to watch.
EARTHGANG - UP
Ah yes, EARTHGANG. The new Dreamville duo. In my opinion, the second coming of OutKast. These guys have had quite the last year and a half in terms of pure growth and buzz.
This might be my favorite COLORS Show of all-time. I've seen these dudes live twice, and oh man are they fun. So much charisma and energy. Johnny Venus totally steals the show here with an epic vocal performance. His dancing ain't half bad, either. Their 2019 album Mirrorland is absolutely worth a listen if you haven't heard it. Additionally, if you want to hear our full breakdown of Mirrorland check out Honor Roll Albums 2019 episode.
Billie Eilish - idontwannabeyouanymore
I know. I already did an entire blog post dedicated to her, I've talked about her on our show more times than I can count. But let's be real people, the woman deserves as much praise as possible: she's once in a generation talent and must-see. I've never seen her live, but this COLORS performance certainly justifies the steep $300+ ticket prices for her shows. I'll break the bank for it someday, for now I'll enjoy what I can get.
The Teskey Brothers - Rain
I came across this one somewhat recently. I had never heard of The Teskey Brothers until now, and this is why I love these kind of platforms (thank you, COLORS).
The song is incredible. It's as passionate as it is heart-breaking, blending sounds of country, jazz, blues and folk that result in this masterpiece. Josh Teskey pulls off an earth-shattering performance here, one that may bring a tear to the eye of even the manliest of men. He's basically what you'd get if Thor had a baby with Otis Redding. Yeah, I went there.
Stay tuned for my NPR Tiny Desk selections. Enjoy, and stay safe and healthy!